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By IBTimes Staff Reporter | February 18, 2013 2:49 AM PST

More than 50,000 people, including Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese, Sunday gathered on the streets of Chinatown in Vancouver to witness the Chinese New Year parade.

China's official Xinhua news agency reported that more than 3,000 people participated in the parade.

Despite the cold climate, officials and politicians from the federal, provincial and municipal government, including British Columbia premier Christy Clark and Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, attended the parade.

Speaking at the parade, James Moore, the federal minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, said that Chinese people in Canada had contributed a lot to the growth and prosperity of Canadian government.

Al Campbell, a Vancouver-based reporter of Xinhua, noted that the minister especially acknowledged that the early Chinese settlers built the railroad that "contributed to the country's 1867 confederation."

Lion dances and fire crackers were the centre stages at the parade, according to Vancouver Sun.

On Feb 8, Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a video message wishing the Chinese people in Canada and China.

"On behalf of Laureen and our family, I would like to extend our best wishes to those celebrating Chinese New Year in Canada and around the world this Sunday," said Stephen Harper in a statement.

While wishing New Year, the Canadian prime minister acknowledged the presence of Chinese culture and the contributions made by Chinese-Canadians to the country.

"The many fireworks and parades marking this special occasion always remind me of how alive and well the vibrant Chinese culture is in our country. It also reminds us of the enormous contributions by Chinese Canadians to build the great nation we have today," said Harper.

The Canadian government last December backed up the handover of the Calgary-based global oil and gas company Nexen ($15.1 billion deal) to the state owned Chinese company CNOOC.

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