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Harper Government Issues Full Apology For Chinese Head Tax and Chinese Exclusion Act


Harper Government Issues Full Apology For Chinese Head Tax and Chinese Exclusion Act


Canada, immigration, Chinese Canadians, Chinese migrants, Chinese head tax, apology, reconciliation


This video features Prime Minister Harper's apology for the Chinese Head Tax and Chinese Exclusion Act in Canadian Parliament


Government of Canada


Senator Victor Oh




June 22, 2006


Canadian Parliament


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Hansard record of apology:


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Harper Government Issues Full Apology For Chinese Head Tax and Chinese Exclusion Act

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0:00Mr Speaker I rise today to formally turn the page on an unfortunate . and
0:06candidates path . during which a group of people people who only thought to
0:12build a better life were repeatedly and deliberately singled out for unjust
0:17I speak of course of the head tax that was imposed on chinese immigrants to
0:21this country as well as the other restrictive measures to follow
0:25look at the dock and comments all should be the setup of the queue day started so
0:31far they have is the drive is Shin Hwa Yong comments they are a dvo media to
0:38DWTS almost exclusively young men these chinese immigrants made the difficult
0:44decision to leave their families behind in order to pursue opportunities in the
0:49country halfway around the world they called gold Mountain beginning in 1881
0:55over 15,000 of these Chinese five years became involved in the most important
1:01nation building enterprise in Canadian history the construction of the canadian
1:05pacific railway for the shores of the st. Lawrence across the seemingly
1:09endless endless expanses of shield and prairie climbing the majestic Rockies
1:14and cutting through the rugged terrain of British Columbia this
1:17transcontinental links with the ribbon of steel that down our fledgling country
1:22it was an engineering feat that was instrumental to the settlement of the
1:26West and the subsequent development of the Canadian economy and one for which
1:31the back-breaking toil of Chinese laborers was largely responsible
1:36the conditions under which these men worked were at best harsh and at times
1:43tragically some 1,000 Chinese laborers died during the building of the CPR but
1:51in spite of it all these chinese immigrants persevered and in doing so
1:55helps to ensure the future of this country but from the moment the railway
2:01was complete
2:03turn it back on these men beginning with the chinese immigration activists you
2:09need five and head back to fifty dollars was imposed on Chinese newcomers in an
2:15attempt to determine bration not content with the taxes affect the government
2:21subsequently raised the amounts of one hundred dollars in nineteen hundred and
2:24then to five hundred dollars in 1903 the equivalent of two years wages this tax
2:32remain in place until 19 23 when the government amended the chinese
2:37immigration act and effectively banned most chinese immigrants until nineteen
2:42forty-seven similar legislation existed in the dominion of newfoundland which
2:47also oppose the head tax between 1906 in 1949 with Newfoundland join
2:52Confederation the Government of Canada recognizes the stigma and exclusion
2:58experienced by the Chinese as a result we acknowledge the high cost of the head
3:04tax meant that many many family members were left behind in China never to be
3:09reunited for the families with the part and it's so in some cases in extreme
3:14poverty for years
3:16we also recognize that our failure to truly our failure to truly acknowledge
3:23these historical injustice has prevented many in the community from seeing
3:28themselves as Polly connait pas de quoi stay calm
3:31two places on loan to the account of danice's for them on to Canada you're
3:37putting us on today's excuse confident
3:40ok and again the mechana jams on a pinch in laws for that accidentally a new song
3:45profound am on disability
3:47the next use on these even on PSP therefore mr. speaker
3:52once again on behalf of the people and government of canada
3:56we offer a full apology to chinese Canadians for the heads tasks and
4:02express our deepest sorrow for the subsequent
4:04solution a chinese immigrants god I didn't
4:49mr. speaker this apology is not about liabilities day it is no reconciliation
4:56with those who enjoyed such hardship and the broader chinese-canadian community
5:01one that continues to make such an invaluable contribution to this great
5:05country and well Canadian parts of rules that the head tax and immigration
5:09prohibition illegally authorizes time we fully accept the more responsibility to
5:15acknowledge the sample policies of our path for over six decades is race based
5:22financial measures in solely at the Chinese were implemented with
5:27deliberation by the canadian state
5:29this is a grave injustice and one we are more of morally obligated to acknowledge
5:35to give some standard meaning to today's apology
5:38the Government of Canada will offer some olive payments the living head taxpayers
5:43and living spouses of the sea space
5:45in addition we will establish funds to help finance community projects and
5:51acknowledging the impasse the passport I'm measures and immigration restriction
5:55and the head time on the Chinese Canadian community and on other ethnic
6:00cultural community
6:01Oh can pay off our debt from two days old
6:08look at that company there are telepaths e-news are some calcium to swap the
6:16purple can again use able
6:19it probably 20 rates of white house is late father please get off
6:24you said phosphate and even though the head tax a product of a profoundly
6:30different time life are in our path we feel compelled to write this historic
6:36wrong for the simple reason that it is the decent thing to do a characteristic
6:42to be found at the core of the Canadian soul
6:45mr. speaker in closing let me assure the house is this government will
6:50continually strive to ensure that similar unjust practices are never
6:54allowed to have
6:55game we have the collective responsibility two days to build a
6:59country based firmly on the notion of equality of opportunity regardless of
7:04one's race arrested work
7:06RDX or sorrow over the races erase actions of our past will nurture and
7:12unwavering commitment to build a better life for all tourney
7:16now people who

Published on Jun 22, 2016




Government of Canada, “Harper Government Issues Full Apology For Chinese Head Tax and Chinese Exclusion Act,” Exhibits, accessed October 1, 2023,