CONFERENCE RESOLUTION CALLS FOR REDRESS OF THE CHINESE HEAD TAX AND EXCLUSION
RALLY SET FOR OTTAWA
October 26, 2002
The issue of Redress for Chinese Head Tax and Exclusion Act was one of
the key topics for discussion at a national Post-WCAR conference hosted
by the Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF). Participants of the
Conference passed a resolution today calling upon the Canadian Government
to negotiate a settlement with the Chinese Canadian community, including
individuals and families directly affected by the racist policies.
Montreal lawyer and a head tax payer descendent Walter Tom spoke at the
Conference about his grandfather's experience as a head tax payer and
the impact of the exclusionary immigration laws on his family. "My grandfather
was separated from his wife and children for a quarter of a century because
of the Head Tax and the Exclusion Act," said Tom.
"He passed away recently, without ever receiving an apology from the Government
saying that they were sorry for what they have done to him, or his generation."
"It is clear from those who attended this Conference that our society
today must redress historical injustices because of the impact such issues
continue to have on our collective psyche. Without redress, we are essentially
confirming by our acquiescence that racism towards Chinese and other racialized
groups is acceptable, and that it is okay for our Government to benefit
from racist laws," said Avvy Go, co-counsel in an ongoing class action
suit launched in Ontario, seeking compensation for the head tax payers
and their families.
Both Tom and Go were invited by the CRRF to attend a four-day conference
to look at ways of moving Canada towards its commitment made in Durban
last year to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination. Participants
and leaders of the Chinese Canadian community seeking redress at the conference
include Victor Wong, Executive Director of the Vancouver Association of
The participants were asked to endorse a Resolution on the redress issue.
The resolution, based on the Petition drafted by the local Edmonton Head
Tax & Exclusion Act (HTEA) Committee and to be introduced in the House
of Commons next Tuesday, October 29th, by Libby Davies, Vancouver-East
Member Parliament, was passed during the Conference.
A major rally organized by the Chinese Canadian National Council
(CCNC), CCNC Ottawa Chapter, and Chinese Family Services of Greater Montreal
is scheduled for Tuesday, October 29, 2002 at 12:30 p.m. (noon) on
Parliament Hill. Chinese seniors and supporters in the Montreal, Toronto
and Ottawa areas will be in attendance. Opposition leaders from the Bloc
and NDP will speak in support of the issue, and are expected to raise
the question in the House of Commons on the same day.