Prime Minister Brian Mulroney formally apologized Thursday for the internment of 22,000 Japanese-Canadians following Japan's 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II.
Mulroney said the Canadian government would provide $288 million in compensation to the 12,000 survivors.Most of that money - $252 million - will be given in $21,000 payments to each of the survivors. The remainder will go to the Japanese-Canadian community for educational, social and cultural activities and to finance a new Canadian Race Relations Foundation.
"No amount of money can right the wrong, undo the harm and heal the wounds," Mulroney told parliament as representatives of the Japanese-Canadian community watched, then stood and applauded from the public gallery.
"But it is symbolic of our determination to address this issue, not only in the moral sense, but also in a tangible way," Mulroney said.
The Canadian leader said the internment was not only unjustified on moral and legal grounds, but "it went against the grain of the country itself."
"Error is an ingredient of humanity," Mulroney said solemnly. "So, too, is apology and forgiveness."
Japanese-Canadians were interned following the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. Property was seized and 22,000, including 17,000 citizens, were relocated or interned on the Canadian Prairies or in Northern Ontario camps.