渥太华中餐馆起源

文/笑言

1904年9月15日,华人谭华钿向市警察局提出申请,罗斯警官(Sergt. Ross)签发了渥太华第一家华人餐馆的营业执照。店名“中国午餐(Chinese Lunch)”,位于奥康纳街(O’Connor St)68号。谭华钿是华人社区知名人士,讲一口流利的英语,此前曾几次到警局担任翻译。

餐馆开业不久就遇到麻烦。10月23日傍晚,三名妇女正在餐桌上点餐,三个男人走了进来。其中一个男人对一名妇女讲粗话,这名妇女马上向业主谭华钿投诉。服务员试图将该男子请出餐馆,却反遭殴打,前额被打破。谭华钿带领三名服务员自卫反击,将三名男子一直追到女王街街角,但行凶男子在警察到来之前逃脱。开业以来,谭华钿一直被一些吃饭不付账并使用欺凌语言的顾客所困扰。当时市中心这个地段的治安状况比较差,事发前一天在餐馆外面刚发生过另一起斗殴事件,人行道上还残留着一些未清除的血迹。

中国国内局势也对渥太华华人产生着影响,立宪派与保皇派一直水火不相容。渥太华多数华人拥护立宪派,当大洋彼岸传来革命的消息时,渥太华的革命派支持者开始了剪辫子行动。1912年1月15日,在一家中国餐馆吃午饭的顾客忽然听到后厨传来激烈的吵闹声,争吵的两名华人很快被人分开,因此这件事当时并未引起人们过多的关注,但到了晚上,事态有了新发展。中午的争执源于一名满清政府的支持者拒绝剪掉自己的辫子,而到了晚上,一大群的“革命者”抓住那名满清支持者,并强行剪掉了他的辫子。这场暴力借助一把硕大的菜刀达到了目的,而这时满清政府还在君主立宪制的框架中统治着中国。

华人开设的小吃店起初只做西餐,小吃店多以“咖啡厅(Café)”为店名,服务对象主要是本地加拿大人。1931年,这样的餐馆有丽都街的波士顿咖啡(Boston Café)、戴豪斯街的首都午餐(Capital Lunch)和皇后大街的豪华餐馆(Deluxe Restaurant)。安大略餐馆(Ontario Restaurant)谭家兄弟最忙碌的一周发生在1939年5月,当时英国国王乔治六世和伊丽莎白王后访问渥太华,国会山附近人山人海,餐馆里人满为患。1943年有蒙特利尔路的博伊尔(Leopold Boyle)、斯巴克思街的卡文迪什咖啡(Cavendish Café)和班克街的阿卡迪亚烧烤(Arcadia Grill),这家由谭锦照的二哥Charles打理的阿卡迪亚烧烤是当时唯一装有空调的中餐馆。1961年有麦克阿瑟街的新味餐馆(New Taste Restaurant)、艾尔根街的新阿斯特咖啡(New Astor Café)等。

差不多两代华人都在为加拿大人烹制西餐,直到接近1940年才开始有餐馆供应粤菜。餐饮业相对于洗衣业可以吸纳更多从业人员,也就为华人提供了更多的就业机会。时光荏苒,餐馆逐步取代洗衣店成为华人社会的主要经济支柱。

很多餐馆转手很快。一个老板经营一段时间,出于不同原因便将店面盘出,而且常常会卖给店里的员工。这种现象至今仍在渥太华中餐馆圈子中重复,一代新移民接过上一代移民的餐馆,继续为社区服务。

早期华人餐馆及店铺大多是下店上居。1940年之前,渥太华中餐馆的主要中餐为杂碎(Chop Suey)。令人难以想象的是,“杂碎”竟然是北美地区中餐馆最著名的一道菜,至今已有一百多年的历史,仍然长盛不衰。杂碎其实就是肉丝炒菜丝,食材大体上包括牛肉丝、猪肉丝或鸡肉丝,配以绿豆芽、芹菜丝、笋丝、青椒丝、洋葱丝和白菜丝等。Chop Suey这个粤语译名登堂入室,进入英文词典。维基百科全书描述“美国中餐烹饪”时指出,美国中餐馆与中国本土的烹饪风格有着很大不同。梁启超1903年游历北美,表示“杂碎”不是地道的中国菜。他在其著述的《新大陆游记》中表示,这道中国菜其实不是给中国人吃的:“然其所谓杂碎者,烹饪殊劣,中国人从无就食者。”

