Rona Ambrose, the Leader of the Official Opposition, issues statement on the 10th anniversary of the Chinese Head Tax Apology

June 22, 2016

Rona Ambrose, Interim Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada and Leader of the Official Opposition, issued the following statement today to mark the 10th anniversary of the Government of Canada`s apology for the Chinese Head Tax:

“Canada is renowned for being kind and welcoming towards new Canadians from around the world. However, this has not always been the case. In the late 1800s, thousands from China were brought to Canada to work on the Canadian Pacific Railway and many lost their lives working in treacherous conditions. Upon the completion of the railway, a head tax was imposed on thousands of Chinese people who entered Canada between 1885 and 1923, in an attempt to discourage Chinese people from entering Canada. This was truly a dark chapter in Canada’s history.

“On June 22nd, 2006, Prime Minister Stephen Harper made a formal apology in the House of Commons for the unjust head tax that was imposed on Chinese immigrants. Prime Minister Harper called the head tax ‘a grave injustice’, and ‘one that we are morally obligated to acknowledge’. The previous Conservative government also offered financial compensation to the survivors and their families. In addition, the Community Historical Recognition Program was established to commemorate and educate Canadians about the Chinese Head Tax.

“Today, there are over one million Canadians of Chinese descent and China continues to be one of Canada’s top source for newcomers. Chinese Canadians are an integral part of Canada.

“On behalf of the Official Opposition and our Conservative Caucus, I hope all Canadians take this opportunity to recognize the important contributions of Chinese Canadians from all walks of life.”

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