’We can forgive and forget’

Except for those families directly affected by the head tax, that policy is not an issue with most Chinese Canadians.

Editor, The News:

Re: ‘Apologize for head tax’ (The News, March 8).

In responding to Doug Bing’s view on the need for B.C. government to apologize for the head tax, here are my personal views.

• Except for those families directly affected by the head tax, that policy is not an issue with most Chinese Canadians, especially in the eyes of the new generations of immigrants (post 1960s).

With due respect to those who suffered from the tax, to most of us, it is but a sad historical footnote.

• The head tax policy was indeed one based on racial discrimination, because the same was not applied to other groups of minorities, such as the European whites.

However, I also accept that most policies and laws were written based on the social norm of the time. Many were treated as second-class citizens.

We do not need to apologize for every single mistake that the older generations  made, especially for those for which rectifications have already been made.

Canada has moved on, and we need not be holding on to some ancient grievance.

• The head tax definitely was an unfair treatment to the Chinese, and might have costed huge hardship to many.

Yet, people still decided to come, because the future of a new life in Canada was perceived as worthy of all the possible costs, such as all the material and intangible sacrifices of leaving the home country and, yes, including the dreaded head tax. Unlike the policy of residential schools, the head tax had little long-term effect on the lives of Chinese Canadians.

We can forgive and forget.

By the way, those who assume visible minorities always vote as a block, or can be switched by a symbolic gesture, are wrong. We are as capable as any citizen to judge the government by its action in totality.

Larry Chan

Pitt Meadows