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AVAILABLE EXPERT - Prime Minister apologizes for Komagata Maru incident

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Queen’s University immigration expert Sharry Aiken is available to comment on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's apology for the Komagata Maru incident. In 1914, the Komagata Maru sailed into Vancouver where 376 people, mainly Sikhs, were denied entry. Upon returning to India, the British Indian police shot 19 of the passengers.

Prime Minister Trudeau is offering the apology in the House of Commons day.

“The apology is very significant in the wider context of Canadians coming to realize that for virtually 100 years our country’s approach to immigrants and immigration was explicitly racist,” says Dr. Aiken. “The apology to the Sikh community for Canada’s treatment of the passengers on the Komagata Maru is welcome and long overdue. My hope is that it will precipitate a re-examination the historical record more broadly.”

Dr. Aiken has written extensively on the topic and regularly uses Ali Kazimi’s film Continuous Journey in her teachings.

Please note she is only available between 11 am and 3 pm EDT by phone.

To arrange an interview, please contact communications officer Anne Craig (613-533-2877 or anne.craig@queensu.ca) or Chris Armes (613-533-6000 ext. 77513 or chris.armes@queensu.ca) at Queen’s University News and Media Services Department in Kingston, Ont., Canada.

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