TORONTO, November 2, 2005 - The Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF) joins with a number of Chinese Canadian organizations, including the Ontario Coalition of Head Tax Payers and Families and the Chinese Canadian National Council in calling for the rejection of Government amendments to the private member's Bill, sponsored by Conservative M.P., Inky Mark.
The Chinese Canadian Recognition and Redress Act, Bill C-333, was introduced to recognize and apologize for the treatment that early Chinese immigrants received despite the extraordinary contribution they made in the building of Canada, especially on the railways. The Act would also provide for redress to be made in respect of application of a head tax and the operation of The Chinese Immigration Act, 1923.
"The amendments to the Inky Mark Bill that are proposed by the government will dramatically change the content and intent of the original Bill. Most Chinese Canadians will find those amendments unacceptable," explains Paul Winn Interim Chief Operating Officer of the CRRF. "For example, one of the amendments would recognize only one Chinese Canadian organization as the negotiating partner for redress, a situation which could divide the Chinese Canadian community.
"We encourage the federal government to re-think their proposed amendments and reach a solution with the Chinese Canadian community that provides redress that is mutually satisfactory."
The amendments are expected to be presented to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage which is scheduled to meet on November 3rd, 2005 in Room 308, West Block starting at 11:00 am, by Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Sarmite Bulte.
The CRRF has supported the call of a number of Chinese Canadian organizations who for many years have sought an apology and redress from the Government of Canada for the injustices against Chinese including compensation to the head tax survivors, their spouses and descendants.
Similarly, in his 2003 visit to Canada, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Racism, Doudou Diène noted: "Now that the Canadian Government has recognized the situation of Japanese-Canadians as a special case, which has led to the grant of financial compensation, it should in the same spirit restart consultations with members of the Chinese community in Canada in order to consider the possibility of compensating the descendants of persons who paid the head tax or members of their families who were affected by that measure."