Response to Government Chinese Head Tax redress package

Posted by admin on Jun 28th, 2006

Sid Chow Tan statement for BC Coalition of Head Tax Payers and Spouses meeting June 28, 2006 at SUCCESS, 28 W. Pender Street, Vancouver, BC

I acknowledge the Coast Salish First Nations whose traditional territory we are holding this meeting.

Dear Friends and Allies, Sisters and Brothers.

Thank you for coming out tonight and for making the long redress journey of the past twenty two years. Now we must walk a while longer towards a just and honourable redress. The government has always tried to divide head tax families. Despite this, we have achieved a small measure of success. Charlie Quan, along with surviving head tax payers and spouses will be receiving $20,000 and are content with the apology and return of money.

I personally rejected and ignored the apology. I did so because the government rejected and ignored our family’s claim for appropriate redress. The message from the government’s actions are clear. They have said they were wrong. They are sorry and they are keeping your money. The message from the government says too bad your parents or grandparents couldn’t survive twenty two years of foot dragging. Canadian taxpayers saved a lot of money though.

This is not justice and honour for our Chinese adventurers and pioneers and their families. It is only a half measure of justice and honour. I reject the apology. Acceptance of the apology for those families without a surviving head tax payer or spouse signals Canadians of Chinese heritage only deserve – can only get – less than a full measure of justice. Acceptance of the apology dooms our children and grandchildren to accepting less than equal rights and justice. This would be wrong to do. Head tax families deserve a full measure of justice.

We have journeyed long and far. We have to go on for a while longer. One certificate, one payment. All head tax families must be treated equally. To the next federal election. let us walk with one voice and with strength. The road should be clear. We have rights and the vote.

Those who are happy with the apology, you can leave the road.Those who are happy with the community fund, you can leave the road. The photo ops are over. The train ride is over. The hard work begins. We must not be afraid. We must organise. Those who seek justice and honour, the time for quiet dignity is over. We must be loud and proud now. Build a movement of such strength future generations will say our lo wah kiu – old overseas Chinese – got justice and honour.

Heaven and the spirit of our ancestors will guide us. Solidarity, one voice more strength now – cheng ga yat seng dai lik ni.

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