Passengers aboard Komagata Maru in Vancouver’s Burrard Inlet, 1914 - Library and Archives Canada image

B.C. premier says lessons to learn from past racism during response to pandemic

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy

British Columbia’s premier is paying tribute to nearly 400 South Asians who were forced to leave Canada due to discriminatory policies more than a century ago.

John 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 says in a statement 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 says 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.

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy.

Horgan has spoken out against racism toward Asians during the pandemic and says in the statement that it has “tarnished” the community’s response to COVID-19.

“People have been attacked and assaulted. Racism has no place in our province. We must stand firm against hate and learn from our past as we build a better, more inclusive future,” he says.

Vancouver police said this week that the number of anti-Asian racism cases since March has jumped markedly compared with the same period last year.

Police say they have opened 29 cases since B.C. declared a state of emergency over the pandemic, compared with only four cases of racism in 2019. The first case of COVID-19 was found in China.

READ MORE: Surrey to rename street to commemorate Komagata Maru victims

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirusracism

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Claire Paradis joins Nakusp Public Library as new library director

Paradis said main goal is getting library back open to the public

Lost dog swims Columbia River multiple times searching for home

The dog was missing from his Castlegar home for three days.

Traffic finally eases along Arrow Lakes ferry routes

Motorists were stuck for up to six hours in ferry lineups over the weekend

Hwy 1 flooding causes massive delays on certain Arrow Lakes ferry routes

Motorists have been waiting around three hours to get on ferries

The pandemic is widening Canada’s workplace gender gap

Gender pay gap is incentivizing fathers to work while mothers watch children, a new B.C. study has found

Ex-Okanagan Mountie forfeits 20 days’ pay after sexual misconduct review

A former Vernon RCMP constable made sexual comments, grabbed genitals of male officer in two incidents 10 years ago

Man found dead on Okanagan trail identified as Hollywood actor

GoFundMe campaign launched for man found dead at summit of Spion Kop

3 people dead in Prince George motel fire

Fire personnel believe the blaze was suspicious although investigation in early stages

B.C. sets terms to review police, mental health, race relations

MLAs to recommend Police Act changes by May 2021

Feds announce $8.3M to deal with ‘ghost’ fishing gear in B.C. waters

Ghost gear accounts for up to 70 per cent of all macro-plastics in the ocean by weight

Almost 99% less land in B.C. burned this year compared to 2018

2018 was the worst year on record for wildfires

B.C. orders Coastal GasLink to stop pipeline construction near protected wetlands

The 670-kilometre pipeline is planned to transport natural gas from northeast B.C. to Kitimat

Most Read