关于这道菜有一个传说。1896年李鸿章游历北美时吃不惯西餐,只能到当地中餐馆进餐。记者向餐馆打听李鸿章吃的是什么饭菜,餐馆老板心想今天是牛肉丝炒菜,昨天是鸡肉丝炒菜,说起来麻烦,便统一回以“杂碎”,于是原本名不见经传的杂碎便打上了李鸿章的烙印。此后,“李鸿章杂碎”名声大噪,风行全美,后来传入加拿大。这有点像加拿大的“千岛湖生菜色拉酱”,厨师情急之下的临时拼凑,无意间便创出世界名牌。

渥太华真正意义上的中餐馆大约出现于1940年前后,两家具有传奇色彩的中餐馆都在市中心的阿尔伯特街开业,一家叫“广东(Canton Inn)”,另一家叫“国泰(Cathay House)”。同期还有谭家的“顶好”与“好好”餐馆,后来又出现了卡林路上的“新乐”与西门购物中心(West Gate mall)对面的“乐其奇(Lucky Key)”等中餐馆。

1947年3月7日,赫尔市布瑞治街上的巴黎咖啡及星咖啡的业主周在彦被裁定罚款50加元,原因是餐价高于定价委员会规定的上限。面对赫尔法院的米勒(Roland Millar)法官,周在彦的律师马瑞尔(Joseph Ste. Marie)指出其代理人为华人,非常可能未能完全理解委员会的规定。他说:“法规用英文与法文印刷,并不是中文。”但法官认为业主没有借口不去理解法规。之前,1943年5月27日,周在彦也以同样理由被罚过一次,那一次的罚款金额是15加元。当然这些罚款都是针对一批餐馆,并不局限于华人中餐馆。

最早开在唐人街上的中餐馆,是1971年关煜彬开的“上海酒楼”。此后,渥太华的中餐馆渐渐多起来,有的在唐人街上,更多的分布在城市的各个角落。

医生传教团队——十九世纪渥太华人在成都

文/笑言

我在撰写渥太华华人早期历史的过程中,曾经注意到渥太华华人联合教会的宣传士,有些是十九世纪末前往中国的加拿大传教士的后代。我很想知道那些人的下落,最好还能找到他们。但苦于年代久远,许多文献中的人物早已离开了人世,而他们的后人更是线索寥寥。

2018年4月20日,在渥太华恒爱宣道会,我终于见到了一位他们的后人,约翰·瑟维斯(John Service)博士。

作者与瑟维斯博士在其父母展板前合影

这次会面缘于渥太华三所华人教会联合举办的“加拿大人在中国图片展”。瑟维斯博士在图片展上接待观众,我参观了60多幅珍贵的历史照片,与瑟维斯博士攀谈了将近一小时。

瑟维斯博士的父母都出生在成都,他们是唯一一个由两家加拿大医生传教士家庭联姻组成的新家庭。瑟维斯博士本人于1946年也出生在成都。两年后,瑟维斯博士被父母带回加拿大。取得博士学位后,瑟维斯博士一直在渥太华从事健康心理方面的工作。多年来他与姐妹及具有相同身世的加拿大人整理收集前辈在成都的历史资料,促成了这此图片展览。

与其他西方传教士不同,加拿大前往中国成都的大多是医生和工程师。他们在成都建立了医院和大学,著名的华西医学院就是这些加拿大人帮助建立的。

资料显示,1892年至1952年,60年间近千名加拿大人放弃了自己优裕的生活,不远万里来到中国,将现代医学和教育知识传播到中国四川。第一批去成都的有Stevenson、James Hall、George Hartwell和 Omar Kilborn夫妇等人。

