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

Just Posted

Victoria police investigating chop-shop found in Beacon Hill Park

Police asking public to register bikes with them in case lost or stolen

Saanich makes ALC appeal for Prospect Lake Elementary parking, portables

Council votes in favour of seeking non-farm use designation

Island Health issues Victoria overdose advisory

Health authority warns of increase in overdoses from opioids and stimulants

Residents welcomed to The Summit in Victoria’s Quadra Village

Modern 320-bed facility designed for people with complex care needs including dementia

Recent surge in COVID-19 cases not unexpected amid Phase Three of reopening: B.C.’s top doc

Keep circles small, wear masks and be aware of symptoms, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of July 13

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

B.C. NDP changing WorkSafeBC regulations to respond to COVID-19

Employers say reclassifying coronavirus could be ‘ruinous’

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Beloved Island woman dies at 106

Dorothy Adair adored by the many people she met in Chemainus in two short years

Man arrested for allegedly pushing unsuspecting seniors, jumping on cars at Parksville mall

Cops arrest man after ‘aggressive incident’ at Wembley Mall in Parksville

B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’ charged with sex assault of teenage boys

The man, 75, is accused of assaulting teenage boys he met through Coquitlam-area churches

B.C.’s potential deficit $12.5 billion as spending spikes, taxes drop

Finance Minister Carole James gives COVID-19 outlook

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit

Most Read