Eliminate The Immigrant Landing Fee sign now

In the recent 2006 Federal Election you promised to cut the $975 Landing Fee in half and then continue to reduce it over time to $100, claiming that you would not eliminate it completely because you are "not going to make a promise" you can't keep. As Prime Minister of Canada, you wield a great power that has been entrusted to you by countless Canadians; you represent our country, our ethics, our morals and principles on the world stage.

Canada is known as being one of the most diverse and tolerant nations in the world. As Canadians, we pride ourselves as being the first to accept new ideals and respect the religions, races and cultures of others. If we do commit any wrongs, we apologise for them and are never too proud to correct our mistakes. The Canadian Landing Fee is one such "mistake" that must be eliminated if we are to uphold the reputation of our country. First introduced on February 28, 1995, Canadians in every province and territory have expressed their loathing for the Landing Fee, which is in fact, merely a eupehmism for the harsher term "Head Tax". The money collected was originally supposed to be spent on services that would help immigrants settle down in Canada. In reality however, the funds were assimilated into general revenues and were never used for their actual purpose.
This is in itself is disgraceful, not only because the government did not channel the funds in the proper direction, but also because of what this says about our country. The Landing Fee tells prospective immigrants that they can come and make Canada their home, for a small fee. And a small fee is exactly what the Landing Fee is to the governement. But to the legions of poor people who seek refuge in Canada, this fee can often encompass their entire savings. Once they have paid and arrived, they are often penniless and their dream turns into a nightmare.

And then there are the many people who can only dream of coming to Canada. The Landing Fee is a barrier that prevents poor people from coming and making Canada their home - all because they do not have the funds to pay a tax only the marginally rich can afford in most developing countries. Those who can pay are assured entry.Those who cannot pay may dream of a better life but can do nothing else. The $975 fee may not be that much to someone from a developed country but for people from Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, the Philippines or other poor parts of the world, this could be some ones life savings.

Chinese Canadians in particular have not forgotten the head tax their ancestors were made to pay from 1885 to 1923. Starting at $50, the tax soon rose to $500 to try and impede the influx of Chinese immigrants. This tax, so unapologetically racist, is a stain on Canada's past. It took many years for the government to admit that this tax was unjust. The fact is that no amount of compensation or apologies can erase the humiliation and pain Chinese Canadians felt because of the prejudice they faced. Chinese Canadians were told that they were unwanted in Canada and, by keeping the Landing Fee, we are telling people from underdeveloped nations that they too are unwanted.

The Landing Fee is discriminatory because it classifies people into two classes: those who can afford Canada and those who cannot. This selectiveness must stop. Is this the message we wish to convey to new immigrants? To the world? How can we take pride in our cultural and racial diversity when we only accept immigrants from a particular economic background? If Canada is to be truly diverse we need to accept people. All people. To do this we need to eliminate the Landing Fee.

The name may have been changed from "Head Tax" to "Landing Fee" but the facts are the same. Every person who wishes to make Canada his or her home must pay a sum of money per head. (In the case of poor families with multiple children, this often triples the expense of coming to canada.Their solution -- why bother coming at all?) The United States has a fee for service charges associated with becoming an immigrant. For a family of four in the United States, the total fees would amount to $1,580. In Canada, it would be about $3,150 for a family of four.

We hope that you will carefully consider the aforementioned facts before you come to your decision.It is with these signatures that we hope to prove to you how many of us are against this atrocity.

Our numbers will speak for themsleves.

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Janice ArmstrongBy:
Petition target:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper


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