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

First responders stand in honour of life of ambulance manager

A memorial procession to recognize Prince Rupert’s Mike Sorensen attended by many

Heart of Our City: Ron Nyce

Teaching, dancing and encouraging culture create the heartbeat of this drummer

Breast cancer screening available in Prince Rupert – ten days only

Mobile imaging suite will be in Prince Rupert from July 6 to 16

RCSCC 7 – Captain Cook is searching for new C.O.

Officer position will be vacant with CIC sailing away to different shores.

Police investigate July 2 homicide in Houston

Man succumbed to injuries at Pearson Road residence

Horrifying video shows near head-on collision on Trans Canada

The video was captured on dash cam along Highway 1

COVID-19: B.C. promotes video-activated services card

Mobile app allows easier video identity verification

ICBC to resume road tests in July with priority for rebookings, health-care workers

Tests have been on hold for four months due to COVID-19

Would you take a COVID-19 vaccine? Poll suggests most Canadians say yes

75 per cent of Canadians would agree to take a novel coronavirus vaccine

Budget officer pegs cost of basic income as calls for it grow due to COVID-19

Planned federal spending to date on pandemic-related aid now tops about $174 billion

Sexologist likens face mask debate to condom debate: What can we learn from it?

Society’s approach to condom usage since the 1980s can be applied to face masks today, one expert says

B.C. homeowners plead for action on condo insurance crisis

Strata property fees growing bigger than mortgage payments

Indigenous man behind complaint of BC Transplant’s alcohol abstinence policy has died

David Dennis, who is Nuu-chah-nulth, argued that six-month sobriety policy is a ‘lethal form of racism’

Most Read