Horgan says lessons to be learned from Komagata Maru racism during pandemic

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B.C. Premier John Horgan is paying tribute to nearly 400 South Asians who were forced to leave Canada due to discriminatory policies more than a century ago.

Horgan says racism faced by the Sikh, Muslim and Hindu men who arrived at Vancouver’s harbour aboard the Komagata Maru on May 23, 1914, hurt generations of people.

“This event stands as a reminder for how racism, discrimination and hate have hurt generations of people. But it also reminds us of the incredible resiliency in our province — including all those who stand up against injustice and work to make B.C. a place where everyone is welcome and safe.

“As we live through the COVID-19 pandemic, racism has tarnished our community’s response. People have been attacked and assaulted. Racism has no place in our province. We must stand firm against hate and learn from our past as we build a better, more inclusive future.”

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy.

Horgan had earlier spoken out against racism toward Asians during the pandemic.

Vancouver police said this week that the number of anti-Asian racism cases since March had jumped markedly compared with the same period last year.

Police say they have opened 29 cases since B.C. declared a state of emergency over the pandemic, compared with only four cases of racism in 2019. The first case of COVID-19 was found in China.

Source: Horgan says lessons to be learned from Komagata Maru racism during pandemic

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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