Saturday, October 26, 2002

Edmonton - 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 Chinese Canadians.

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.


Copyright 2002 - ACMI - Asian Canadian Multimedia Inc.

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