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May 23rd, 2019

NDP statement on the 105th anniversary of the Komagata Maru incident

Jagmeet Singh, Leader of Canada’s NDP, issued the following statement:

On May 23, 1914, the Komagata Maru steamship arrived in the waters of the Burrard Inlet in British Columbia. On board were 376 passengers, all British subjects of Sikh, Muslim, and Hindu faiths, seeking a better life in Canada.

Their arrival tested the discriminatory immigration laws of the day and most the passengers of the Komagata Maru were refused entry into Canada.

Officials allowed only 20 passengers to disembark, forcing the remainder to wait on board for two long months, when the decision was made to send the Komagata Maru back to India. Upon returning, 19 of the passengers were killed, and many others were persecuted and imprisonment.

Today, we remember the story of the Komagata Maru and honour the victims whose hopes of a better life were dashed by racist immigration policies.

As we remember this dark chapter in Canadian history, let’s be reminded of the lingering racism and prejudice that continue to impact newcomers to Canada and honour all people who have made this country their home and celebrate the diversity they bring.