Justin Trudeau, May 2017
(From UFV Press Release)
A crowd of excited community members spent Friday afternoon waiting patiently for a special visitor on the grounds of the Gur Sikh Temple national historic site and Sikh Heritage Museum on South Fraser Way in Abbotsford.
And, at around 1:45 pm, they were rewarded as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau emerged from a private tour inside the gurdwara to give a brief address in the courtyard. The visit from the Prime Minister was arranged through the office of Member of Parliament for Mission — Matsqui — Fraser Canyon, and former UFV Board Member, Mr. Jati Sidhu. The Prime Minister spoke about the importance of multiculturalism in Canada, especially during this year as the nation celebrates 150 years since Confederation.
He noted that it had been one year to the day since his government formally apologized in parliament for the 1914 Komagata Maru incident, which saw a ship of Sikh men (and British subjects) intending to immigrate to Canada denied entry in Vancouver harbour, before being forced out and back to India, where they were shot at by British Indian troops with most men were either killed, injured, imprisoned, or forced into exile.Trudeau added that 2017 is a year to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, but also to continue to work on reconciliation and acknowledgement of the injustices suffered by Canada’s Indigenous peoples over several generations.After the speech Trudeau walked through the crowd, shaking hands and posing for selfies with many enthusiastic audience members at the small, invite-only event.
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