B.C. to offer Chinese head tax apology in all-party ceremony at legislature

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VICTORIA - Premier Christy Clark's Liberal government is set to offer an all-party apology to Chinese Canadians in the British Columbia legislature tomorrow for the Chinese head tax implemented almost 150 years ago.

The apology, endorsed by Clark's Liberals, Opposition New Democrats and the Green party and Independent members of the legislature, dates back to B.C. and Canadian government policies targeting Chinese immigrants from 1872 to 1947.

The apology was set to be introduced last year, but the Liberals delayed the plan due to a political scandal involving misuse of government resources and plans to manipulate ethnic votes through public apologies for long-standing historic wrongs.

A draft copy of last year's apology listed more than four dozen government acts used to discriminate against the Chinese and apologized for "racist and discriminatory resolutions and acts."

Liberal MLA Richard Lee says the apology includes promises of legacy projects for the Chinese-Canadian community, but he would not comment on financial compensation.

Chinese-Canadian activists say the federal government collected a total of $23 million from the head tax levies, of which about $8.5 million was transferred back to B.C., which they say converts to about $1 billion today.

Lee says the final wording of the apology has been approved by all political parties and Independent members in the legislature. He said he expects support from the Chinese-Canada community for the apology.

Organizations: Clark's

Geographic location: VICTORIA, British Columbia, Canada

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