New Canadian Media

THE World Sikh Organization of Canada welcomed Wednesday’s apology by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on behalf of the Canadian government for its decision in 1914 to refuse entry to the Komagata Maru. The ship, carrying 376 mostly Sikh passengers from Punjab was turned away after two months of being refused entry at the Vancouver ports. […]

Indo-Canadian Voice

Read Full Article

Published in Top Stories

by Samaah Jaffer in Vancouver

Nearly two years after the 100 year anniversary of the Komagata Maru arriving in the Burrard Inlet, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will offer an official apology in the House of Commons on May 18 for Canada’s discriminatory conduct in turning away over 300 potential immigrants.

The Komagata Maru was a chartered Japanese steamship that sailed from Hong Kong to Vancouver with 376 passengers, most being immigrants from the province of Punjab, India. For two months, the ship was not allowed to dock and the passengers were not allowed to disembark.

Eventually, only 24 returning residents were allowed onto Vancouver’s shores. The rest were turned away for failure to arrive in Canada by way of a “continuous passage.” The Continuous Passage Act was passed in 1908 in response to a slow increase of immigration from India, which was referred to as “the Indian invasion” or “the Hindu invasion,” and remained in effect until 1947.

When the Komagata Maru returned to Budge Budge, India, 19 of the passengers were shot to death.

Apologies from the government

In the week leading up to the annual Sikh celebration of Vaisaki — a commemoration of the birth of the Khalsa and the spring harvest — Trudeau announced that he would be offering an official apology for the incident in Parliament on May 18.

"The passengers of the Komagata Maru, like millions of immigrants to Canada since, were seeking refuge, and better lives for their families,” said Trudeau. “With so much to contribute to their new home, they chose Canada and we failed them utterly.”

The Professor Mohan Singh Memorial Foundation, nonpartisan advocacy organization based in British Columbia, has been actively petitioning the federal government for an official apology since 2002.

When the Komagata Maru returned to Budge Budge, India, 19 of the passengers were shot to death.

Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered an apology for the incident in 2008 at a gathering in Surrey, BC. However, many members of the audience immediately expressed that the informal gesture was inadequate. The secretary of state for Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity at the time, Jason Kenny, was accompanying the Prime Minister and stated, "The apology has been given and it won't be repeated."

Vancouver-based activist Manveer Singh believes Harper’s apology “did not deliver justice, as it did not acknowledge the fact that the event happened as a result of the racist attitudes in Canada's federal and provincial legislative houses.”

Significance of the apology

“The significance of this apology is one of closure and one of accountability. There seems to be an idea — a myth — that Canada's formative years were set on concepts of equality and oneness, when the reality is that there was rampant discrimination in place,” explained Singh.

“This apology will be a step towards mending Canada's race relations, because we do still have problems with racism. However, the apology itself is only words if we do not address the racism that still occurs today.”

His sentiments were echoed by Naveen Girn, cultural researcher and digitization specialist of the Komagata Maru Memorial Project at the Simon Fraser University Library, and curator of a number of other commemorative exhibitions around Metro Vancouver. Girn said to the Globe and Mail, “The apology being given in Parliament is a circling back to rectify that original wrong,” referring to the discriminatory laws passed in Parliament.

Manveer Singh believes Harper’s apology “did not deliver justice."

Girn expressed that he hopes Trudeau’s statement addresses the history of wrongdoing against South Asians in Canada, and pointed to the “living legacy” of the Komagata Maru in relation to the lack of security offered for temporary foreign workers today.

Professor of Cinema and Media Arts at York University, Ali Kazimi, believes Prime Minister Trudeau’s apology needs to thoroughly address and recognize Canada’s history of systemic racism, not simply as a “closed chapter.”

Kazimi, who produced “Continuous Journey,” a film about the Komagata Maru, and subsequently authored “Undesirables: White Canada and the Komagata Maru,” told The Star the apology should recognize that “that Canada for the first 100 years of its existence had what was effectively a ‘White Canada’ policy.”

“Trauma and pain are passed down generation to generation,” added Singh, who believes further to the apology, the immediate family members of Komagata Maru survivors should be given reparations.

Commemorating the Komagata Maru

Coinciding with the Prime Minister’s official apology on Wednesday, Carleton University’s Canada-India Centre for Excellence will be hosting the grand opening of the Komagata Maru Exhibition.

Through the depiction of the plight of the passengers, the exhibit attempts to represent “a quest for truth and justice.”

