Chinese Canadian National Council responds to Christy Clark's talk of an apology

The Chinese Canadian National Council says if Premier Christy Clark is sincere about apologizing for historic discrimination, she will ensure there's a "symbolic return of the head-tax levies back to the head-tax families".

Today on CTV's Question Period, Clark said that she's very committed to apologizing for the head tax, which was imposed only on immigrants from China between 1885 and 1923.

"There are two MLAs in my caucus who are the children of head tax payers," Clark told CTV. "They are very passionate about it, they've been working at this for years. I think though the apology needs to be seen outside of politics, it needs to be an absolutely genuine apology and if the discussion about all the rest of this [the memo controversy] is going to taint that, I say we wait."

The CCNC issued a statement today pointing out that the federal government collected $23 million in head-tax revenue before transferring $8.5 million back to the province.

According to the CCNC, that $23-million figure would be worth $800 million to $1 billion in today's dollars. And it argues a "meaningful amount must be returned to the head-tax families".

"B.C. cannot be seen to be profiting from racism—it damages our image at home and overseas," the CCNC stated.

The CCNC and the Head Tax Families Society of Canada have twice rejected stand-alone apologies.

"Redress done properly can be restorative for both the affected families and for society at large," the CCNC added. "A meaningful apology helps us to heal from the sting of racism and serves to provide the foundation for true reconciliation and equality. This is the last piece of the redress campaign that started in B.C. 30 years ago this year."

Former Vancouver East NDP MP Margaret Mitchell was the first elected official to raise the head-tax issue in a letter written to then-prime minister Pierre Trudeau on September 6, 1983.

Comments (10) Add New Comment
Ken Lawson
Did you know this council has one or two members Victor Wong who are the rest?
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huh?
Only accepting an apology if cash is involved is extremely shallow.
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I don't get it...
This tax was in place about a hundred years ago. It will have little to no impact on anyone who is currently residing in BC and it doesn't have a negative impact on those who are considering moving to BC today. It makes no sense to give money out. When Christie Clark goes on and on about how there's no money in the budget to improve sectors in BC that are clearly struggling, I find it difficult to swallow her determination to hand out funds to families that had a to pay a head tax a hundred years ago, especially given that the ones who actually had to pay the head tax are likely no longer with us. There should be an apology but not money involved in that apology.
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Dianee
Greedy Asses they don t care about their ancestor or anyone else, Our province is broke, so you think you deserve this bonanza, get in line & shut up
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Amelia
Yes, the Head Tax was a travesty. But now, no one who paid that is still alive. So what, should the grandchildren/distant relatives/friends get money for what someone else went through?

Also, anyone who thinks the Chinese are still suffering the consequences of past racism (as do First Nations, African Canadians) has obviously never visited Vancouver nor its real estate market. I can sympathize wholly if the Head Tax caused the Chinese to be in poverty for generations but see no evidence of that. Why do people who have enough clamour for more of the limited resources that urgently need to go to the homeless, the disabled, the chronically disadvantaged and the sick?
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PJ
Did not the federal gov already appologise ? When most head tax people are gone,the survivers now just want the mony,if they were so upset they would have gone back home to the freedom of China
Our gov.and people didnt do anything as most wernt here.we have a memorial,isnt that enough.A lot of families lost everything in the war,so get over it you now live in a non dictatorship country .
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Just Wondering
Why are we paying for something we didn't do? Why are my tax dollars paying for something some other miserable profiteering bigots did toward other members of the human race? You want justice, you should have dealt with the guy who perpetrated this atrocity not me. That’s the only avenue the rest of us have if we are swindled. Otherwise forget it and get on with life.
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Pat Crowe
Blatant pandering for perceived political gain.
Shamelessly transparent.
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Foo Fighter
This woman really disgusts me.
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dk
The only thing Christy is sincere about is herself and not another living soul. Families first, what a pile of sh-t. She is the biggest pig at the trough and could care lessabout anyone else.
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