British Columbia

Ottawa funds Komagata Maru memorial

The federal government has promised to fund two Vancouver projects to commemorate the Komagata Maru incident, including a memorial monument.

The federal government has promised to fund two Vancouver projects, including a memorial monument, to commemorate the Komagata Maru incident.

Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney made the announcement in a written statement on Sunday.

"The story of the Komagata Maru is an event in our history that did not do us proud," he said in the release.

"Prime Minister Harper was the first prime minister in Canadian history to recognize the tragic nature of the Komagata Maru incident. He is also the first prime minister to apologize to the Indo-Canadian community for it."

In 1914, the Komagata Maru arrived in Vancouver harbour carrying 376 passengers of Indian descent. The ship was prevented from docking and, after a two-month standoff, sailed back to India where about 20 passengers died in an altercation with British soldiers.

On Sunday, Kenney pledged $82,500 to Vancouver's Khalsa Diwan Society to work with the Vancouver Parks Board for a monument to commemorate the incident.

The organization will also receive $104,000 to develop the first phase of a museum dedicated to the Komagata Maru.

"Canadians of South Asian origin have made enormous contributions to building Canada," Kenney said.

"The government of Canada is committed to recognizing the experiences of the Indo-Canadian community and other communities affected by immigration restrictions applied in Canada's past."

The monument to the Komagata Maru will be a replica of the ship and will include the names of all the passengers, as well as photographs and a descriptive plaque. Its proposed location is in a public park near where the ship was anchored in 1914.

The museum, located on the grounds of the Khalsa Diwan Society in Vancouver, will also be accessible to the public.