Madam Speaker, today is Vaisakhi, the Sikhs' new year, celebrated all around the world. It is in the spirit of this celebration that I am submitting a petition signed by more than 3,000 Canadians, demanding that the government apologize for the historic mistreatment, and denial of basic rights and necessities of life on May 23, 1914 to the British subjects of Indian origin who had arrived on Canada's shores on the Komagata Maru.
Sixty-three days after arriving in Canada but not allowed to disembark the ship, all 356 passengers were forced to leave Canada. Of course, this was dictated by the racist and discriminatory policies of the time.
This petition was a Canada-wide community effort, but particular thanks goes to the Professor Mohan Singh Memorial Foundation of Canada, and to Sahib Thind and Jasbir Sandhu for their work.
Let us use today's auspicious day to recognize a historical wrong. It is an opportunity for the government to issue a heartfelt and sincere apology, so that we can move on, correct the historical injustice, offer a chance for healing and reconciliation, and make sure that this never happens again.
Our party was the first to call for this apology. Let us make it happen as soon as possible.