Komagata Maru apology unnecessary as officials upholding the law of the time: Checkup caller

Karina Wang, herself an immigrant to Canada, finds the Canadian government's apology for the Komagata Maru incident unnecessary, as there was a threat of terrorism the Canadian officials wanted to avoid.
376 men from India voyaged on the Komagata Maru that sailed from India to Vancouver. (Simon Fraser University Public Affairs and Media Relations)

Karina Wang, herself an immigrant to Canada, finds the Canadian government's apology for the Komagata Maru incident unnecessary, because there was a terrorism risk the Canadian officials wanted to avoid.

She phoned Checkup from Calgary to share her thoughts with Checkup guest host Susan McReynolds. Listen to it here, or scroll down to read an edited transcript:

Karina Wang called from Calgary to discuss her thoughts on the Komagata Maru apology.

Edited transcript:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau came out, took two minutes, and made a show of saying sorry but does he even understand the history? It's my understanding that the Indian nationals were engaged in some sort of terrorism. On the boat there were Sikhs, there were Muslims, there were Hindus, all coming from India. The Canadian officials were worried about the risks that they might pose.

I'm wondering why we would argue about a decision that was made over 100 years ago which followed the law. Of course after 100 years the law has changed; we're more culturally accepting of all religions and genders. But at the same time, they had to uphold the law back then.

If I came to Canada 15 years ago and I showed up with no paperwork, I wouldn't be able to enter Canada. I needed to apply for my visa, apply for my working permit, and apply for immigration cards. That's just the law and I needed to follow the law.

I immigrated to Canada and I had to work hard to get here and so have many other Chinese and Japanese immigrants who got here. We have to accept the difficult life decisions that we make.

Should I say that the Canadian government gave me a really difficult time because I had to work for 22 hours a day while I went to school, so they need to apologize to me? No, I don't think so. It was my choice to do those things. Whether it happened 15 years ago or 100 years ago, you need to follow the law. You need to commit to your decision.

Karina Wang's comments have been edited for clarity. This online segment was prepared by Ayesha Barmania.


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