这些加拿大人于清朝光绪十七年(1891年)从温哥华登船,经一月之久横渡太平洋到达上海。然后从上海乘蒸汽小客轮到宜昌,再换乘木船逆水而上,许多地方需要拉纤越过险滩激浪。走完水路走陆路,人力车、滑杆和步行一一经历,历时数月,终于在1892年5月到达成都。真是蜀道难,难于上青天。

启尔德1867年出生于加拿大首都渥太华西南约100公里的法兰克维尔(Frankville)小镇,相邻还有一座小镇雅典(Athens)。此雅典非彼雅典,众所周知,加拿大包括美国的先驱者经常以世界名城命名自己的城镇。历史上,这个地区远赴中国的医生不少。雅典镇有一位出生于1851年4月17日的李奥诺拉·金(Leonora King)医生。作为内科医生及传教士,她在中国行医47年,是第一位去中国工作的加拿大医生,曾经为李鸿章的夫人看病,居于京津之间。

Kilborn于金斯顿皇后大学获得医学博士,是华西医院和华西医科大学的创办者之一。在成都,他有一个享誉遐迩的中文名字:启尔德。随同启尔德去成都的第一任夫人Jennie Fowler拥有文学博士学位,本想在中国大展宏图,不幸在两个月后染上霍乱,于1892年7月10日卒于成都。两年后,启尔德与另一位医学传教士Retta Gifford(启希贤)在成都结婚。他们育有四个孩子,全部出生在成都。他们的家庭在四川延续了四代,为成都乃至中国的医疗事业做出了巨大贡献。

启尔德夫妇租用民房,在室内率先开办了名为“仁济医院”的西医诊所,开成都现代医学之先河。由于仁爱医院当时只收男患者,启希贤又于1896年建立了“仁济女医院”。医院不仅对传教士、信徒及少数市民开放,还对穷苦百姓“治病不收半文,且资助钱粮。”医院声名鹊起,很快得到了各界人士的认可。本地政府决定给诊所补助1500两黄金。启尔德用这笔资金与1907年开始建造一幢四层的医学大楼,设病床120张,配备了当时最先进的医疗设备。1913年1月30日,大楼正式对外开业行医。

展览会上,一位加拿大原子能公司的华裔科学家认出了同事的父母,因为同事总是跟他提起自己去国中国的数学教授父母。一些华西医科大学的校友也前来参观,并为华西医科大学于2000年并入四川大学而感到惋惜。历史的变迁无法阻挡,华西医科大学本就几经沧桑,其前身为私立华西协和大学,创建于1910年。1953年更名为四川医学院。1985年更名为华西医科大学,2000年更名为四川大学华西医学中心。但是不论校名如何更改,加拿大人建立这所大学是历史的事实,他们对成都对医学的贡献不可磨灭。

约翰·瑟维斯博士带我观看了一些图片介绍,包括传播医学、教育和工程科学的加拿大人。瑟维斯一家是一个医学世家,从他的祖父祖母、外祖父外祖母开始,他们家就在成都这片土地上生活和工作。约翰的父亲威廉姆和母亲诺玛都出生在成都,同在华西协和大学的子弟学校“加拿大人学校”读书,同返加拿大在多伦多大学读书。威廉姆毕业成为外科医生,诺玛毕业成为社会工作者。1929年,约翰的祖父逝于成都。13年后,约翰的父亲威廉姆来到华西医科大学继续其父的事业。1945年,威廉姆被指派为中国战时临时首都重庆仁济医院的院长(superintendent),他同时还担任国际救援会主席。

图片展中这些加拿大人类似的故事还有很多。约翰·瑟维斯博士表示很想了解华西医科大学最初那些中国学生毕业后的情况。我建议他与校方联系,或许不久的将来,这个图片展的规模会扩大很多。

About writing history of Ottawa Chinese

By Jeff Wang (笑言)

At the beginning of 2015, I was encouraged by the Ottawa Chinese community media CFC News to write about the history of Ottawa Chinese. It challenges my knowledge and the time that can be spent on writing since I currently have full time engagement. But I decided to take on this opportunity with no hesitation.

