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 harbor, 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 acknowledgment 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.
To read more, please visit the SASI Blog page.
For more images, please visit the SASI flickr page.
Stephen Harper, May 2011
Prime Minister Stephen Harper visited the National Historic Site during the Centennial year celebrations of the Heritage site. The visit was a part of a one day nagar kirtan and Sikh parade. OMNI news Punjabi Edition also was live on location during the Centennial year celebratory event. For more images from this celebration, please visit here
Jean Chretien, July 2002
Prime Minister Jean Chretien visited the Gur Sikh Temple to announce that it will be designated as a National Historic Site of Canada. This was a very momentous occasion for the entire community of Abbotsford and based on incredible and meaningful work supported by a number of community leaders and political figures. It was because of these efforts that Prime Minister Jean Chretien heard of this wonderful development and his office suggested to Sheila Copps that he wanted to take part in the designation of the gurdwara.
This was to be the first time that the Prime Minister was to come to the gurdwara. On the day of the designation of the Gur Sikh Temple as a National Historic Site, a number of people from far and near came to the site. A massive stage was set up outside the Gur Sikh temple. Prime Minister Jean Chretien came along with Herb Dhaliwal, who was the minister then. Sheila Copps and George Ferguson, the Mayor of Abbotsford, also participated. At that function, on the 31st July of 2002, Prime Minister Jean Chretien declared Gur Sikh temple as the Canadian National Historic Site.