Chinese Head Tax

Hon. Paul Martin, House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

Prime Minister Martin,

We write to express our deep disappointment in the decision of your government to sign a back-door, $12.5 million agreement of redress for Chinese Canadians that effectively ignores the wishes of thousands of head tax payers and their families.

It is completely inadequate for this government to exclude at least 4000 head tax payers, their families and descendants through a lump sum agreement with only one organization.

We are calling on you to find a course of compromise that will address the needs of the diverse community of Chinese Canadians that must be acknowledged here.

The Acknowledgement, Commemoration and Education (ACE) Fund was established for all communities to access. We believe the appropriate course of action is to ensure that a significant portion of the $12.5 million should be used for individual compensation for the families of head tax payers that have been so instrumental in bringing this issue forward. The remaining ACE funds should be spent on education and commemorative measures, administered either through the Canada Race Relations Foundation or a coalition foundation with representatives from the Chinese Canadian National Council, the Ontario Coalition of Head Tax Payers and Families and the National Congress of Chinese Canadians.

In a further act of good faith, we ask that members of the Chinese Canadian National Council be invited to attend the announcement of the agreement this Wednesday, November 23.

Finding a compromise to address the injustices committed against Chinese immigrants to Canada over a period of decades is of utmost importance and we look forward to working toward a solution to this problem.

Sincerely,

Jack Layton
Jack Layton MP,
Toronto-Danforth

Libby Davies
Libby Davies MP,
Vancouver East

Peter Julian
Peter Julian MP,
Burnaby-New Westminster

Bill Siksay
Bill Siksay MP,
Burnaby-Douglas