Daily Archives: August 7, 2016

Komagata Maru Incident Recognized as an Event of National Historic Significance

August 7, 2016                       Vancouver, British Columbia                                             Parks Canada Agency

The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence and Member of Parliament for Vancouver South, on behalf of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, Catherine McKenna, today unveiled a commemorative plaque from the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada to recognize the national historic significance of the Komagata Maru Incident of 1914.

Today, the Komagata Maru Incident has resonance within Canadian history and public discourse, and is a symbol for the early struggle of South Asian Canadians for justice and equality. On May 23, 1914, the Komagata Maru steamship arrived in Vancouver harbor with 376 South Asian immigrants aboard. The arrival of the ship sparked massive opposition from the public and an outpouring of racial rhetoric. In response to this backlash, the local South Asian community came together to fight unsuccessfully the deportation of these long travelled passengers. The Komagata Maru tragedy, along with the laws in force at the time that allowed Canada to be indifferent to the plight of the ship’s passengers, signifies a moment of great importance in the history of immigration and race relations in Canada.

The designation of the Komagata Maru Incident provides an opportunity for all Canadians to learn more about our diverse history, and the lessons we have learned. The Government of Canada is committed to connecting Canadians to the significant events that contributed to our country’s varied history and rich diversity.

As we near the 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017, the Government invites all Canadians to experience and learn more about our environment and our diverse history.

Quote

“On this day, 102 years ago, the Canadian Government shamefully turned away 376 immigrants because of their country of origin. Today, as a representative of the Canadian Government, I am honoured to stand with the South Asian community and recognize the Komagata Maru Incident as an event of national historic significance which helped shaped the values – including multiculturalism – that have become a source of strength for our country today.”

The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan,
Minister of National Defence and Member of Parliament for Vancouver South

Quick facts

  • On July 23, 1914, two months after it arrived, the Komagata Maru was escorted out of the Vancouver harbour by the Canadian military, and forced to return to India, where 19 passengers were killed and many others imprisoned.
  • Canada’s national parks, historic sites and marine conservation areas belong to all Canadians. They represent the very best that Canada has to offer and tell the stories of who we are, including the history, cultures and contributions of Indigenous peoples.
  • Created in 1919, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada advises the Minister of Environment and Climate Change regarding the national historic significance of places, people and events that have marked Canada’s history.

Related product

Backgrounder: The Komagata Maru Incident of 1914

Associated links

Komagata Maru apology in the House of Commons, May 18, 2016

Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada

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Contact

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Parks Canada Agency
855-862-1812
pc.media@pc.gc.ca

The Komagata Maru Incident of 1914

On May 23, 1914, the Komagata Maru reached Vancouver’s harbour via Hong Kong and Japan carrying 376 prospective South Asian immigrants who hoped to settle in Canada. The passengers, however, did not receive a friendly welcome. Their arrival provoked massive opposition from the public, and prevalent ideas of race and exclusion held by the majority of the local population led to an outpouring of racial rhetoric and considerable effort to force the ship’s return to India. In response to this backlash, the local South Asian community came together to fight the deportation of the passengers. While a legal challenge mounted, the community was unsuccessful and the vast majority of the passengers were forced to leave. This collective action was a pivotal event in the community’s early struggle for equal treatment in Canada. Today, the Komagata Maru incident has resonance within Canadian history and public discourse, and has significant iconic value within the South Asian-Canadian community.

In the years prior to the Komagata Maru’s arrival, the Canadian government placed limitations on South Asian immigration through racially restrictive policies. A 1908 order-in-council required “Asiatic” immigrants to possess at least $200 to enter the country. A second order-in-council required all immigrants to come to Canada via “continuous journey,” directly from their country of origin. This policy was aimed at South Asians as nonstop travel from India to Canada was largely unavailable. Sikh businessman Gurdit Singh chartered the Komagata Maru from Hong Kong to confront these restrictions and hoped that he and his passengers, all British citizens, would be able to enter Canada.

