Today I will be making this blog about the kamagata maru incident back in 1914. This is a well known incident that occurred and you most likely have heard of it, but to summarize there was a law in Canada that made it so that you had to travel to Canada in 1 continuous journey from point A (South Asia) to point B (Canada). This was basically to stop immigration and was an early example of systemic racism in the 1900’s. The Kamagata Maru knew this when they departed but instead of following that rule they wanted to test it and in the end protest it. In the end it was a 3 month journey to canada and then a tree month wait in the ports without getting access into Canada. After a six month period from leaving for Canada, the ship was lead out of the place they were anchored by the Canadian military in July and made to return back to Budge-Budge, India where 19 of the people on board were killed by gunshots when getting off the ship and more people were put into prison.
The importance of the apology is a formal acknowledgment by the promise of BC that we did not live up to our ideals. As reflected in motion of apology “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.” And this resulted in tragedy for s lot of people.
The legacy is some of the policies that Harper put in place to help support immigrants and by formally acknowledging the tragedy it opens up the opportunity for remembrance such as this Kamagata Maru the opportunity for the legacy to live on in other forms such as the remembrance museum website.
The Kamagata Maru incident has been remembered through the website there is plaque in coal harbour and the Kamagata Maru museum at the Khalsa Diwan Society.
in conclusion the kamagata maru incident has and will help us learn from our mistakes with systemic racism so we can move forward with equal opportunities for everyone despite your background, skin colour, gender or religion.