THE CANADIAN CASE FOR COMPENSATION
Kenda Gee - comments on the Australian view
The author misses the point concerning redress, entirely.
Redress is a process involving individuals who were harmed. And it
holds government accountable, particularly as it continues to re-invent
mistakes from the past.
On those notes - money isn't important. Yet, it is.
If 99% of the claimants chose to donate their individual compensation
back to the community, then that would be *their* decision. But they must be
allowed to decide for themselves. The individual compensation is a way to
allow them to reclaim their history and to be empowered, as a result. But it
is *their* choice and no one else's.
Secondly, what seems to escape the author is that government and our
generation are the beneficiaries of those past injustices. Just as we
expect citizens to pay their taxes on time, and should they fail to do, have
government collect from them or their estates when they are dead and long
gone, so too should we make sure that government is not unjustly enriched as
a result of wrong actions. That is why I say, money is not the issue, yet it
If the author believes we have come a long way, then he ought to
consider that shortly after Ottawa tried to renege on their promise to
redress our Chinese in Canada, they introduced a $975 "right of landing fee"
that would apply to all arrivals, including refugees. This was summarily
denounced by the U.N. because whether or not a refugee is allowed entry
should not be based on whether he or she can pay $975. In fact, the Liberal
government's party did not support the ROLF at their national convention in
A few months after this, New Zealand's government tried to introduce a
Does any of this sound familiar to you as a New Zealander and member of
the Commonwealth? I would hope so.
The fact that the author believes that we should be concerned with a
potential "backlash" just goes to show you how little we have progressed.
If "Chinese" are indeed "equal" in Australia, New Zealand, or Canada, is
there a reason why he should dare to hold these kind of "old-time" fears?
During the closing of the Sydney Olympics, Australia's Prime Minister
claimed that his country was the most open and welcoming in the world.
I beg to differ. They have a huge way to overcome their White Supremacy
thinking which was the precursor to copy-cats in New Zealand and Canada.
What a shame.
Howard's rationalization is pretty lame.
If Ottawa apologizes to Chinese Canadians, it will do so *with*
compensation for a very good reason. The compensation will act as a
negotiated 'ceiling' to any future claims.
It is easy for Howard to claim that the poor old flood gates will burst
open, but it's easy to feign poverty when you (as the government) haven't
offered a dime.
This is one of a few reasons why I do have questions re. NZ's official
apology. In Ottawa, it would be rare to offer a formal acknowledgement
without a settlement in money. How does the NZ government plan to defend
future (arbitrary) claims if it has acknowledged guilt?
In the Speech from Helen Clark, she says that it is the first step.
First step to what?
This is an example of the potential short-coming of trying to put the
cart before the horse. It would not happen in Canada, since our group (HTEA)
and the groups we work with (CCNC) have ever claimed to speak for the
'entire' Chinese community. We represent only those who have legitimate
claims as registered HT payers and have indicated that they will not accept
anything less than 3 conditions of settlement (apology, individual
compensation, and collective redress). <<>>
22 February 2002
Canadian Head Tax and Exclusion Act Committee: Now: Check the progress in Canada
Edited by Steven Young