British Columbia legislature officially apologizes to Chinese Canadians for historical wrongs

Chinese CanadiansON Thursday, in the B.C. Legislature, the House unanimously passed the apology motion for historical wrongs against British Columbia’s Chinese Canadian community.

“We can’t undo the actions of the past – but we can acknowledge them, apologize, and learn from them,” said Premier Christy Clark. “Today, we rightly recognize and celebrate cultural diversity – and that’s why all sides of the legislature were able to come together to offer our deepest regrets to members of the Chinese community for historic wrongs.”

The B.C. government was determined that the formal apology be done properly, and that meant working with all parties. The Province appreciates the input and support of all members of the legislative assembly for making today a reality.

The apology motion follows an extensive three-month consultation process led by Teresa Wat, Minister Responsible for Multiculturalism. More than 1,300 people attended a series of seven forums throughout the province between November 2013 and January 2014.

“Today is an important day in our province’s history. Today’s apology is an essential first step towards reconciliation,” said John Horgan, Leader of the Official Opposition. “True reconciliation will not occur immediately, but will take focused, sincere and sustained efforts.”

As part of the formal apology, government released a consultation summary entitled “Chinese Historical Wrongs Consultation Final Report and Recommendations.” The final report lays the foundation for ongoing educational and legacy initiatives, and reflects the broad consensus of participants. Government has accepted all of the report’s recommendations.

The B.C. government believes that a rich multicultural society helps nurture acceptance, understanding and mutual respect. Cultural diversity, increased participation and engagement by all cultures are vitally important to create a strong and vibrant social and economic future for British Columbia.