TIM Uppal, federal Minister of State for Multiculturalism, on Thursday, apparently reacting to Wednesday’s demand by Punjab for an apology in Parliament for the Komagata Maru incident, issued a statement highlighting a number of initiatives by the government “to acknowledge, educate and commemorate the tragic events of the Komagata Maru”
Uppal said: “The tragic events of the Komagata Maru were truly a regrettable chapter in Canada’s history. That is why, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and our Conservative government were the very first to acknowledge what happened to the passengers of the Komagata Maru on behalf of all Canadians.
“In May 2008, our government passed a unanimous motion in the House of Commons, recognizing the Komagata Maru incident and apologizing to those who were directly affected. On August 3, 2008, Prime Minister Harper conveyed that apology to the Indo-Canadian community in Surrey, BC.
“It was our Conservative government that worked with the Khalsa Diwan Society to build a museum around this tragedy, a monument in Vancouver Harbour and a number of other projects to educate Canadians about the Komagata Maru.
“On the 100th anniversary of this tragedy, our government provided funding to the Sikh Heritage Museum of Canada (SHMC) to create the “Lions of the Sea” national commemoration and educational exhibit; Canada Post also released a special commemorative stamp to further create awareness about this tragedy.
“Our Conservative government is committed to recognizing the experience of the Indo-Canadian community and other communities affected by immigration restrictions in Canada’s past. We commemorate the Komagata Maru incident, acknowledging a dark moment in our shared history, to help ensure that tragedies like this one never happen again.”
* Canadians of Indian descent have made enormous contributions to building our nation. Tens of thousands of Indians continue to make the journey to Canada every year to help us build our country, our economy and, in many cases, to settle permanently and become Canadians. India is one of the top source countries for Immigration to Canada under the Conservative government.
* The Government of Canada has provided funding, through the Community Historical Recognition Program (CHRP), towards a number of projects that recognize and educate on the Komagata Maru. For example, the Khalsa Diwan Society received a total of $1.4 million for the development of two projects, a monument in Vancouver harbour and a museum which commemorates the Komagata Maru incident.
* To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the tragic event, the Government of Canada undertook a number of initiatives to remember and educate Canadians about the Komagata Maru. Specifically, the Government of Canada has:
– Designed and distributed an educational poster to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Komagata Maru incident;
– Participated in the unveiling of Canada Post’s Komagata Maru stamp at the Asian Heritage Month launch reception on May 6; and
– Created a Web page on the Government of Canada’s web site to provide information on the tragedy and Canada’s role;
– Developed a five-minute video documentary on the incident;
– Supported the Sikh Heritage Museum of Canada (SHMC) to create the “Lions of the Sea” national commemoration and educational exhibit;
– Erecting the first public monument dedicated to the Komagata Maru incident in Vancouver’s Harbour Green Park;
– Helped created the first public museum dedicated to the Komagata Maru incident;
– Participated in Simon Fraser University (SFU) commemorative events to learn from the Komagata Maru tragedy;
– Commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Komagata Maru tragedy as part of Asian Heritage Month for 2014.