It was over 100 years ago that Canada turned away a ship carrying hundreds of people seeking a new life in this country.
Today Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a formal apology for the country’s refusal to allow 376 Sikh, Muslim and Hindu people aboard the Komagata Maru to enter Canada.
They arrived 102 years ago off the B.C. coast but officials forced the ship to go back to India.
Trudeau stood in Parliament and said “we are sorry” for that decision which played a role in the eventual deaths of 19 people and imprisonment of dozens others.
While saying Canada cannot be solely blamed for the incident, the government was responsible for the laws that prevented passengers from immigrating here.
“Canada’s Government was without question responsible for the laws that prevented these passengers from immigrating peacefully and securely, and for that we are sorry.”
The apology comes after the B.C. Legislature issued its own apology in May of 2008.
Today, the Government of Canada offers its sincere apology for the 1914 Komagata Maru incident. pic.twitter.com/JKM9fRM6Dn
— CanadianPM (@CanadianPM) May 18, 2016