Date: Tuesday, January 10 2006
Liberals will modify head-tax settlement to include apology: Chan
By STEVE MERTL
VANCOUVER (CP) - A Liberal government's head-tax settlement will include a formal apology to Chinese-Canadians whose ancestors were forced to pay the humiliating fee, says Multiculturalism Minister Raymond Chan.
The admission in an interview with The Canadian Press is the latest wrinkle in an election-campaign controversy that has frustrated the Liberals and bemused their critics.
In the last week, the Liberals went from defending their no-apology policy on grounds of legal liability, to Industry Minister David Emerson suggesting they had new legal opinions that put the government in the clear legally, to Prime Minister Paul Martin offering a "personal" apology on a Chinese-language radio station.
Now Chan, the government's point man on the head-tax file, acknowledges the Liberals will give in to clamour from the Chinese-Canadian community.
"Yes," he responded when asked if the Liberals would formally apologize as part of the settlement.
"We do whatever we can to apologize and make sure the taxpayers would not be exposed to unlimited financial liability."