Go to original source: Commons Debates - Hansard, 20 February 2003

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October 28, 2002
Members' Statements


Chinese Canadians Mr. James Moore (Port Moody-Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam, Canadian Alliance):

Mr. Speaker, today there was a rally by citizens who feel that the federal government has ignored their calls for a just acknowledgment of past wrongs. These citizens will be calling for an acknowledgment that the imposition of punitive payments, referred to as Chinese head taxes, from 1885 to 1923 was wrong.

We must recognize the contributions of Chinese Canadians in building our nation since before the time of Confederation, particularly in the creation of my home province of British Columbia.

We must also recognize that the introduction and imposition of Chinese head taxes was unjust. They caused a great deal of particular economic and human harm to Chinese Canadians, families and communities. They were also contrary to the Canadian value and ethic of equality before the law.

The wrongs of the past, as much as the great accomplishments that we share, are part of our common history. Thus, I encourage the government to recognize the wrongs of the past so that the Chinese community and all Canadians can have a prosperous and united future together.

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October 28, 2002
Question Period

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP):

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the Chinese head tax of 1885 and the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1923 were terrible pieces of racist legislation that caused great harm to individual Chinese workers, their families and the community as a whole, but even today, members of the Chinese-Canadian community are still struggling to seek redress and compensation.

would like to ask the Prime Minister, will he commit today to enter into negotiations with the Chinese-Canadian community to redress this long-standing injustice in a just and honourable manner? Will the government commit to do that today?

Hon. Jean Augustine (Secretary of State (Multiculturalism) (Status of Women), Lib.):

Mr. Speaker, I want to say to the member that we have all agreed, and I think that as Canadians we all agree, that the wrongs of the past are lessons that we have learnt.

We have set in motion a whole series of programs that we have put together, that we can work together, that we can recognize the diversity of all people and that we will ensure that those lessons that we have learnt will not be repeated.

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Copyright 2002 Commons Debates - Hansard

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