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VOL. 77 PART 4 JULY 2019
Komagata Maru memorial near the Vancouver Convention Centre
Vancouver Convention Centre. And after earlier apologies in the B.C. legislature
and in Surrey by Prime Minister Harper, in May 2016 Prime Minister
Trudeau apologized in Parliament, including to descendants of the Komagata
Maru’s passengers. To them, he said: “We can never know what your
lives would have been like had your relatives been welcome to Canada. The
ways in which your lives would have been different, the ways in which
Canada would have been enriched. Those possibilities are lost to history, for
that, and to you, we apologize.”
1. As noted in endnote 1 in Part I, this wording is from
Baba Gurdit Singh, Voyage of Komagata Maru, or
India’s Slavery Abroad (Chandigar: Unistar and
Punjab Centre for Migration Studies, first published
in 1928, and edited by Darshan S Tatla in 2007)
Gurdit Singh, at 111–12: “The warships the HMCS
Rainbow were preparing for action and on the
other hand we were preparing for death. It was a
grand scene on a blue stage with thousands of spectators”.
This is with reference to the events of July 21,
1914 described in this article. See the same endnote
for a list of some of the other important sources on
which this article is based. For additional legal context,
including from a broader philosophical and
geographical perspective, see Renisa Mawani,
Across Oceans of Law: The Komagata Maru and
Jurisdiction in the Time of Empire (Durham: Duke
University Press, 2018).
2. The New Westminster News (15 May 1914) at 3.
3. Gurdit Singh, supra note 1 at 131.
4. As quoted in Ali Kazimi, Undesirables: White
Canada and the Komagata Maru (Vancouver: Douglas
& McIntyre, 2011) at 119.
5. Ibid at 123.
6. Hugh JM Johnston, The Voyage of the Komagata
Maru: The Sikh Challenge to Canada’s Colour Bar,
rev ed (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2014) at 128.
7. Robie L Reid, KC, “The Inside Story of the ‘Komagata
Maru’” (1941) 5 British Columbia Historical Quarterly
1 at 20.
8. “Maru Hindus Crawl Down: Only Concession Is That
Charterers’ Claims Will Be Investigated Later”, The
Delta Times (23 July 1914) at 4.
9. Johnston, supra note 6 at 135.
10. As quoted in Reid, supra note 7 at 19–20.
11. The New Westminster News (22 July 1914) at 1.
12. See Christopher Harvey, QC, “Rex v. Joseph Sankey:
Guilty Without A Shadow of a Doubt” (2011) 69
Advocate 675 (Part I) and (2011) 69 Advocate 855
13. “Nos Disparus” (1972) 30 Advocate 56.
14. (1948) 6 Advocate 181.