Harper apol­o­gizes for Chi­nese Head Tax again

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE -

$100 in 1900 ($2,800 in to­day’s money), and then to a stag­ger­ing $500 ($13,500 to­day) in 1903.

This tax re­mained in place un­til 1923, when the gov­ern­ment amended the Chi­nese Immigration Act and ef­fec­tively banned most Chi­nese im­mi­grants to Canada un­til 1947. New­found­land also im­posed a Head Tax on Chi­nese im­mi­grants from 1906 to 1949, the year New­found­land joined the con­fed­er­a­tion.

The Head Tax was le­gal at the time, as ac­knowl­edged by Cana­dian courts. How­ever, the gov­ern­ment of Canada came to ac­cept that the Head Tax was racially-based and in­con­sis­tent with the val­ues of mod­ern day Cana­di­ans.

“As such, we took re­spon­si­bil­ity and of­fered sym­bolic ex­gra­tia pay­ments to liv­ing Head Tax pay­ers and liv­ing spouses of de­ceased pay­ers. We also es­tab­lished the Com­mu­nity His­tor­i­cal Recog­ni­tion Pro­gram to help fi­nance com­mu­nity projects that ex­plored the im­pact of past wartime mea­sures and immigration re­stric­tions on cul­tural and re­li­gious com­mu­ni­ties,” Harper said.

On June 22, 2006, on be­half of the Cana­dian gov­ern­ment, the Prime Min­is­ter first apol­o­gized in the House of Com­mons for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Head Tax.

The Gov­ern­ment also an­nounced its in­ten­tion to of­fer sym­bolic in­di­vid­ual pay­ments of $20,000 to liv­ing Chi­nese Head Tax pay­ers and liv­ing spouses of de­ceased pay­ers.

“These ac­tions helped to heal old wounds and demon­strated that our gov­ern­ment is com­mit­ted to ac­knowl­edg­ing his­tor­i­cal wrongs and to mov­ing for­ward, to­gether, to build a stronger Canada,” Harper ex­plained.

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