May 23, 2017
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on the 103rd anniversary of the Komagata Maru incident:
“More than a century ago today, a great injustice took place when most of the 376 passengers onboard the Komagata Maru steamship were denied entry into Canada and forced to return to India where some were killed and many imprisoned.
“Last year, I stood in the House of Commons to apologize on behalf of the Government of Canada to all those affected by this tragic incident. An unjust federal law ultimately led to these passengers being turned away. For that grave injustice and for the regrettable consequences that followed, we are sorry.
“The Komagata Maru passengers share much in common with the many immigrants, past and present, who have come to Canada to build a better life for themselves and their families. By offering compassion and a fair chance at success, we not only help provide more opportunities for them and their loved ones, we also build a better Canada – one that is stronger, more inclusive, and more prosperous.
“Today, we honour the victims of the Komagata Maru tragedy and their descendants. Canadians are proud to be part of a country that respects and protects multiculturalism as a core and defining value, and we thank all those from the South Asian community who make such invaluable contributions to our society. We benefit greatly from the vibrant diversity of our country.”