Ottawa – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he will offer a full apology in the House of Commons next month for a decision by the government in 1914 to turn away a ship carrying hundreds of South Asian immigrants.
The apology for the Komagata Maru incident will be delivered nearly 102 years after the ship from Hong Kong arrived off Vancouver only to have nearly all of its 376 passengers denied entry due to the immigration laws at the time.
The ship was eventually sent to Calcutta and at least 19 people were killed in an ensuing skirmish with British soldiers, while others were jailed.
Former prime minister Stephen Harper apologized for the incident in 2008 at an event in British Columbia.
But members of Canada’s Sikh community have long said an apology should be offered formally in Parliament.
The Liberals have been calling since 2008 for an apology in the Commons and Trudeau repeated that pledge during the election campaign.
The Canadian Press