Petition to the Minister of Finance
The Bank of Canada is undertaking a redesign of the $5 Canadian banknote;
Won Alexander Cumyow is among the shortlist of eight candidates for selection as the next face of the $5 banknote;
The Minister of Finance will make the final decision, in accordance with the Bank of Canada Act;
While Won Alexander Cumyow may not be a household name to many Canadians, his story represents the struggle, opportunity, and hope that has shaped the Canadian identity;
Mr. Won was the first Chinese-Canadian to be born in present-day Canada;
Mr. Won faced systemic racism and discrimination throughout his life. Despite being formally trained as a lawyer, Mr. Won was denied the ability to write the bar exam and practice law because he was ethnic Chinese;
Despite adversity, Mr. Won would go on to lead a long and distinguished career as a court interpreter and become a leader of the early Chinese-Canadian community;
Mr. Won was at the forefront in the fight against the Chinese Head Tax, disenfranchisement of Chinese Canadians, and racial segregation. After decades fighting for the right to vote, Won Cumyow was finally able to cast his ballot in 1949, at age 88, following the repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1947;
This is an important opportunity to showcase to Canadians, newcomers to Canada, and the entire world the rich history of Canada's immigrant heritage - heritage that formed the foundation of our country and which is woven into the fabric of our society today; and
A root cause of anti-Asian racism in Canada is a lack of understanding and appreciation for the contributions of Asian-Canadians throughout our country's history.
We, the undersigned residents of Canada, call upon the Minister of Finance to select Won Alexander Cumyow to be featured as the face on the redesigned five dollar Canadian banknote.