TORONTO, May 20, 2016 – The Canadian Race Relations Foundation commends the Canadian government for offering an official apology in the House of Commons on May 18, 2016 for the 1914 incident in which Canada turned away more than 300 passengers aboard a ship travelling from Hong Kong to Vancouver.
Most passengers aboard the Japanese steamship Komagata Maru were Indian citizens seeking refuge in Canada. Nearly all of the ship’s 376 passengers were denied entry into the Port of Vancouver and the ship was ultimately forced to return to India, where some of the ship’s passengers were killed in an ensuing riot.
The CRRF believes this apology is an important step forward, as the Canadian government continues to work toward inclusive diversity – a vision to which the CRRF is committed.
“Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s apology today reminds us of a historic wrong in Canadian history,” said Albert Lo, Chairperson, CRRF. “This is an important step towards closure with members of the South Asian community. Let’s refocus our resolve to honour one another’s inherent human dignity. Let’s redouble our effort to combat hate, racism and racial discrimination of any form, and work toward a more inclusive and harmonious Canada.”