Cukai kepala (Kanada)

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Cukai kepala Cina adalah suatu biaya tetap yang dibebankan untuk setiap orang Cina yang memasuki Kanada. Ia juga dianggapkan salah satu undang-undang yang paling perkauman yang telah diluluskan oleh Kerajaan Kanada. Cukai kepala pertama kali levied selepas Kerajaan Kanada meluluskan Akta Imigresen Cina 1885. Ia bermakna untuk tidak mengalak orang Cina dari memasuki Kanada selepas selesai Canadian Pacific Railway. Cukai kepala ditamatkan oleh Akta Imigresen Cina 1923, yang menghentikan imigresen Cina kecuali untuk para peniaga, ulama, mahasiswa, pelajar dan kategori lain.[1]

Sejarah[sunting | sunting sumber]

Gelombang besar pertama dari Imigresen Cina Wynona ke Kanada adalah sewaktu 1877 dan 1928, terdiri dari sebahagian besar masih muda, orang-orang terpelajar yang bekerja dalam balak atau sebagai nelayan. Namun, pada awal 1880-an, sekitar 15,000 pekerja buruh yang dibawa dari China untuk melakukan pekerjaan pembinaan pada Canadian Pacific Railway. Mereka meninggalkan kemiskinan yang menghancurkan di China, untuk pekerjaan berat yang termasuk tugas-tugas berbahaya seperti membawa bahan peledak, untuk upah yang ditetapkan oleh pialang buruh Cina yang mempekerjakan mereka, yang sepertiga atau setengah kurang daripada rakan kerja mereka.[2]

Imigresen ini cukup besar - sekitar 3,000 orang Cina, ketika banci 1871 hanya menghitung 33,586 di provinsi itu - untuk membangkitkan perhatian. Provinsi British Columbia meluluskan undang-undang yang ketat untuk mencegah imigresen Cina pada tahun 1878. Namun, hal ini langsung memukul oleh mahkamah sebagai ultra vires [di luar kekuasaan] legislatif provinsi, kerana mereka dilanggar pada bidang kuasa persekutuan atas imigresen.[3]

Sebagai sebuah tanah penguasaan Empayar British, Kanada cuba mencegah, tetapi tidak dapat, dengan kewajipan antarabangsanya, benar-benar menghilangkan, imigresen Cina di perbatasannya.

Akta Imigresen Cina 1885 persekutuan Kanada[4] menetapkan bahawa semua orang Cina yang memasuki Kanada membayar biaya $500, kemudian dirujukkan sebagai cukai kepala. Ini telah mengalami perubahan pada 1887,[5] 1892,[6] dan 1900.[7]

Tidak semua pendatang Cina harus membayar cukai kepala. Ada yang dianggap kembali ke Cina setelah "tinggal sementara" di Kanada oleh kerana pekerjaan sementara mereka, atau latar belakang (siswa, guru, pengembang agama, pedagang, anggota kor diplomatik) dan, oleh itu, dibebaskan dari membayar biaya ini.[8][4]

Kesan cukai kepala[sunting | sunting sumber]

Pemerintah Kanada mengumpulkan sekitar $23 juta pada nilai nominal[2] dari sekitar 81,000 pembayar cukai kepala, sebahagian wang yang digunakan untuk mendukung upaya perang Kanada pada Perang Dunia II. Jumlah cukai kepala yang dikumpulkan oleh 1923 telah diperkirakan setara dengan lebih dari $1.5 juta dolar 1988.[perlu rujukan]

Sistem pajak kepala memiliki kesan memaksa imigresen Cina: membuat tenaga kerja buruh tersedia untuk landasan kereta api, dan meletakkan had pada kehidupan para pendatang. Ini berbeza dengan tujuan imigresen pengecualian Cina sama sekali, seperti yang disebut dengan jelas oleh ahli politik dan pemimpin buruh semasa.[8] Sistem ini berkesan dalam melemahkan semangat perempuan dan anak-anak Cina bergabung dengan laki-laki mereka, sehingga masyarakat Cina di Kanada menjadi "masyarakat bujangan".[2]

