Premier John Horgan has issued the following statement on the 108th anniversary of the Komagata Maru’s arrival in British Columbia:
“Today marks the 108th anniversary of the arrival of the Komagata Maru in Vancouver harbour. The 376 Sikh, Muslim and Hindu passengers aboard were seeking a better life in Canada. Their arrival was met by hostility, prejudice and injustice.
“Canadian immigration officials refused to allow the travellers to disembark, confining them to the cramped quarters aboard ship for two months. Supplies of food, and even water, were restricted. After a standoff in the harbour, the ship was forced from Canadian waters. Upon returning to India, 19 passengers were killed. Others were imprisoned.
“Those barred from entry to British Columbia included students, labourers and former soldiers. Their desire to contribute to a new land was thwarted and their possible contributions to this province will go forever unknown.
“In 2008, the Province of British Columbia formally apologized in the legislative chamber for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy. Earlier this year, the government funded resources by the South Asian Canadian Legacy Project to raise awareness about the many contributions South Asian Canadians have made to the province’s culture, heritage and economy.
“Our government recently introduced an anti-racism data act, the first of its kind in Canada. It is an important step toward dismantling systemic racism and discrimination faced by Indigenous, Black and people of colour.
“There is more work to do. How far we have come is a testament to the incredible resiliency in our province, including those who stand up to injustice and try to make B.C. safer and more equitable for everyone.”
To learn more about the South Asian Canadian Legacy Project, visit: