Raj Singh Toor, grandson of one of the passengers on the Komagata Maru, and Vice President and spokesperson for the Non profit Descendants of the Komagata Maru Society.
Respected Councillor Jean Swanson bring forward the Komagata Maru apology and Komagata Maru proclamation motion on June 9, 2020 on behalf of a request by the Descendants of the Komagata Maru Society which was written by me.
COUNCIL MEMBER’S MOTION
- Komagata Maru Apology and Remembrance Day Proclamation
Submitted by: Councillor Swanson
- On May 23, 1914, three hundred and seventy-six British Subjects from India of Sikh, Muslim and Hindu origin arrived in Vancouver Harbour aboard the Komagata Maru, seeking to enter Canada;
- On July 23, 1914, the Komagata Maru was forced to leave as a result of a discriminatory act by the Government of Canada, without allowing the passengers to disembark;
- On May 23, 2008, at the request of the Descendants of the Komagata Maru Society, the BC Government apologized for the events of May 23, 1914, stating that “The House deeply regrets that the passengers, who sought refuge in our country and our province, were turned away without benefit of the fair and impartial treatment befitting a society where people of all cultures are welcomed and accepted”;
- On May 18, 2016, at the request of the Descendants of the Komagata Maru Society, the Canadian Government apologized for the events of May 23, 1914, stating that it was sorry for its indifference and discriminatory laws, and that it was committed “to positive action – to learning from the mistakes of the past, and to making sure that we never repeat them”;
- The City of Vancouver is committed to protecting British Columbians from hate, racism, and discrimination through legislation, education, and example;
- The City of Vancouver is home to many diverse cultures where individuals can practice their beliefs and customs while respecting and learning from other traditions;
- The City of Vancouver promotes multiculturalism and the full and free participation of all individuals in society; and
- Vancouver Mayor Truman Baxter organized an anti-Asian rally, and the first speaker was the prominent politician H.H. Stevens. “I have no ill-feeling against people coming from Asia personally,” he told the crowd, “but I reaffirm that the national life of Canada will not permit any large degree of immigration from Asia…I intend to stand up absolutely on all occasions on this one great principle—of a white country and a white British Columbia.” (http://www.vancouverhistory.ca/archives_komagatamaru.htm [vancouverhistory.ca])
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED:
- THAT Council formally apologizes for the previous Council’s injustices and their cruel effects on individuals and families impacted by the Komagata Maru incident.
- THAT The City of Vancouver declare, by proclamation, that May 23rd shall be known as “Komagata Maru Remembrance Day” in Vancouver.
Today, on June 10, Raj Toor spoke for 5 minutes in the City of Vancouver Council at City Hall about Komagata Maru apology and Komagata Maru proclamation Motion.
This is the statement by Raj Toor.
Komagata Maru apology and Komagata Maru proclamation Motion got approved today unanimously. I would like to say thank you to the Respected Councillor Jean Swanson for bringing forward Komagata Maru apology Motion behalf of the Descendants of the Komagata Maru request which was written by me.
“I would like to say thank you to the Mayor and City Council of Vancouver for recognizing the Komagata Maru passengers and approved unanimously Komagata Maru apology and Komagata Maru proclamation Motion on the behalf a request from the Descendants of the Komagata Maru Society. I am glad to be a part of making this happen.”
Feature Photo: Raj Toor with Komagata Maru Passengers picture.