BC apology for Komagata Maru

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On May 23, 2008, the Government of the Province of British Columbia, formally apologised for the event that took place in this state and in the town of Vancouver. It took the Canadians 94 years to accept that the people the Indian sub-continent and in particular the 376 passengers had been clearly been discriminated against and that a wrong had been done against them.

The exact text of the motion reads:

Province of BC May 23, 2008.gif
Province of British Columbia

Official Report of
Debates of the Legislative Assembly

2008 Legislative Session: 4th Session, 38th Parliament, Friday, May 23, 2008

B.C Government, Motion No 62 - Motion of Apology

Komagata Maru: Motion Unanimously Approved

"Be it resolved that this Legislature apologizes for the events of May 23, 1914, when 376 passengers of the Komagata Maru, stationed off the Vancouver harbour, were denied entry by Canada. The House deeply regrets that the passengers who sought refuge in our country and our province were turned away without benefit of the fair and impartial treatment befitting a society where people of all cultures are welcomed and accepted."

Under the leadership of Preimer Gordon Campbell, the province of British Columbia is the first province in Canada to issue an apology for the Komagata Maru events of May 23, 1914 on the 75th anniversary of that May date, the city of Vancouver under his Worship Mayor Gordon Campbell, was the first city in Canada to place a plaque in rememberance of those that were wronged. In 2006, the government issued a statement of regret and this year we were to pass this important motion.

Signed by Gordon Campbell, Premier, Province of British Columbia

Signed by Dave S Hayer, M.L.A (Surrey-Tynehead), Parliamentary Secretary for Multiculturalism and Immigration.


H. Bains: "It is with pride that I stand here today to support this motion. I'm not going to talk about the history, because many have mentioned it here in this House. I'm in a congratulatory mood, because finally, after 94 years of kicking and screaming, from legislators to the parliament, no government saw it fit to right the wrong of 94 years of history. Finally, we are seeing the results."

J. Nuraney: Today we are witnessing a gesture by this government which redeems, to a certain extent, the injustice that was meted out to the passengers of Komagata Maru on May 23, 1914...... This incident is recorded in our British Columbia history as a stain on the ethics and values that we hold so dearly — that is, inclusiveness and respect for others.

This act of racism has become an indelible memory in the minds of the pioneers and Canadians who worked so hard to make our province what it is today. The contribution of the Sikh community in the development of our province is well known, not only in the past as the pioneers in the industries of forestry and agriculture, but today they continue to be very valuable members of the Canadian society and continue to play a very significant role in what Canada stands for.

We could say that this outrageous act, which violated the rights of individuals to seek out their destiny, was outrageous. Today, as we offer our apologies to those affected, we must also take this opportunity to look within ourselves and ask the fundamental question: have we really eradicated racism?......."

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