Personally I am eager to learn this history myself as a Chinese writer who lives in Canada for about two decades. It surprised me that so many people, Chinese and Canadians, lend their hands to help me out with this project.

The first clue came as the lonely grave of Tom Chu which is located in Kemptville. Mr. Shubang Chou emailed me about the story first then I searched Internet and found an article in Mr. Martin Gregory’s blog. In about a week, I was so fortunate being able to have contacted Martin and the two followers who contributed valuable comments. Earleen and Anneke provided more detailed information and made great suggestions. Anneke even offered me to go together with them to Kemptville next spring to visit Tom’s grave and adjacent Dairy Barn’s owner Maria. This story has been written into my book as a section which has been separately published in CFC News Weekly in the language of Chinese.

On February 19, coincidentally the day of Chinese New Year, I met with Mr. Shubang Chou in person at the food court in Gloucester Center. Shubang had an amazing memory and great observation. In the two hours we were chatting there without a pause, he narrated the history back to 1913 when Mr Joe Shung came to Ottawa and those that were already buried in the Beechwood Cemetery. He would introduce me to interview Joe’s son, Mr. Anqiang Chou and his wife who own the Cathy House restaurant and other business in Ottawa. Shubang used to be one of the directors in Ottawa Chinese United Church so he mentioned the history of the church too. In his words, “Chinese churches and communities grew up together.”

With the materials Shubang provided, I learned that the earliest Chinese school in a room at Sparks Street dated back to 1903. This Chinese school related to the Sunday School which turned into Ottawa Chinese United Church in 1962.

The CFC News Weekly posted a notice today to collect the materials and clues from the local Chinese community. Delightfully, this project has received so much support from variously resources. I’m really grateful and looking forward to the completion of this book

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Tom Chu’s Lonely Grave

Yesterday afternoon, after a golf tournament at eQuinelle Golf Course, I drove about 5 minutes south to visit Tom Chu’s lonely grave located at Kemptville.

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It was very easy to find the tomb which was located right behind the Dairy Barn. There were pretty artificial flowers in a basket and a broken pot in font of the tomb stone. I took some pictures and measured the distance between Tom’s grave and the edge of whole cemetery by steps, 44 in total. I remember when first person told me the story the distance was about 100 meters. I noticed that there were many new tombs in the cemetery. The gap was getting smaller and smaller over 67 years after Tom died.

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Mary, the owner of Dairy Barn, happened to walk out of the door with a broomstick. I greeted her and had a brief talk. It was her that put flowers to Tom. Unfortunately, she didn’t know anything more about Tom’s background and anybody who might have known of. She’s so kind to take care of Tom’s tomb. I asked if she agreed to have a photo in my book. She said that she didn’t want to have her photo taken for public. The words above the pointing hands were not easy to identify. I tried my best. leeniedevinity may figure them out.

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Effort of Ottawa Chinese during the Time of the Chinese Exclusion Act

By Jeff Wang ( 笑言)

I was honored being a panel speaker at the event to mark the 70th Anniversary of the Repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act on May 9, 2017.  Senator Lillian Dyck, Senator Victor Oh and Senator Yuen Pau Woo co-hosted this event at Wellington Building of Parliament Hill. Below is my remarks at the event.

Background
In 1923, the Chinese immigration act was passed in order to limit Chinese immigration more strictly. The act narrowly defined the acceptable categories of Chinese immigrants.

In 1915, the Chinese Consul Yang Shuwen (杨书雯) presented to the Canadian government a “gentlemen’s agreement” that was similar to the Canada-Japan gentlemen’s agreement, but it was not taken seriously or simply ignored due to China’s poverty and low international status.

During the summer of 1922, the Canadian government was negotiating a new treaty with China. Chinese communities across Canada, with the encouragement of Chinese Consul-General Zhou Qilian, organized a petition to the Canadian government requesting that the new Canada-China treaty accommodated Chinese views.

“Humiliation Day”
The Chinese Exclusion Act passed into law on July 1st, 1923, coinciding with the Dominion Day of Canadian Confederation. The Chinese community referred to this day as “Humiliation Day” and refused to participate in Dominion Day celebrations for many years to come.