Akhirnya cukai kepala[sunting | sunting sumber]

Cukai kepala berakhir denganAkta Imigresen tahun Cina 1923, yang berhenti imigresen Cina sama sekali, meskipun pengecualian tertentu seperti untuk pemilik bisnes dan lain-lain diizinkan beberapa imigresen lanjutan[9] Hal ini kadang-kadang disebut oleh lawan sebagai Akta Pengecualian Cina, istilah juga digunakan bagi rakan Amerikanya.[10]

Gerakan untuk redress[sunting | sunting sumber]

Pada 1980an, banyak orang Cina dan kumpulan-kumpulan berlobi untuk refund cukai kepala, dan suatu apology, atau pengakuan rasmi, dari Kerajaan Kanada. Gerakan era moden redress dapat dikesan semula pada 1984, apabila Vancouver Member of Parliament Margaret Mitchell menimbulkan dalam Dewan Rakyat isu membayar balik Cukai Kepala Cina yang perkauman untuk dua dari constituentsnya. [11]Selepas itu, beribu-ribu pembayar Cukai Kepala dan ahli keluarga mereka mencapai Chinese Canadian National Council (CCNC) and its member organizations across Canada to register their Head Tax certificates and ask CCNC to represent them to lobby the government for redress.[12]

Since 1984, the CCNC has been seeking redress on behalf of the surviving Head Tax payers and their families who have suffered from decades of discrimination as a result of these racist laws passed by the Canadian Government. Over 4,000 Head Tax payers, spouses and descendants entrusted CCNC with representing them in seeking an apology and financial redress.[13] The redress campaign included holding numerous community meetings, gathering support from other groups and prominent people, increasing the media profile, conducting research and published materials, making presentations at schools, etc. CCNC continued to meet with various Multiculturalism Ministers. In 1993, months before a federal election, then Prime Minister Brian Mulroney made an offer of individual medallions, a museum wing and other collective measures involving several other redress-seeking communities. This was rejected outright by the Chinese, Italian and Ukrainian Canadian national groups.

After Prime Minister Jean Chrétien was elected in 1993, his Government openly refused to provide an apology or redress. [12]The following few years saw little major activity although no one gave up on redress, and CCNC and its supporters continued to raise the issue whenever they could, including a submission to the United Nations Human Rights Commission.

Another phase of the redress campaign started in 1999 with the planning and implementation of the court action against the Government. The CCNC argued that the federal government should not be profiting from racism, and that it had a responsibility under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and under international human rights law. In addition, the 1988 official apology and compensation (supported by CCNC) for the internment of Japanese Canadians during World War II set a precedent for redressing racially motivated policies. The Ontario court declared in 2001 that the Government of Canada had no obligation to redress the head tax levied on Chinese immigrants because the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms had no retroactive application, and that the case of internment of Japanese Canadians was not a legal precedent for compensating past racist policies. Two appeals in 2002 and 2003 were unsuccessful, [14]but the judge’s supportive words in the original 2001 decision helped to raise awareness and keep up the pressure.

As Prime Minister Paul Martin entered the scene in 2003, there was renewed hope amongst both long-time redress activists and new supporters. The urgency of the situation became the overriding factor as it became clear that there were perhaps only a few dozen surviving Head Tax payers left and maybe a few hundred spouses or widows.

In the years from 2003 to 2006, there were several national events that helped to revitalize the redress campaign. The highlights were the 2003 Last Spike Redress Campaign with the symbolic “last spike” of the Canadian Pacific Railway donated by Pierre Berton to CCNC.[15] In 2004, in response to a submission by the Chinese Canadian Redress Alliance in Montreal, a timely Report by Doudou Diène, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, concluded that Canada should redress the head tax to Chinese Canadians

In the summer of 2005, Gim Wong – an 82-year-old son of two Head Tax payers and a World War II veteran – started his cross-country Ride for Redress on his Harley Davidson motorcycle. [16]The year 2005 also saw the creation of the Ontario Coalition of Chinese Head Tax Payers and Families, which worked closely with CCNC and the B.C. Coalition that was so successful in the early 1990s.