“This apology will be a step towards mending Canada's race relations, because we do still have problems with racism."

On May 23, Girn will be hosting the annual Komagata Anniversary Maru Walking Tour, which enables participants, accompanied historians, artists, and community members, to learn about the incident by visiting historical landmarks in downtown Vancouver.

Simon Fraser University, which developed and launched an interactive digital archive for the one-hundredth anniversary of the Komagata Maru, will also be opening the doors of its Surrey campus to the community for a live webcast of the Prime Minister’s apology.

This content was developed exclusively for New Canadian Media and can be re-published with appropriate attribution. For syndication rights, please write to publisher@newcanadianmedia.ca

Published in History

SURREY – Lower Mainlan’s Sikh Societies have come to the support of those who have been devastated by the wild fires in Fort McMurray, Alberta, where all 80,000 inhabitants have been evacuated from their homes and some neighbourhoods have been completely destroyed.

The Sikh Community, who has a history of helping people in need across the world, is praying for their strength, aid, and healing for the all those that have been and continue to be displaced and affected by these terrible events.

The Link

Read Full Article

Published in Top Stories

   “What was once a dream has become reality for my children” – Councillor Gurpreet Dhillon  

HE City of Brampton hosted its second annual Sikh Heritage Month reception on Tuesday. This year, four outstanding citizens were honoured for their contributions to Brampton and the Sikh community. “It is always an honour to celebrate Sikh Heritage […]

 

Indo-Canadian Voice

Read Full Article

Published in Arts & Culture

SURREY’S annual Vaisakhi Parade, taking place on Saturday, April 23, will once again host a lively and celebratory event to mark the birth of the Sikh faith and is expected to draw in excess of 250,000 people to the community to celebrate and enjoy one of the most important elements of the annual event, […]

-- Delivered by Feed43 service

Indo-Canadian Voice

Read Full Article

Published in Arts & Culture

Human Rights advocate and senior Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Harvinder Singh Phoolka, who has been fighting to secure justice for the next of kin of Sikhs killed in Delhi massacre n 1984, said that he had been purposely targeted by certain pro-Khalistan groups while visiting Canada this week. Phoolka will be honored by members [...]

-- Delivered by Feed43 service

The Link

Read Full Article

Published in India

THE World Sikh Organization of Canada held its biennial convention on February 27 in Mississauga, Ontario, where for the first time in its 32-year history a Canadian born Sikh was selected to lead the organization. Mukhbir Singh was unanimously chosen to serve as president for the next two years. Born and raised in Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Quebec, […]

-- Delivered by Feed43 service

Indo-Canadian Voice

Read Full Article

Published in International

As many as 3,325 persons were killed in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, that many view as genocide. Out of those, 2,733 killings occurred in Delhi. This was stated by India’s Minister of State for Home Affairs Haribhai Parathibahi Chaudhary on Tuesday in New Delhi, according to a report in the Tribune newspaper of India. Besides the […]

-- Delivered by Feed43 service

Indo-Canadian Voice

Read Full Article

Published in India

SAN FRANCISCO – An Indo-Canadian-Sikh comedian was forced to take off his turban here during [...]

-- Delivered by Feed43 service

The Link

Read Full Article

Published in International
Saturday, 13 February 2016 06:33

Brampton Gurdwara Building Destroyed by Fire

While there are severe structural damages to the building, there are no known injuries.  Local sources said that the saroop of Guru Granth Sahib is safe.
While the building is currently locked up, fire investigators are expected to return to determine [...]

-- Delivered by Feed43 service

The Link

Read Full Article

Published in National

Poll Question

Do you agree with the new immigration levels for 2017?

Yes - 30.8%
No - 46.2%
Don't know - 23.1%
The voting for this poll has ended on: %05 %b %2016 - %21:%Dec

Featured Quote

The honest truth is there is still reluctance around immigration policy... When we want to talk about immigration and we say we want to bring more immigrants in because it's good for the economy, we still get pushback.

-- Canada's economic development minister Navdeep Bains at a Public Policy Forum economic summit

Zo2 Framework Settings

Select one of sample color schemes

Google Font

Menu Font
Body Font
Heading Font

Body

Background Color
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image

Top Wrapper

Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image

Header Wrapper

Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image

Mainmenu Wrapper

Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image

Slider Wrapper

Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image

Scroller Wrapper

Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image

Mainframe Wrapper

Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image

Bottom Scroller Wrapper

Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image

Breadcrumb Wrapper

Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image

Bottom Menu Wrapper

Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image

Bottom Wrapper

Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image
Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image