|215 Spadina Avenue , Suite 124, M5T 2C7|
|The Centre for Social Innovation|
CCNCTO Short Film Screenings: Grange Avenue & A Chink in the Armour
You are invited to a film screening event organized by Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto Chapter
What: Film Screening - Grange Avenue and A Chink in the Armor When: June 26, 2009: 5.00pm - 7.30pm (Screening will start at 5.30pm with Q&A afterwards) Where: 1st Floor Board Room, 215 Spadina Avenue
The film makers Allan Tong (Grange Avenue) and Baun Man (A Chink in the Armour) will be present for Q&A. We are also extremely honored to have Allan's father to attend the screening and Q&A. According to Allan, his father is the inspiration for his film. He lived on the Grange Avenue in the mid-50s and also on Sullivan Street where CSI currently is!!!!
The event is free and opened to public. Refreshment will be served. Please bring your friends and spread the words!!!! To make sure that food is enough for everyone, please RSVP [email protected] if you are bringing yourself and other guests.
See you on Friday!
Short summary of the films
Grange Avenue (14:25 mins) tells of a forbidden love affair between a male Chinese immigrant and a white woman set in 1954 Toronto. Julia MacMillan falls for student Raymond Lam after a racial attack outside his Grange Avenue rooming house. Lovers Raymond and Julia embark on a torrid affair until Julia's pregnancy threatens to expose their interracial affair to a hostile society. Can their love survive?
A Chink in the Armour (25 mins) is a hilarious Michael-Moore style documentary looking at Chinese stereotypes in North America.
- Do they all know kung-fu?
- Are they all good at math?
- How many really suck at driving?
Answers lie within
3rd Anniversary of Chinese Head Tax/Exclusion Act Apology
June 22, 2009 marks the 3rd anniversary of the Canadian government's apology for the head tax. In 2006, after years of mass mobilization by the Chinese Canadian National Council and community allies, Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivered an official apology in the House of Commons, with similar statements made by other Party leaders. In addition, the government committed to a redress of $20,000 to living head tax payers or surviving spouses. It is important to commemorate that date as a milestone in the fight for social justice by the Chinese community and to recognize the importance and continued need for organizing in our community.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
- Change your profile pic to the 'Remember' profile pic currently used for this event
- Learn more about the head tax and the Chinese Exclusion Act below
- Tell your friends and invite them to this event!
- Volunteer with other motivated activists by contacting us at
CHINESE HEAD TAX
The Chinese head tax was a discriminatory fee charged to Chinese immigrants entering Canada. Specifically, the head tax targeted working-class Chinese as certain 'high social status' positions were exempt, including merchants, diplomats, clergymen, and men of science.
1885 – A $50 head tax was first implemented through the Chinese Immigration Act of 1885 (Laurier, 1900) 1900 - The head tax was increased to $100 (Laurier, 1900) 1903 - The head tax was further increased to $500 (Dyzenhaus & Moran, 2005).
Purpose and Effect on Chinese Community
Legislated at the start of a recession, when additional workers were not needed, the Chinese Immigration Act of 1885 was said to be an attempt to discourage further Chinese immigration into Canada through the imposition of a head tax. During a House of Commons debate, Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier stated: In my opinion there is not much room for the Chinaman in Canada. He displaces a good Canadian, or a good British subject. Not only are they monopolizing the laundry business and the growing of vegetable in British Columbia, but they are driving skilled miners out of employment in the coal mines (p. 7, Dyzenhaus & Moran, 2005).
However, the Chinese Immigration Act did not completely stop the immigration of Chinese into Canada. Despite the significant financial burden represented by the head tax, given continued problems in China resulting from Western/Japanese imperialism and natural disasters, Chinese immigrants continued to enter the country. In fact, it only had the effect of limiting immigration during the initial recession that had begun with the end of the railway construction, with immigration dropping to 2686 (Lai, 1988). As soon as the economy picked up with increased settlements along the railway and afterwards, with the first World War, immigration would once again commence (Lai, 1988). This brings into question the stated aim to prevent the movement of Chinese into Canada. Instead, the Chinese Immigration Act was effective in limiting the number of Chinese women and children entering into Canada to rejoin their spouses or fathers (Robert, 2005). By the time the head tax was removed, the federal government had collected approximately $23 million, or $1.2 billion in 1988 dollars (Dyzenhaus & Moran, 2005).
There is a possibility that, instead, the intended aim of the Chinese Immigration Act was to keep open, a source of cheap labour for businesses, while giving an impression of government action against the perceived 'threat' of Chinese immigration ironically stemmed from racist propaganda spread by individuals like Onderdonk, the man in charge of constructing the Canadian Pacific Railway (Lai, 1988). Whatever the case may be, the Chinese Immigration Act ensured that the Chinese population in Canada remain unsettled, by separating families and hence limiting long-term prospects of staying in Canada.
CHINESE EXCLUSION ACT
With an economic depression at the end of the first World War, in 1923, the Chinese Immigration Act was replaced with the Chinese Exclusion Act. This act conclusively banned all Chinese immigration except for merchants prepared to invest $2500 into the local economy, diplomats, foreign students, and “special circumstances” granted by the Minister of Immigration. With the Chinese Exclusion Act in force, only about twenty-five immigrants from China entered Canada (Knowles, 2007). It was not until May 14, 1947, in response to mobilization of the Chinese community, contributions of the Chinese to war efforts, and in deference to the United Nations Charter and the Chinese government, that this legislation was repealed and Canadian citizenship was made eligible to the Chinese who had paid the head taxes.
Dyzenhaus, D. & Moran, M. (2005). Mack v. Attorney General of Canada: Equality, History, and Reparation. In Calling Power to Account: Law, Reparations, and the Chinese Canadian Head Tax Case (pp. 3 - 19). Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
Knowles, V. (2007). Strangers at Our Gates: Canadian Immigration and Immigration Policy, 1540 - 2006. Toronto: Dundurn Press.
Lai, C. L. (1988). China Towns. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.
Laurier, Sir. W. (1900). An act respecting and restricting Chine[se] Immigration. House of Commons. Retrieved October 22, 2007, from http://www.canadiana.org/ECO/ItemRecord/9_03479.
Robert, Dr. J. (December 8, 2005). Asian Immigration. Canada in the Making. Retrieved October 22, 2007, from http://www.canadiana.org/citm/specifique/asian_e.html.