B.C. apologizes for past discriminatory policies towards Chinese Canadians

VICTORIA - British Columbia has formally apologized more than after 140 years of discriminatory and racist policies directed towards Chinese immigrants, including the Chinese head tax.

Premier Christy Clark made the apology in the legislature, saying B.C. expresses its sorrow and regret for historical government practices once considered appropriate, but now viewed as unacceptable, intolerable racist discrimination.

She says she believes the all-party apology can bring closure to a dark period in B.C.'s history and on behalf of all British Columbians and all members in the legislature, "we sincerely apologize for the provincial government's historical wrongs."

The official apology motion introduced by Clark says the legislature apologizes for more than 100 laws, regulations and policies imposed by past B.C. governments that discriminated against people of Chinese descent since the province entered confederation in 1871.

The apology, which does not include an offer of compensation, says the laws and polices denied B.C. Chinese communities basic human rights, including the right to vote, hold public office or own property.

In 2006, the federal government offered an apology for the head tax imposed on Chinese immigrants and included $20,000 in compensation for families or surviving people who paid the tax.

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