Keywords: Head tax ; National Congress of Chinese Canadians ; Chinese Cultural Centre ; Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association ; Chinese Canadian National Council ; Chinese Benevolent Association of Canada ; Chinese Freemasons ; Chinese Canadian Military Museum Society ; Tan, Ping T. ; Zhou, Minghui ; Canadian Chinese Community Foundation ; Human Rights Act ; Chinese Exclusion Act ; Ma, Kitty ; Guan, Qizong ; Foo, Tak Nam ; Ruan, Yaoyi
這廂稱與多數僑領達共識 1250萬撥款成立基金 那廂質疑代表性
English translation: The Head Tax: NCCC vs CCNC
NCCC Stated that Consensus Has Been Reached by the Majority of the Community Leaders to Establish a Foundation with an Allotment of 12.5 Million Dollars from the Federal Government while CCCNC Doubted the Authority of NCCC in Representing the Community
Reported by Ruan Yaoyi from Vancouver
Several Chinese Canadian societies including the NCCC, the Chinese Cultural Centre, the United Chinese Community Enrichment Services Society (SUCCESS), the CCBA (Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association), the Chinese Benevolent Association of Canada, the Chinese Freemasons, and the Chinese Canadian Military Museum Society (CCMMS) jointly announced that recently they reached a deal with the federal government about the head tax issue. The consensus is that the government would pay $12.5 million for the creation of a new foundation, acknowledging the mistake but making no formal apology. The agreement will be signed soon.
Ping T. Tan, the chair of the NCCC and other community leaders announced that beginning on the 25th, they will spend three days holding the Chinese Canadian Congress in Vancouver to discuss the issues of how to manage and use the $12.5 million. The NCCC emphasized that the attendees represent the majority of Chinese Canadians. The current consensus with the federal government is the best way to solve the historical problem of the head tax. However, the CNCC questioned the representativeness of NCCC. The CNCC stressed that it will continue to fight for personal compensation and a public apology.
Before the meeting, Zhou Minghui and other members of the CNCC tried to attend the meeting, but were blocked, causing short verbal conflicts between the two sides.
Ping T. Tan said that according to the agreement, the federal government will allocate 12.5 million dollars to set up the "Canadian Chinese Community Foundation". This foundation shows the government's sincerity in resolving the head tax issue by recognizing mistakes, commemorating the history and educating future generations. The Chinese Canadian Congress, held in Vancouver from the 25th to the 27th, will discuss how to manage and apply the common assets of all Chinese Canadians.
He stressed that the head tax is an issue left over from history. In the past 20 years, all Chinese Canadians have hoped that the government would take accountability for it. However, in the past, the federal government kept saying that all ethnic groups are equal according to the Canadian Human Rights Act, and were reluctant to face the head tax issue and the issue of the Chinese Exclusion Act. Now finally, in a joint effort, the government is willing to face the issues. The Chinese community should seize the opportunity to resolve these problems left over from history.
Tan questioned the CNCC’s claim of representing the families of 4,000 head tax victims, indicating that no one knows the actual situation. The number of head tax payers exceeded 80,000, and the number of descendants exceed 100,000. Therefore, the CNCC cannot represent the majority. If the CNCC’s plan of individual compensation and public apology were pursued, it would make the settlement of the head tax issue impossible in the foreseeable future.
Tan believed that the opponent of the Chinese community societies should be the government, not another association in the community. He denied the criticism that NCCC had never consulted the CNCC and other overseas Chinese Canadian groups. He emphasized that Kitty Ma, the Chair of the Chinese Cultural center, thought all immigrants should pay a certain price. For example, if some investment immigrants invested thousands of dollars but had no gain, they would not be able to claim compensation from the government. If they insist that the government give individual compensation for the head tax, they may never get that compensation in the end.
Guan Qizong, chairman of the Chinese Benevolent Association of Canada, called on the overseas Chinese community to unite and not let the outside world think that the Chinese Canadian community acts in a state of disunity The president of S.U.C.C.E.S.S., Foo Tak Nam, said that S.U.C.C.E.S.S. is delighted to see the federal government allocate more funds for anti-racism and anti-discrimination work. The value of history lies in the lessons that people can learn from it and being able to avoid repeating the same mistakes.
Zhou Minghui questioned the representativeness of the NCCC. He stressed that the CCNC has been given power of attorney from over 4,000 head tax payers. On behalf of the victims, the CCNC will seek personal compensation and a public apology from the federal government. But what evidence does the NCCC have to consider itself the representative of the whole community of Chinese Canadians?
He said that regardless of what agreement the federal government and the NCCC will reach, the CNCC would continue to fight to redress the head tax until the federal government agrees to personal compensation and a public apology.
[Photo]: The Chinese Canadian societies in Vancouver support the deal between the NCCC and the federal government. Kitty Ma and Ping T. Tan (the middle). (Photo taken by Ruan Yaoyi)
[Photo]: Zhou Minghui, CNCC representative, emphasizes the need to fight. (Photo taken by Ruan Yaoyi)