Story of Joe’s Family – The last lucky person
Mr. Bill Joe is well known in Ottawa Chinese community, not only because of his success in business but also because of his legendary family history in Ottawa. Bill’s father Shung Joe (周相) opened Joe’s Laundry & Cleaners at Slater Street sometime between 1915 and 1916. In 1919, he went back to China and married Kai-voon Zhang (张启云). However, she could not return with him to Canada and had to remain in Guangdong because the voyage was quite expensive. After a great effort, Mrs. Joe became the last lucky Chinese to arrive in Ottawa in 1922 just before the act took effect.

The Beechwood Cemetery and the Chinese Benevolent Association
At 1920s, if it was affordable, Chinese wished to have their bodies sent back to China after they passed away. When Chinese Exclusion Act was in force, the number of Chinese families and clans decreased. More and more Chinese died alone without money to be carried back to China or even buried locally. Ottawa Chinese united together and helped each other. In 1925, the brothers Hum, Shung Joe and Sue Wong etc. raised funds to designate an area at Beechwood Cemetery as a Chinese section. Twelve years later, in 1937, upon the outbreak of war in China against the Japanese, which cut off civilian transportation across the Pacific Ocean, the Chinese community made a second major purchase at Beechwood of another 50 lots.

When I visited the area in 2015, there were around a hundred Chinese graves. In Chinese tradition, people are buried in small mounds with a standing tombstone at the front. These graves were, however, underground and all tombstones were also set flat on the ground. The tombstones were so close to each other that I would have thought that they were step stones at first glance.

In 1993, the Ottawa Chinese community raised funds and built up a memorial pavilion at Beechwood, called Huaiyuan Ting (怀远亭).

Supporting the War against Japan
Of all the periods in the history of Canada’s Chinese, the decade of 1937-1947 was the most exciting and momentous. It was the time when the Chinese communities in Canada also achieved the greatest unity they had ever had.

Fund raising activities were widely and intensively spread in Ottawa and the surrounding areas. In 1940, the Chinese government issued state-owned bonds. Ottawa Chinese responded positively, Mrs. Susan Lee and Mr. Bill Joe showed me the bonds that they have kept until today.

On November 18, 1941, the Chinese Government formally signed an agreement with the Canadian government to elevate the diplomatic relations between the two countries from the consular level to the ambassador level. Mr. Liu Shishun (刘师舜) was appointed as the first ambassador from China to Canada. He worked very hard to build a positive image of China by giving public speeches and meeting all levels of Canadians.

Stories about the Flying Tigers
Apart from various fund raising, some Chinese directly returned China to join the Chinese army in the frontline. Some of them lost their lives in their motherland.

A Chinese Canadian, Dan Wong married Mary Fong from Ottawa and ran a business between Montreal and Ottawa. Around 1943, he bought an airplane and flew back China to join the Flying Tigers of the Chinese Air Force. Joe Hum, a former president of the Ottawa Chinese Community Association, mentioned in his memoir Albert and Cederic Mah, his brothers-in-law. The brothers also joined the Flying Tigers and left many stories in history, especially about the famous “hump route”.

The First Lady of China visited Canada
On February 17, 1943, the First Lady of the Republic of China, Mrs. Chiang also known as Madame Song Meiling, was invited by US President Franklin Roosevelt to visit the White House. Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King made a special trip to New York and invited her to visit Canada too. On June 14 of the same year, Mrs. Chiang travelled from New York to Ottawa for a three-day visit. She gave a speech at Canada’s Parliament Hill.

Repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act
During the Second World War, Canada and China became allies. This linked the support of Canada’s Chinese for both China and Canada. This wartime united effort significantly improved White Canadian attitudes towards Chinese Canadians.

Back in the 1880s, Chinese laborers made great contribution to the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR). In the subsequent decades, although the Chinese were restricted to working in the very limited business and services, the importance of their contributions still gained the recognition from Canadians. Chinese in Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa and other places repeatedly called on the federal government to repeal the unreasonable act.

