Keywords: Head tax ; National Congress of Chinese Canadians ; Canadian Broadcasting Corporation ; Chinese Canadian National Council ; Tan, Ping T. ; Martin, Paul ; Chan, Raymond ; Chinese Exclusion Act ; Zhan, Wenyi ; Dai, Yima
全加華人聯會（National Congress of Chinese Canadians)主席陳丙丁，在昨日上午於士嘉堡紅寶石酒樓舉行的記者會上同時宣布，將於本月25至27日在溫哥華舉行全國會議，共同協商政府1250萬撥款的使用等問題。馬田總理和多元文化部長陳卓愉被邀請出席，希望政府更加理解和了解華裔社區的意見。
對於人頭稅平反，目前全加華人協進會（Chinese Canadian National Council，簡稱「平權會」）等其他組織，仍爭取個人賠償及公開道歉。
【圖片】: 全加華人聯會昨日舉行記者會, 宣布就人頭稅平反事宜與政府達成共識；(右三）主席陳丙丁、（右四）秘書詹文義。(戴伊瑪攝）
English translation: Redress of the Head Tax
Federal Government and National Congress of Chinese Canadians Have Reached a Consensus
NCCC will Sign an Agreement with the Federal Government on the 23rd
CCNC Still Strives for Individual Compensation and a Public Apology
World Journal Toronto Report
The National Congress of Chinese Canadians (NCCC) announced at a press conference yesterday that the negotiation with the federal government regarding the compensation for the Chinese head tax has progressed smoothly. A consensus has been reached, and an agreement will be signed with the government in the near future.
According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), the two sides may sign an agreement on the 23rd of this month. The Chinese Canadian National Council (CCNC) said yesterday that this agreement is not appropriate. The federal government should still offer compensation and a public apology to those who paid the head tax and their families.
The chair of the NCCC, Ping T. Tan, announced yesterday morning at a press conference held at the Ruby Restaurant in Scarborough that a national conference will be held in Vancouver from the 25th to 27th this month to discuss issues, such as the use of 12.5 million in government funds. Prime Minister Martin and Minister of Multiculturalism Raymond Chan were invited to attend, in the hope that the government would understand and hear the Chinese community’s opinion more receptively.
Ping T. Tan said that in the past few months, the government had discussed the issue of Chinese head tax compensation. The announcement that the two sides have reached a consensus and are expected to sign an agreement in the near future is very pleasing. The NCCC national conference, to be held in Vancouver at the end of this month, will discuss how to use government compensation. For example, establishing a permanent national Chinese Canadians education fund and providing funds for the establishment of a Chinese museum or an artifacts preservation room to commemorate, investigate and preserve the contributions that our predecessors have made to Canada.
In response to the media’s [comment that] "a Chinese group pointed out that the NCCC cannot represent the interests of the head tax payers", Ping T. Tan said that there are some descendants of the head tax payers here today. He stressed that the NCCC “is truly concerned about the interests of head tax payers, their descendants and all Chinese Canadian."
Ping T. Tan pointed out that the NCCC first asked Martin to apologize to the Chinese community on behalf of the government for the head tax and the Chinese Exclusion Act in history. He said that the stand that the NCCC took against individual compensation was nothing new. As early as 1991, at a national conference held by the NCCC, more than 500 representatives expressed their opinions openly and democratically. After an extensive two-day discussion on the settlement of the head tax compensation, the position of the NCCC was eventually formed, and this position has never changed. Therefore, Ping T. Tan emphasized that the different current voices in the Chinese community, as well as the request for a debate with the NCCC, “will not be taken into account".
Ping T. Tan said that the disapproval of individual compensation should not be regarded as neglecting and ignoring people who are directly affected by the head tax and the Chinese Exclusion Act. The NCCC is also considering how to take care of Chinese workers who are still alive, especially since they hope to record their personal experiences to show future generations. He said that it is a responsibility to educate the next generation and all Canadians, to let people see the unfair treatment our Chinese predecessors had experienced when they were contributing to Canada so that historical mistakes will not be repeated. More importantly, we can make the Chinese community more united through educating them.
Zhan Wenyi, secretary of the NCCC, said that the NCCC is making efforts to seize the opportunity to solve the problems left over by history, and the proposal is reasonable, powerful and modest. If we insist on individual compensation from the government, it will cause new injustices by solving the historical problem with current taxpayers’ money.
The Canadian government enacted an act in 1885 to levy a $50 head tax for every Chinese person coming to Canada. It was increased to $100 in 1900, and at its height was $500 in 1903. It has been reported that between 1885 and 1923, the government collected a total of 23 million dollars from 80,000 Chinese. In 1923, the head tax was abolished, but the new Chinese Exclusion Act was adopted, which continued to discriminate against Chinese immigrants. The Chinese Exclusion Act was abolished in 1947.
As for redressing the head tax, other organizations, such as the Chinese Canadian National Council (CCNC for short), still strive for individual compensation and a public apology.
[Photo]: Ping T. Tan, chair of the NCCC, said that an agreement with the government on redressing the head tax is expected in the near future. (Photo by Dai Yima)
[Photo]: The NCCC held a press conference yesterday to announce that a consensus with the government on the issue of redressing the head tax has been reached; (third from the right) chair Ping T. Tan, (fourth from right) secretary Zhan Wenyi. (Photo by Dai Yima)