Chinese head tax redress deadline March 31st: now it's time for inclusion of sons, daughters of pre-deceased head tax payers

The deadline for the ex-gratia payment is March 31, 2008.

Applicants must have been alive by Feb 6, 2006.

If my grandfather was alive, he would have been 140 years old.  IMPOSSIBLE!!!

He worked hard to pay back the head tax, most likely borrowed from
relatives and family friends.  $500 was charged from 1903 to 1923,
after initially imposed at $50 in 1885 and raised to $100 in 1900.

$500 was equivalent to two years wages of a Chinese labour at
the time. Meanwhile, Chinese were denied Canadian citizenship.
In all, the Federal Government collected $23 million from the
Chinese through the Head Tax.  It was enough to pay for the entire cost of the Canadian Pacific Railway, which many Chinese workers helped to build, enabling British and European immigrants to come to British Columbia.  What was their reward
?  A head tax and an exclusion act.

It could take 10 years or more to repay the money borrowed to pay for head tax money. 

Imagine if all Canadians were presently asked to go into debt for 2
years worth of wages.

What about Dak Leon Mark's head tax certificate? 

Dak Leon Mark (now deceased) asked NDP Member of Parliament Margaret
Mitchell to help reclaim his head tax money.  Margaret Mitchell brought
the issue before Canadian Parliament in 1984. 

Did his Mr. Mark's spouse claim the redress ex-gratia payment?  or did
she die too?  Did he have children?  Should his beneficiary's be able
to receive what rightfully belonged to their father?

It is now time for STAGE 2 of the Chinese Head Tax Redress ex-gratia program

It is time to address the 99% of head tax certificates NOT addressed by the Conservative government program

It is time to address the hundreds of thousands of Chinese Canadian
head tax descendants who will VOTE in the next federal election.

It is time to fulfill the CCNC's proposal to the Conservative
government submitted in 2005. Or did Stephen Harper and Jason Kenney
conveniently forget about the sons and daughters left behind by their
pre-deceased head tax payers and spouses.

According to the current program.

Q20: What happens if a Head Tax payer was alive on February 6, 2006, but died before applying?

In the case where a Head Tax payer was alive on February 6, 2006,
but has since died, a person that was in a conjugal relationship with a
Head Tax payer who is now deceased will be able to submit an
application for the ex-gratia symbolic payment, once the
Department of Canadian Heritage has finalized the specifics of the
application process for these persons.

Q21: What happens if a Head Tax payer dies after he or she has made an application, but before a payment could be issued ?

In the event that the applicant dies following the submission of the
application, and is assessed to be eligible to receive a payment, and
it is determined that there are no persons living who are or who were
in a conjugal relationship with the Head Tax payer who have applied for
payment, the designated beneficiary named in the application form will
then receive the payment.

ROLL BACK the age of death to 1947, when
the Chinese Exclusion Act was lifted.  This is symbolic because it is
the date when Canadians of Chinese heritage were granted full
citizenship rights for the country they were born in.

It is symbolic that 1947 ended 24 years of legislated exclusion of
Chinese immigration – the only ethnic group that was racially
discriminated against in this way.

It took the Canadian government 46 years to redress the wrongful
internment of Canadians born of Japanese ancestry during WW2, in 1988. 
Surely the Canadian government can address 62 years of legislated
racism from 1885 to 1947, then a further 59 years of ignoring even an
apology until 2006.

2008 is the 150th Anniversary of British Columbia.

Chinese have been in BC for 150 years,
as long as other ethnicities or even longer than others.  It is fitting
that after 150 years, Canadians of Chinese ethnicity be treated with
full respect that other ethnicities have been.

If the government charges a wrongful tax, admits they are wrong, but doesn't give the money back… is this fair?

$500 in 1923 dollars with compound interest has been estimated to be
$300,000 in 2005 dollars.  The head tax ex-gratia payment announced by
the government in 2006 was $20,000.  The Chinese Head Tax redress
campaign is only asking for symbolic compensation

Ignoring 99% of head tax certificates is not only wrong, it's shameful.

Todd Wong

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