Prime Minister Trudeau delivers remarks at the Vaisakhi Celebration on the Parliament Hill
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Prime Minister Trudeau delivers remarks at the Vaisakhi Celebration on the Parliament Hill

November 22, 2019


Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa. Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh.
Thank you all. Thank you to all of the Sungat for being here today. I want to especially
thank Minister Chagger for her kind introduction and thanks also to everyone who is involved
with bringing us all here together. I know there was a lot of work done and it’s wonderful
to see so many people come together here. In particular, I’d like to thank Darshan Kang
for lending out his office for the akanbat (ph) and to the Ottawa Sikh Society for all
their support. And thanks too to Dr. Harjit Kaur for her fantastic singing and before
that Rupinder Kaur and our own Anju Dhillon. This room was once known as the reading room,
but perhaps the singing room would be more appropriate for now. Thank you for sharing
your talents with us today. Across our country, at Nagar Kirtans and in
Gurdwaras, we will see hundreds of thousands of Canadians celebrating the creation of Khalsa
in 1699 by Shri Guru Gobind Singh Ji. When we reflect on the creation of Khalsa, we think
of the call that Guru Gobind Singh Ji made for five brave volunteers to be inducted into
the Khalsa. What Guru Gobind Singh Ji had in mind was a society based on equality. Those
five individuals came from different religions, castes and professions. When we think of Canada, these same
principles apply. Equality is our objective. Every Canadian, no matter who they
are and where they come from, deserves a real and fair chance to succeed.
And that is as it should be. In a country as welcoming and diverse as Canada is, a country
strong, not in spite of our differences, but because of them.
Unfortunately, as we all know, Canada hasn’t always lived up to that ideal. This year will
mark the 102nd anniversary of the Komagata Maru incident where 376 passengers of mostly
Sikh decent arrived in Vancouver and were refused entry into Canada due to the discriminatory
laws of the time. The passengers of the Komagata Maru, like millions of immigrants to Canada
since, were seeking refuge and better lives for their families. With so much to contribute
to their new home, they chose Canada and we failed them utterly.
As a nation we should never forget the prejudice suffered by the Sikh community at the hands
of the Canadian government of the day. We should not and we will not. That is why next
month on May 18, I will stand in the House of Commons and offer a full apology for the
Komagata Maru incident. (Cheers and chants in unison)
An apology made in the House of Commons will not erase the pain and suffering of those
who lived through that shameful experience. But an apology is not only the appropriate
action to take, it’s the right action to take and the House is the appropriate place
for it to happen. It was in the House of Commons that the laws that prevented the passengers
from disembarking were first passed. And so, it is fitting that the government should apologize
there on behalf of all Canadians. It’s what the victims of the Komagata Maru incident
deserve and we owe them nothing less. Just as we look back and acknowledge where
we have failed, so too do we need to celebrate the remarkable success of the Sikh community
here in Canada and Vaisakhi is the perfect opportunity to do just that. April is a special
month, not only for Sikhs, but for all Canadians. It marks the anniversary of the adoption of
the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which ensures that no Canadian needs to make the
choice between their religion and activities in their day to day lives. The charter ensures
that the five Ks are protected. As Canadian Sikhs gather with their loved ones to mark
the creation of the Khalsa, it is a chance to reflect on shared values and celebrate
the successes of the past year. I know that these values, a dedication to
community service and to the principles of equality, inclusion and respect serve as inspiration
to all Canadians. Sikhism values a commitment to honest hard work and volunteerism while
ensuring equality for all. The Sangat here knows the value of hard work and understands
the sacrifices that have been made so that future generations may have greater opportunities.
The Sikh community in Canada is more than a hundred years strong and its members have
always excelled in every field and sector. In so many ways this community is key to Canada’s
own economic and social success. And I know this past year has been a really remarkable
one for Canadian Sikhs, particularly in the political realm. My friends, I am so incredibly
proud to serve in a parliament that has seventeen Sikh members. Each is an exceptional individual.
But there’s one part of Harjit Sajjan’s story that I think is particularly interesting
to share on this day. Between 2011 and 2014 he was the commanding officer of Duke of Connaught’s
Own, the same British Columbia regiment that once forced out the Komagata Maru. A century
ago Harjit’s family might well have been turned away from Canada and today he is one
of four members who now sit with me in Cabinet. As you may know, with the record number of
Sikh MPs elected last October, Punjabi became the third most common language in the House
of Commons after English and French. Now I can’t claim to speak the House’s third
language as well as I do its first two, but on this occasion I am deeply honoured to be
able to say again, Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa. Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh.

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  1. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau deserves every word of praise for his bold stand against racial discrimination and shows his nobility as a great human being. God bless him, and God bless Canada. I hope that people in USA also share the same sentiments.

  2. Pfff!  Canada was not an independent nation when the Kamagata Maru incident occured!  This is pure *-licking PR to get more votes.  No honor there…

  3. when reading the racist comments below, keep in mind that most Canadians have absolutely no problem with this. it just so happens that racists like to comment much more than regular people.

  4. Hopefully all the brown people realize this phony is just using these public appearances to gain votes and also in some cases funding.

  5. Hellow sir . Great wishes from myside to you. Jai shri raam. I love canadians and their culture . Its great to have multi diversity. Justin trudaeu is best PM ever of canada.

  6. When Justin visits a foreign country, he abides their custom. When the foreigners goes to Canada, they impose their custom. Why ?

  7. Only Muslims dont like – Wahe guru ka khalsa wahe guru ki fateh , Hindu love chanting Wahe Guru ka khalsa wahe guru ki fateh,

  8. OK…..loved it!!!
    But taking into account this particular platform, only one “nahhra” of
    “Bole So Nihal…..”should suffice, unless it is executed appealingly.

  9. ਜ਼ਿੰਦਾਬਾਦ ਜਸ਼ਟੰਨ ਟਰੂਡੰਉ ਵੈਰੀਂ ਨਾਈਸ਼ ਵੈਰੀਂ ਪੰਜਾਬ

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