Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will offer a full apology in Parliament next month for a decision by the government in 1914 to turn away a ship carrying South Asian immigrants.
This year marks the 102nd anniversary of the Komagata Maru incident. On May 23, 1914 a crowded ship arrived off Vancouver from Hong Kong, only to have nearly all of its 376 passengers denied entry.
Most of the passengers were of Sikh descent, as well as some Muslims and Hindus.
All of the passengers were British subjects.
After being held in Burrard Inlet for two months, the ship was eventually forced to sail back to India where at least 19 people died in a skirmish with British soldiers. Many others were imprisoned.
Trudeau made the announcement at Vaisakhi on the Hill. He will make the apology in the House of Commons on May 18th.
“As a nation, we should never forget the prejudice suffered by the Sikh community at the hands of the Canadian government of the day. We should not – and we will not.”
Long awaited moment for many descendants
“This is great news.”
That is the voice of Jaswinder Toor of the Descendants of Komagata Maru Society, who says they’ve been working on this for the past 15 years.
“Finally today it is great news that our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that May 18th they will issue an official apology in the House of Commons.”
Former prime minister Stephen Harper apologized for the incident in 2008 at an event in B.C., but the Sikh community has long said an apology should be offered formally in Parliament.
Next month, I will rise in the House to offer an apology to Sikhs for the Komagata Maru incident. Details: https://t.co/7ijo9WgnZu— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) April 11, 2016
Great to be at Vaisakhi on the Hill today! I’m proud to celebrate the remarkable contributions of Sikh Canadians. pic.twitter.com/6nzXkvaOMl— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) April 11, 2016