Personal Story: Video Profile - James Pon
Head Tax Payer
Name: James Pon
James Pon came to Canada at the young
age of 5 yrs old and has resided here for 83 years. Pon
has received the Order of Canada award from the Governor
General for his contribution in designing Canadian
military aircrafts during WWII. The following tapes were
recorded to share Ponís experiences as a Chinese head tax
payer, reasons for immigration, and what he is personally
asking from the Canadian Government.
Letter by Marilyn Mulldoon
Marilyn Mulldoon, Vancouver Sun
December 5, 2005
What in the name of logic and decency are the Ottawa Liberals thinking with respect to the Chinese Headtax proposal?
My children are of mixed racial parentage and their paternal grandfather, Doo Nam Wong, was one of the immigrants subjected to this racially motivated tax. Given no other ethnicity paid such a tax, was it not racial discrimination? The head tax was thinly-veiled contempt made even more despicable because it was legal.
Despite hefty fees, the immigrants came and worked. Many helped bring the railway through to BC and lived in workcamps where conditions were inhumane but still pressed on to live the Canadian Dream. During WW II many of the "head taxed" offered themselves or their service-aged children to stand up and fight for their new home.
THE ELECTION: Historical Redress National News
Head-tax debate heats up on hustings; Many Chinese Canadians wonder why Liberals won't apologize for past injustice
Gloria Galloway, The Globe and Mail
December 29, 2005
In the decades since Dick Chan became a Canadian citizen, his vote has gone to the Liberals. But that is about to change.
Mr. Chan says he lost faith in the party that has traditionally been seen as the ally of immigrant Canadians when, of all things, the government announced a plan to redress the historical injustice of the Chinese head tax.
In the dying days of the Liberal minority, Multiculturalism Minister Raymond Chan said the irritant would finally be resolved. A package of $2.5-million would be set aside to acknowledge that this country demanded hundreds of dollars from each Chinese immigrant who arrived between 1885 and 1923 - before immigration from China was effectively banned.
Chinese Head Tax: A Legacy of Suffering
Jim Tam, The National Post
Richmond Hill, Ontario
December 15, 2005
Re: 1885 Tax Becomes An Issue In 2006, Dec. 15.
As a nation that prides itself on social justice, Canada should
clear its own
national conscience and apologize to Chinese immigrants and their
the racist head tax policy in place from 1885 to 1923.
It really sickened me when our Prime Minister
lectured the United States on "global conscience" in the UN Conference on Climate Change while
he has failed
to clear our own national conscience in his own backyard.
My grandfather came to Canada in 1911, after
paying his $500 head tax, a tax
immigrants from other countries did not pay. This levy enriched
coffers by $23-million by 1923, an equivalent of $1.2-billion in