Liberal Government's proposed foundation[sunting | sunting sumber]

To the surprise of many, on November 17, 2005, a group calling itself the National Congress of Chinese Canadians announced an "agreement" with the out-going Liberal administration to pay $12.5 million for the creation of a new non-profit foundation to educate Canadians about anti-Chinese discrimination. The payments (of the, now, failed, agreement) would have gone to a foundation, not to individuals who had paid the tax, with a specific, pre-condition of "no apology" by the government.

This proposal was instantly met by controversy.

Among other things, the deal had been negotiated without the participation of a number of the most active groups across Canada, including the CCNC.

Accordingly, when the Department of Heritage announced its preliminary agreement on November 24, 2005, funding was suddenly reduced to $2.5 million--most likely the result of fierce and obvious opposition in the broader community. It was also later, revealed that Raymond Chan, the government official claiming to have negotiated with community groups who held no family ties to the issue, purposely misled the government and public that the Chinese community was willing to accept "no apology, [and] no [individual or collective] compensation."

The authors of the unpopular proposal also claimed support of 11 Chinese-Canadian groups. Yet, upon further examination, some of the named groups stated publicly that their names had been used without permission; several other groups listed, did not even exist. The out-going Liberal Government tabled bill C-333 (as a private member's bill) to implement the deal in November 2004, but this bill died when the Government fell on November 28, 2005.

Opposition grew louder in the Chinese Canadian community and, in response, major redress-seeking alliances and coalitions were formed. This marked a major turning point for the Head Tax Campaign across Canada. The public lobby took prominence during and after, the 2006 federal election. In addition, significant, individual efforts in private, would lead to future negotiations with the Conservative Party.

In prior election campaigns in 2004 and 2006, opposition parties, including the New Democratic Party and Bloc Québécois had already stated their support for an apology and redress for the head tax.

On December 8, 2005, Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper released a press statement expressing his support for an apology for the head tax. As a part of his 2006 election platform, Mr. Harper promised to work with the Chinese community on redress should the Conservatives form the next government.[17]

Before ultimately losing the federal election, the out-going Prime Minister and Liberal Party leader Paul Martin issued a half-hearted personal apology on a Chinese language radio program. However, he was quickly criticized by the Chinese Canadian community for not issuing the apology in Parliament and, then, trying to dismiss it completely in the English-speaking media on the very same day.[perlu rujukan] Several Liberal candidates with significant Chinese-Canadian populations in their ridings, including Vancouver-Kingsway MP David Emerson, and the Minister of State (Multiculturalism) and Richmond MP Raymond Chan, also made futile attempts to change their positions in the midst of the 2006 election campaign.

Conservative Government Apology[sunting | sunting sumber]

The Conservative Party won the election with a minority government, Prime Minister Stephen Harper reiterating his position on the Head Tax issue in a news conference on January 26, 2006:

"Chinese Canadians are making an extraordinary impact on the building of our country. They've also made a significant historical contribution despite many obstacles. That's why, as I said during the election campaign, the Chinese Canadian community deserves an apology for the head tax and appropriate acknowledgement and redress."[18]

Formal discussions on the form of apology and redress began on March 24, 2006 with a preliminary meeting with Chinese Canadians representing various groups (including some head tax payers), Heritage Minister Bev Oda, and Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister Jason Kenney, resulting in the "distinct possibility" of a formal government apology before July 1, 2006 to commemorate the anniversary of the enacting of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1923.[19]

The meeting was followed by the Conservative government's acknowledgement on April 4, 2006 in its Speech from the Throne that an apology would be given along with proper redress.[20]

From April 21 to April 30, 2006, the Conservative government hosted public, national consultations across Canada in cities most actively involved in the campaign, since it first began: Halifax, Vancouver, Toronto, Edmonton, Montreal, and Winnipeg. They included the personal testimony of elders and representatives from a number of groups, among them, the Halifax Redress Committee; the BC Coalition of Head Tax Payers, Spouses & Descendants; ACCESS; the Ontario Coalition of Head Tax Payers & Families; the CCNC; the Edmonton Redress Committee of the Chinese Canadian Historical Association of Alberta; and, the National Redress Alliance headquartered in Montreal.

