Ottawa to compensate Chinese-Canadians
Updated: 2005-11-20 08:57
TORONTO ¡ª A group of Chinese-Canadians said Thursday it has negotiated a deal
with the federal government for the head tax Chinese immigrants were once forced
to pay, but the move is being condemned by other groups who want Ottawa to do
The agreement with the National Congress of Chinese Canadians is to be signed
Nov. 23. CBC News reported the federal government has agreed to acknowledge the
head tax discriminated against Chinese immigrants and pay $12.5 million into a
But several other Chinese-Canadian groups representing head tax payers and
their families said the deal is inadequate. The Chinese Canadian National
Council is among the groups asking the federal government to issue a formal
apology as well as provide compensation to head tax payers and their families.
"This issue has been absolutely churning in the Chinese language media so we
would be surprised that the prime minister and his government have missed the
vocal opposition among head tax payers and families and throughout the
community," said Victor Wong, the council's executive director.
"We call on Prime Minister Martin not to repeat the mistakes of the past and
enter into good-faith negotiations with the head tax payers and families."
The Canadian government collected $23 million from more than 80,000 Chinese
immigrants between 1885 and 1923, with the tax ranging from $50 to $500 per
person. At the time, $500 was equivalent to two years of wages for a Chinese
Chinese immigrants were then turned away in 1923, with families separated for
decades until the Exclusion Act was repealed in 1947. Several dozen people who
paid the tax are believed to still be alive.