This would not be the case. Immigration officials did not allow the ship to dock and the passengers were isolated on board, unable to communicate with the South Asian community on shore. In the weeks that followed, conditions on the ship, including access to food and water, grew desperate. The local South Asian community rose to the defence of the passengers, formed a committee, raised large amounts of money, and hired a lawyer to challenge the restrictive immigration laws. A test case was put before the courts, but lost in its final appeal, and the passengers were issued deportation orders. When they refused to leave until provisions for the return trip were supplied and fought attempts by officials to board their ship, the government sent in the heavily-armed warship HMCS Rainbow. The Komagata Maru passengers stood their ground, singing patriotic songs and reading from Sikh scripture. Finally, thanks in part to efforts by the local South Asian community to negotiate an agreement, the government provided food and water for the ship. On 23 July 1914, the Komagata Maru left Vancouver harbour with the majority of its passengers aboard and returned to India.

 

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Surf Life Saving GB championships get under way on Exmouth beach

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There was fine weather for competitors as the Surf Life Saving GB National Surf Championships got under way in Exmouth.

More than 1,100 competitors are expected for the six days of competition, hosted by Exmouth Beach Rescue Club for the third year in a row.

The event began on Saturday and Sunday, August 6 and 7, with a competition for the over-30s age group.

Competitors aged up to 18 will be in action on Tuesday and Wednesday, August 9 and 10, before the contest concludes with the Nippers Surf Championship for children aged seven to 13 on Friday and Saturday, August 12 and 13.

SLSGB is a national search and rescue charity. The competition combines disciplines including swimming, athletics, kayaking, rowing and surfing.

Exeter-based law firm Ashfords LLP is sponsoring the championships. Partner Graham Cridland said: “This is a great initiative for the firm to be supporting, reinforcing our commitment to our local community and helping to develop important life skills to create young leaders of the future. We are delighted to be sponsoring the Surf Life Saving GB Championships and look forward to seeing all the great talent the SLSGB has to offer. Best of luck to all those taking part.”

Supported by South West Water, the Nippers Surf Championship will be the largest event, with top South West clubs contesting the overall team award.

Alan Hyde, head of communications, said: “South West Water has supported Surf Life Saving GB for more than 15 years and we are delighted once again to welcome the National Nippers Life Saving Surf Championships to Exmouth.

“It’s a fantastic event for the South West, bringing hundreds of youngsters and their families to the region and a wonderful showcase for them to demonstrate the beach safety skills they have learnt.”

Read next: Exeter’s Riverside Parkrun celebrates second anniversary

Fadlallah: Resistance combat in Syria provides stability, protection in Lebanon

NNA – Member of the Loyalty to the Resistance bloc, MP Hassan Fadlallah, underscored the importance of Hezbollah’s involvement in the combat in Syria, saying that his party provides stability and constitutes a protective umbrella for Lebanon.

Fadlallah’s words came Sunday during a political rally organized by Hezbollah in the village of Aynata, South Lebanon.

He added that his party was seeking to put an end to the political crisis by accelerating the process of presidential election, recalling that Hezbollah never stopped supporting Michel Aoun’s candidacy.

Fadlallah noted that his party would always seek to approve the proportional electoral law.

He called upon the government to assume its responsibilities, notably in social issues.

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Terror probe opened over attack on Belgian police: PM

NNA – Belgium’s prime minister Sunday announced a terrorism probe into a machete attack that wounded two policewomen, in what appeared to be the latest in a string of jihadist attacks in Europe.

“We have been informed by federal prosecutors that an investigation has started for attempted terrorist murder… given certain elements (in the case),” Charles Michel told reporters.

The prime minister was referring to the attacker’s cry of “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest) during the assault in front of a police station.

No information was given about the attacker’s identity during the press conference in Brussels which followed a meeting of Belgium’s security services.

Michel had previously said the attacker has not been identified “but it seems once more to be an attack with a terrorist connotation.”

The attack Saturday outside the main police station in the city of Charleroi, around 60 kilometers (40 miles) south of Brussels, left one of the policewomen with “deep wounds to the face” while the other was slightly injured, Belga news agency said.

Charleroi police said the attacker was shot and killed, while the two victims were out of danger.

Belgium has been on high alert since suicide bombers struck Brussels airport and a metro station near the European Union’s institutions on March 22, killing 32 people.

Those attacks were claimed by the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group, which controls large areas of territory in Iraq and Syria and has claimed numerous terror strikes in Europe over the last year.—–AFP

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