Head tax apology advocates respond to Dyble report on ethnic outreach plan
A head tax-apology advocate is ready to continue working with the province following the release of an internal review into the B.C. government’s controversial ethnic outreach plan.
“It’s good to get this all out on the table so people can see what happened,” Victor Wong, executive director of the Chinese Canadian National Council, told the Straight by phone.
The report, released today (March 14), found government resources were used inappropriately and that officials breached the code of conduct for public servants.
The leaked outreach plan outlined a strategy to use taxpayer-funded government resources for partisan political purposes. As part of the plan to win over “ethnic voters”, it called for “quick wins” such as apologizing to non-white communities for historic wrongs.
Premier Christy Clark ordered an investigation into the strategy, which was led by her deputy minister, John Dyble. The probe was conducted over two weeks and involved 27 interviews and the collection of 10,000 pages of documents. CKNW reports Clark has pledged to follow through on all of the recommendations in Dyble’s report.
The Chinese Canadian National Council maintains the ethnic outreach strategy has not derailed efforts to push for an apology from the province for the head tax, a fee imposed on immigrants coming to Canada from China that was collected from the late 1800s to early 1900s.
“We’ll continue to work with Premier Clark and then after [the provincial election on] May 14 we’ll see who is the premier-elect and what that person does,” Wong said.
The Chinese Canadian National Council and the Head Tax Families Society of Canada are calling on the province to issue a formal apology and symbolic payment of funds to families affected by the head tax. Clark has previously said she is committed to making an apology for the head tax. She has also repeatedly apologized for the ethnic outreach document.
The CBC reports Dyble’s review determined around $70,000 worth of government resources were misused. Clark has promised the Liberal party will repay that amount to the province, the Globe and Mail reports.
Meanwhile, CKNW reports Clark has said MLA John Yap, who stepped down as multiculturalism minister pending the outcome of the review, will not be returning to cabinet. CKNW also reports Mike Lee, Yap’s former executive assistant, has resigned.