On May 14, 1947, the Canadian government finally repealed the Chinese Exclusion Act. A huge celebration took place everywhere in Chinese communities across Canada. Thousands of Chinese family reunions happened in the following years. Twenty four years of suffering were finally ended. Nowadays, after the great effort made by generations of Chinese in Canada, the Chinese have gained all the same rights as all other Canadians have. We must be grateful to the pioneer Chinese generations and we must also be grateful to the Canadians who have supported this redress movement.

我在加拿大国会讲老移民的故事

文/笑言

1923年至1947年,加拿大历史上的排华法案造成无数加拿大华人家庭被阻隔在太平洋两岸长达24年之久。曾经有老华人满腔愤懑地说,24年在加拿大连死刑犯都从监狱里放出来了。

这样一个特别针对华人的歧视性法案,经过几代加拿大华人的不懈努力,终于在1947年5月14日被加拿大政府废除了。2017年,是加拿大建立联邦国家150周年,是一个喜庆祥和的年份。而这一年,又恰逢加拿大政府废除排华法案70周年。

加拿大参议院胡子修参议员(Senator Oh,安省)、迪克参议员(Senator Lillian Dyck,萨省,华裔)和胡元豹参议员(Senator Yuen Paul Woo,BC省)在渥太华国会山共同主办了纪念废除排华法案70周年的活动。

2017年3月29日中午12时,我依约前往加拿大国会参议院拜会胡子修参议员。进入参议院所在的维多利亚大厦需要经过严格的安检,其严格程度比机场安检有过之而无不及。

胡参议员的朱助理下楼来迎接我,她站在电梯前并不急着上楼,而是笑笑说,抱歉我们要在这里稍稍停留一下,胡参议员一直在忙,让他趁这个机会赶紧吃两口东西吧。等我们上了二楼,宾主落座之后,胡参议员开始讲中文,朱女士在一旁不时加入对话,也开始讲中文。

围绕排华法案的出台与废除,我向参议员介绍了我所了解的有关渥太华华人在排华法案实行期间的整体生存状态,以及我采访过的一些老华侨。谈话进行得非常顺畅,不知不觉就过了45分钟。我感谢胡参议员举办这样有意义的活动,胡参议员说,就是要让更多的人了解华人曾经遭受的不公正待遇,更重要的是,要让人们了解华人对加拿大所作出的巨大贡献。胡参议员接下来还约了参加活动的另一位主讲人,我适时告辞了。据朱助理讲,胡参议员的日程非常满,基本上每天从早八点到晚八点都有安排,所以能抽出一小时时间会见我实属不易。

我之所以能够进入胡子修参议员办公室的视野,是由于我近几年重点研究渥太华的华人历史,并走访老华侨,实地凭吊先驱,发表了一系列专题文章。这些文章受CFC中文传媒张瑞文先生资助,在他旗下的《新华侨报》上连载了两年。

纪念活动将于2017年5月9日晚由参议院在加拿大国会举办。我有幸成为被选中的五位主讲人(Panel speaker)之一。

5月9日早上忽然收到胡参议员助理的邮件,邀请我们这些主讲人与胡参议员共进午餐,并列席参议院会议,听取胡参议员有关纪念废除排华法案的一个动议。我按时赶往国会大厦,去见证这个重要的历史时刻。

由左至右:Robert Yip, Susan Eng, Claude Joli-Coeur, Keith Wong, Jeff Wang(作者), Yew Lee, Senator Oh, Avvy Yao-Yao Go, Amy Go

午餐在国会大厦西翼的国会餐厅(Parliamentary Restaurant )举行,据说在这里一不留神就能碰到帅哥总理贾斯汀•特鲁多,可惜我们没有那么好的运气。

共进午餐的都是长期从事争取在加华人利益的资深人士,好几位由多伦多赶来。虽然此前未曾谋面,但在查阅资料、看历史视频时,这些名字和面孔是熟悉的。坐在我斜对面的Yew Lee在Karen Cho拍摄的记录片《金山阴影之下》中是主要讲述人之一。

