VICTORIA - British Columbia formally apologized today to the Japanese-Canadian community for the internment of thousands of people during the Second World War.

Members of the B.C. legislature voted to apologize for actions taken 70 years ago that saw 22,000 Japanese-Canadians placed in internment camps in British Columbia and across Western Canada.

The federal government apologized to Japanese Canadians in 1988, but today was the first time the province formally apologized and acknowledged that Japanese-Canadians were discriminated against simply because they were of Japanese descent.

North Vancouver-Lonsdale Liberal Naomi Yamamoto introduced the apology, saying the internment of Japanese-Canadians during the Second World War was unjust and contrary to British Columbia's core values.

Yamamoto, the first Canadian of Japanese descent elected to the B.C. legislature and the child of internment parents, paid tribute to her 85-year-old father Mas Yamamoto, who was seated in the legislature for the apology.

Seventy-seven-year-old Tosh Suzuki says he was elated with the apology, saying his family spent nine years in Manitoba after being displaced from its Pitt Meadows berry farm.