U.N. report suggests Canada pay reparations

The Guardian (UK)

March 12, 2004

Toronto: A draft United Nations report says Canada should consider paying reparations for the immigrant tax once levied on Chinese and to blacks ousted from a town in 1970.

The report was produced by special U.N. investigator Doudou Diene, who spent 10 days in Canada in September canvassing various groups and individuals about racism, intolerance and discrimination.

He offered 15 recommendations, two of which suggested reparations. The recommendations are nonbinding.

Canada’s minister for multiculturalism rejected the concept of reparations, saying the government opposes payouts.

“The government policy remains no financial compensation,” Jean Augustine said in an interview Friday.

Canada did compensate Japanese-Canadians in 1988 for wartime internment policies, but that was under the government of a different ruling party.

Between 1885 and 1923, Chinese immigrants were charged a head tax to enter Canada. The tax, which varied from $37.50 to $375, is said to have collected $17.3 million, and some members of the Chinese-Canadian community have demanded compensation.

Africville was a black settlement dating to the 1700s in what now is Halifax, Nova Scotia. Over the years, as Halifax grew, Africville was hemmed in by industrial areas.

“After 150 years of collusion between the provincial government and the business community . . . in 1970, all of the community was forcefully removed without proper compensation,” the report said.

The report also called for a national commission to fight discrimination and promote multiculturalism.

The report was presented to the Canadian Mission at the United Nations in New York and forwarded to the Canadian Ministry of Heritage in Ottawa.

Categories: Canada, North America, Odious Debts

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