参议院的工作流程安排得非常紧凑,是按分钟计算的。胡子修参议员非常照顾我们,带领我们在会前进入空着的会议厅参观并合影留念。

这里是国家元首与议院共商国是的地方,深红色的地毯、座椅与金箔铺成的天花板营造出富丽堂皇的氛围。因此参议院会议厅也称为红厅(Red Chamber),而众议院的主色调为绿色,被称为绿厅(Green Chamber),相应地,参议院也称为红院,众议院也称为绿院。

抓紧时间在红厅与Yew Lee互相拍张纪念照,机会难得。

会议两点开始。同样是进入刚才参观过的红厅,因为有了参议员开会,所以还要再经过一次更加严格的安检,这次手机不允许带入,必须寄存。安检之后,我们坐在走廊里的长椅上,等待着轮到我们进入的时间。走廊中大约提前一刻钟就一直在回响着沉稳的钟声,提醒即将开始的参议员会议。

我们获准进入的是楼上的座位,楼下正中高椅上坐的是议长,他右手边一侧是当政的自由党参议员,左手边是保守党等在野党参议员。胡子修参议员坐在保守党议员一边。金光闪闪象征立法权威的权杖垫着红色天鹅绒衬垫放在桌上。我们进去时,一位自由党参议员在表彰加拿大空军。正说到兴起处,议长提醒时间到了,会议室内一片轻笑,大家都知道议长的作用主要就是看时间。这位参议员干脆得很,直接说了一句谢谢就坐下不说话了。

接下来胡子修参议员提出动议,提到我们列席时,我们一同起立表示敬意并接受掌声。胡参议员简单讲述了排华法案的历史情况,表彰几位争取加拿大华人权益的人士,他念出了我们的名字。不出所料,他的讲话也被议长打断提醒时间要到了,胡参议员加快语速多说了几句,便有议员拍桌面起哄。拍桌声、起哄声和笑声混在一起,完全是电视中常见的经典场景。胡参议员在他当晚的推特中说:Today, I recognized various activists who successfully lobbied the Government to apologize for Canada’s anti-Chinese immigration policies.

胡参议员的动议完成后,会议继续下面的议题,而我们则轻手轻脚从会议室鱼贯退出。胡参议员在和平塔下国会大厦的正门前与我们再次合影。

期待已久的纪念废除排华法案70周年的活动当晚在国会众议院的威灵顿大楼330号会议厅举行。照例又是一通安检。说来也幸运,这一次活动让我走遍了国会山主建筑、参议院大厦和众议院大厦。

纪念会现场,加拿大国旗刚好在我名牌的旁边。

胡子修参议员致辞。

会议开始时,主持人宣读了加拿大第一位亚裔参议员利德蕙女士(Vivienne Poy)致这次活动的一封信。随后胡子修、迪克与胡元豹三位参议员分别致辞,希望人们永远记住加拿大历史上那段排华的黑暗日子。

我是第五个也是最后一个主题发言人。题目是Effort of Ottawa Chinese during the Time of the Chinese Exclusion Act(渥太华华人在排华法案期间的努力)。我讲了第一位来到渥太华的华人,讲了最初的五个华人家庭,讲了华人墓园的来龙去脉,讲了宋美龄访问加拿大,讲了渥太华华人在二战时回国参加飞虎队的英雄事迹……

会后胡参议员召集与会者合影,他说,我们不可能70年后再相聚,现在就要留个纪念。

加拿大政府废除排华法案已经70周年了,但有关华人的那段苦难史却很少有加拿大人知道。即便在加拿大这样一个多元化的国家,教科书里也没有这样的内容,从政的华人至今尚未有人进入内阁。加拿大华人要成为这个国家的中坚力量还有很长的路要走。

一百多年来,加拿大华人在不断争取自己正当权益的同时,也为这个国家做出了不可磨灭的贡献。多元文化并存下的加拿大人逐渐将自己的家园建设成现在这个美丽平等自由的国度。国会山前的坛火日夜长燃,永不熄灭,与坛火共存的,是源源不断的流水。加拿大,一个具有强大生命力与广泛包容度的国家。