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Canada PM apologizes to LGBTQ community for historical injustices

[JURIST] Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau [official website] issued a formal apology [video] Tuesday for the historic suppression of and discrimination against the country's lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community as well as mentioning economic compensation efforts and new legislation.

During his speech Trudeau apologized for the indiscretions made throughout history toward Canada's LGBTQ+ community: "It is with shame and sorrow and deep regret for the things we have done that I stand here today and say: We were wrong. We apologize. I am sorry. We are sorry."

In addition to Trudeau's formal apology, the Canadian government has earmarked two economic initiatives. First, $100 million Canadian (USD $78 million) will be given to compensate those members of the military or federal employees whose careers ended early due to the so called "gay-purge." The money will be paid out as a settlement to those employees who were wrongly investigated or fired. The agreement remains subject to alterations by both parties and approval by the Federal Court.

The second initiative is the government allocation of $250,000 Canadian toward LGBTQ community service projects and initiatives to combat homophobia within Canadian society.

During the speech Trudeau acknowledged that the House of Commons [official website] tabled a new bill [text], the Expungement of Historically Unjust Convictions Act.

This new law would expunge the records of Canadians who were charged or convicted of crimes for their sexuality in an effort to include a more progressive ideology. The act allocates $110 million Canadian (USD $85.80 million), to the elimination of those criminal records. This act looks to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of decriminalization of homosexual acts occurring in 2019.

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