Minister of Canadian Heritage’s message on anniversary of Komagata Maru incident

Minister of Canadian Heritage's message on anniversary of Komagata Maru incident

Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage released the following statement on anniversary of Komagata Maru incident.

“This year marks the 104th anniversary of the Komagata Maru incident, a dark chapter in Canada’s history.

On May 23, 1914, the Komagata Maru steamship arrived in Vancouver’s Burrard Inlet with 376 passengers of the Sikh, Muslim and Hindu faiths, who had hoped to make Canada their new home. Because of immigration policies at the time, most of the passengers were refused entry and detained on board. Following a two-month standoff between immigration officials and the passengers, the ship was forced to return to India, where some of them were killed and many others imprisoned.

In 2016, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a formal apology in the House of Commons for the Government of Canada’s role in the Komagata Maru incident, acknowledging the pain and suffering of the victims and taking responsibility for the cruel and discriminatory immigration laws.

This year, as we mark the 30th anniversary of the Canadian Multiculturalism Act—a milestone in Canadian diversity, one of our country’s greatest strengths, we must also remember this dark chapter in Canadian history and the tragedy that can result from prejudice and discrimination.

Every year, thousands of people from all over the world choose to settle in Canada and are warmly welcomed by a dynamic, inclusive and open country. The memory of the Komagata Maru shows us the path we have travelled since 1914, reaffirms our commitment to fighting discrimination wherever it is encountered, and reminds us that Canada is made stronger by our diversity and spirit of openness.”