Statement by Minister Khera on the Komagata Maru incident


OTTAWA, May 23, 2024

Today, we remember a defining moment in Canadian history: the arrival of the steamship Komagata Maru in Burrard Inlet, Vancouver, in 1914.

The Komagata Maru carried 376 Sikh, Muslim and Hindu people of South Asian descent. Like many immigrants seeking a better life in Canada, these passengers hoped for a new beginning for their families. Yet, they were confronted instead with the discriminatory and racist immigration policies of the time when authorities denied them entry into the country upon arrival.

For the following two months, the Komagata Maru remained docked in the port of Vancouver. While a few passengers were allowed to enter Canada, the others remained on board, sometimes deprived of water or food for several days. Despite numerous protests from the South Asian community in Canada, the ship was forced to return to India, where many passengers were regrettably imprisoned and others killed.

This incident remains a dark chapter in Canada’s history. Although past harms cannot be undone, in 2016, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivered a formal apology in the House of Commons for the Government of Canada’s role in the incident.

Today, by remembering the Komagata Maru incident, we reaffirm our opposition to racism, discrimination and hate. That is why we have committed to historic investments of over $200 million towards Canada’s anti-racism strategies and $173 million towards Canada’s forthcoming first-ever Action Plan on Combatting Hate.

As Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Persons with Disabilities, I invite you to reflect on this period in our history and to honour the lives of those who were impacted. Together, let’s reaffirm our commitment to making Canada a country where everyone can thrive and prosper.


For more information (media only), please contact:

Alisson Lévesque
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Persons with Disabilities

Media Relations
Canadian Heritage

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