On June 22, 2006, Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered an apology and compensation only for the head tax once paid by Chinese immigrants.[21] Survivors or their spouses will be paid approximately $20,000 CAD in compensation. There are only an estimated 20 Chinese Canadians who paid the tax still alive in 2006.[22]

Today[sunting | sunting sumber]

Currently, the major issues revolve around the content of any future settlement, with the leading groups demanding meaningful redress, not only for the handful of surviving "head tax" payers and widows/spouses, but first-generation sons/daughters who were direct victims.

Some have proposed that the redress be based on the number of "Head Tax" Certificates (or estates) brought forward by surviving sons and daughters who are still able to register their claims, with proposals for individual redress, ranging from $10,000 to 30,000 for an estimated 4,000 registrants.

As no mention of redress for those children was made, the Chinese Canadian community continues to fight for a redress from the Canadian government. A national day of protest was held on July 1, 2006 in major cities across Canada, with several hundred Chinese Canadians joining in local marches.

See also[sunting | sunting sumber]

References[sunting | sunting sumber]

  1. James Morton. "In the Sea of Sterile Mountains: The Chinese in British Columbia". Vancouver, BC: J.J. Douglas, 1974.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Canadiana.org (2005), "Asian Immigration", Canada in the Making, http://www.canadiana.org/citm/specifique/asian_e.html, capaian 2007-09-01 
  3. Todd, Alpheus (1894), Parliamentary Government in the British Colonies (edisi Reprint), The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd., ISBN 1-58477-617-X, http://books.google.com/?id=RG_rB9WVhngC&pg=PA194&lpg=PA194  Page 194. Reprinted 2006 by The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Canada. Dept. of Trade and Commerce (1885), Chinese Immigration Act, 1885, http://www.canadiana.org/ECO/PageView/9_02345/0019, capaian 2007-09-01 
  5. Canada. Dept. of Trade and Commerce (1887), An act to amend the Chinese Immigration Act, 1887, http://www.canadiana.org/ECO/PageView/9_02345/0024, capaian 2007-09-01 
  6. Canada. Dept. of Trade and Commerce (1892), An act to further amend the Chinese Immigration Act, 1892, http://www.canadiana.org/ECO/PageView/9_02345/0025, capaian 2007-09-01 
  7. Canada (1901), Act respecting and restricting Chinese immigration, http://www.canadiana.org/ECO/ItemRecord/9_03479, capaian 2007-09-01 
  8. 8.0 8.1 Vancouver Public Library (2007), Chinese Head Tax, http://www.vpl.ca/ccg/Head_Tax_Info.html, capaian 2007-09-01 
  9. * James Morton. "In the Sea of Sterile Mountains: The Chinese in British Columbia". Vancouver, BC: J.J. Douglas, 1974. (A thorough discussion of Chinese immigration and life in BC, railway politics and a detailed profile of the political agendas and personalities of the time)
  10. Templat:Cite hansard
  11. Most head-tax families haven't gotten a penny | Straight.com
  12. 12.0 12.1 Chinese Canadian National Council
  13. PRM 2005 - Redressing the Past of the Lo Wah Kui
  14. CanLII - 2002 CanLII 45062 (ON C.A.)
  15. Redress: Justice In Time - News
  16. GungHaggisFatChoy :: Gim Wong completes his "Ride for Redress" in Montreal - flying back to Vancouver for Wednesday
  17. Conservative Party Of Canada
  18. CCNC Press Release - Chinese Canadians welcome New Year's promise on Head Tax Redress from PM Designate Stephen Harper
  19. CTV.ca | Chinese-Cdns. hail promise for head tax apology
  20. Throne speech promises crime crackdown, GST cut
  21. Canada (2006). "Address by the Prime Minister on the Chinese Head Tax Redress". Government of Canada. http://www.pm.gc.ca/eng/media.asp?category=2&id=1220. Capaian 2006-08-08. 
  22. Sympatico / MSN : News : CTV.ca: PM apologizes in House of Commons for head tax

External links[sunting | sunting sumber]