The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today delivered a formal statement of apology in the House of Commons for the Komagata Maru incident.
On May 23, 1914, a steamship arrived in Vancouver carrying 376 passengers who had hopes for a new life in Canada. After a long journey from India, the majority of the passengers – who were of Sikh, Muslim, and Hindu origin – were denied entry into Canada due to the laws in existence at the time.
The Prime Minister delivered a formal apology in front of descendants of those directly affected by the incident “The Komagata Maru incident is a stain on Canada’s past,” Trudeau said. He emphasized that Canada’s rich diversity is a source of strength for our country and reaffirmed the government’s commitment to upholding the values – including multiculturalism – enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
British Columbia Premier Christy Clark attended the official ceremony. “The Komagata Maru is an important part of both Canada’s and British Columbia’s history that we must never forget. In our great province and country, it is vital to remain steadfast in our goal to create an inclusive environment for all cultures that celebrates diversity and refuses to tolerate racism and hatred,” she said in an official statement. British Columbia issued a formal apology for the incident in 2008.