TORONTO, November 10, 2005 - The Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF) commends the federal government for moving forward on Chinese Head Tax redress in its support of Bill C-333, The Chinese Canadian Recognition and Redress Act, which is expected to come before the House of Commons shortly for third reading. The Foundation also acknowledges the provision in the Bill for the government to negotiate with the National Congress of Chinese Canadians (NCCC) as one group from the Chinese Canadian community.
Chinese labourers helped shape Canada through their participation in the building of the national railroad. Many Chinese workers died in the construction of the railroad and were unfairly assessed a "head tax" that imposed a crippling financial penalty that was not imposed on immigrants from Europe. The Chinese Immigration Act, 1923 was a further indignity imposed on the Chinese.
The Chinese Canadian Recognition and Redress Act, Bill C-333 was introduced to recognize and acknowledge the treatment of immigrants of Chinese origin associated with historical exclusionary immigration measures and was accepted by the Government and Official Opposition earlier this week.
Bill C-333 is not without its controversy. Some members of the Chinese Canadian community, including the Chinese Canadian National Council and the Ontario Coalition of Head Tax Payers and Families, who for many years have sought an apology and redress from the Government of Canada, do not endorse the changes to the Bill.
The CRRF urges the federal government and all members of the Chinese Community to work together to find a long-lasting solution to the recognition and acknowledgement of the historical experiences of the community. This approach will help ensure that Bill C-333 does not create a lingering divide within the Chinese community over this issue.