Horgan says lessons to be learned from Komagata Maru racism during pandemic

June 1, 2020

By Vancouver Sun |

B.C. Premier John Horgan is paying tribute to nearly 400 South Asians who were forced to leave Canada due to discriminatory policies more than a century ago.

Horgan says racism faced by the Sikh, Muslim and Hindu men who arrived at Vancouver’s harbour aboard the Komagata Maru on May 23, 1914, hurt generations of people.

Horgan said that when he looks out the window of his Vancouver office, he can see the exact spot where the ship was moored for two months as those aboard endured cruel conditions.

Federal laws banned immigration of South Asians and the vessel had to return to India.

Horgan said the anniversary of the ship’s arrival in B.C. makes him wonder how the students, labourers and ex-soldiers from the British Indian regiment aboard would have enriched Canada if given the opportunity to stay in the province.

“Racism is part of our history in British Columbia, and our work continues to right the wrongs of the past,” Horgan said.

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