Trudeau delivers formal Komagata Maru apology in House of Commons

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is applauded as he formally apologizes for a 1914 government decision that barred most of the passengers of the Komagata Maru from entering Canada, in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, May 18, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

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

ChristyClarkKomagataapologyBritish 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.