Home > abuse, abuse of power, Canada, Government, Prejudice, stereotyping, Uncategorized > Sikh Celebration Exposes Yet Another Dark Period In Canada’s History Not Taught In Canadian Schools

Sikh Celebration Exposes Yet Another Dark Period In Canada’s History Not Taught In Canadian Schools


Stephen Harper returns Canada to her racist past through exclusionary immigration laws.

Stephen Harper returns Canada to her racist past through exclusionary immigration laws.

Last weekend I was privileged to witness the annual Sikh parade in my neighborhood and got to, learn a little more about the Sikh’s who live in my community and their struggle to be allowed into Canada.  It would seem that the desire to keep Canada’s majority population white was considered a priority of western Canada when the Komagata Maru arrived in Vancouver’s Burrard Inlet, May 23, 1914 with 376 passengers on board of which, 340 Sikhs, 24 Muslims, 12 Hindus and were forced to leave Canadian territorial waters on July 23, 1914, under a Canadian government ordered naval escort.  It would seem that Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party of Canada have chosen to go back in time and try to succeed where other politicians before them failed with their racist policies, practices and laws directed at making it very difficult for Southern Asians to immigrate to Canada and definitely next to impossible to be considered and accepted by Canada as  legitimate refugees.  In approximately one year Stephen Harper wipe out any progress made by Southern Asians to be treated fairly under Canada’s immigration system as he tries to realise his dream and ultimate fantasy of what he calls a “Canada for true Canadians” and his predecessors and his inspiration called “Keeping Canada White”.  Like the racist leaders of the past that he admires and tries to emulate, I think I can safely say that his policies were taken right off of a take a page of old exclusion laws written by those who were profoundly racist and didn’t know it. One of those people, those not prejudice politicians that the west seems to breed said with the conviction of the just, “I have nothing against these people accept that they are not White and therefore they cannot be allowed to get a foot hold in Canada, because allowing them to do so could see them one day making the White majority a White minority.”  It is with this rational of fighting a hypothetical threat and therefore war of self-preservation that convinces him and all other racist that they are not racist at all, but simply taking measures to ensure that Canada’s European heritage, culture and religion and languages are what is meant as being truly Canadian.

The fear of being swallowed up by non whites and people of different cultures and religions seemed to have caused the political leaders of Canada, in particular the politicians of Western Canada to become so fearful that they  began to enact laws concerning citizenship and immigration that were designed to make it impossible to meet the standards set for eligibility for Southern Asians. An example of that is, (Even though it was common knowledge that it was impossible to get a non stop direct trip on a steamship from most parts of Southern Asia to Canada, because steamship lines refused to do it,  the Canadian government of the day enacted a law that stated that to be eligible for entry into Canada, those wishing to immigrate to Canada from Southern Asia had to travel from point of originating country to Canada directly, non stop. Once this stipulation was made law the Canadian government was ensured that only if those wishing to immigrate to Canada from Southern Asia  were capable of doing the impossible Canada would not have to accept any immigrants from Southern Asia of pure Southern Asian heritage. Even though the Sikhs, the Hindus and the Muslims on board the ship were originally from India and  were considered part of the British Commonwealth, once the British Empire and now referred to as just the Commonwealth of Nations, just like Canadians the Canadian government viewed them as an invading horde and put them under siege, refusing to let them disembark.  They were starved, accosted by police in an effort to get them to leave and finally when none of that worked the Canadian government dispatched naval ships to force them to leave and return to India.  Those from Southern Asia that did manage to immigrate to Canada successfully were welcomed with racist laws  that withheld their right to vote and so left them powerless and with no say in a hostile new world that wanted them gone. So strong was the fear of them that not even the commonality of being part of the British commonwealth was enough to save them from the hostility of the people of Western Canada and her politicians.  I always knew that Asians back in that day had been singled out by the governments of Western Canada for racist exclusionary practices, but I had only heard of the racist and prohibitive laws and attitudes towards the Chinese and the Japanese. At no time did I ever consider, or was I taught about the even more rigid rules designed to keep out the Southern Asians whose core countries include, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.  Sometimes Afghanistan, the British Indian Ocean Territory, Myanmar, and the Tibet Autonomous Region are included in that group of countries considered South Asian as well.

As I stood their watching the floats pass and the Sikh men women and children walk by in their traditional attire I wondered who had persecuted these people, what was the reference to the 100 year struggle for equality and fairness was all about and why they were reminding us watching that they fought were injured and died in World War Two as did other Canadians, I began to realise that these Sikhs were not talking about fighting for their rights in another country they were talking about their struggle of over a 100 years to achieve equality, fairness and basic human rights in Canada?  This was yet another group of people who finally found a way to bring out into the light of day the racist exclusionary laws and policies of Canada that they were faced to endure and overcome in the past if they wish to remain in Canada and make a better life for their children. I realised as I watched these people walk by that they and all Southern Asians were still being dealt an injustice, because being practicing Sikhs was not the main reason they were being refused entrance into Canada; the reason they were being refused entrance into Canada was that they were Southern Asians and not of European heritage, culture, religion and language, a combination that Canada’s all White government and the White majority of Canada’s population feared would eventually make them a minority, if not end their very existence as pure White European presence in Canada. Part of Stephen Harper  legacy will be the Prime Minister of Canada responsible for taking Canada back into this dark time in our history of fear and racist policies and laws. If Stephen Harper and his party are not stopped, what he and the Conservative Party of Canada have done to the refugees on the Sun Sea are just the beginning of a whole lot of racist behavior that Canada will find itself apologising for in our future.

Canada under Stephen Harper’s leadership has quickly become known for apologising to people who were hurt and treated unfairly by Canadian governments when Canada was a young fledgling, the problem however is that Canada has only changed what it was forced to, in order to save face internationally, but the root cause of the problem still exists in the government of Stephen Harper and in the hearts of those who would support him and his policies that saw over 400 Southern Asian, men women and children jailed over 4 years ago for daring to flee to Canada seeking asylum from tyranny and oppression. We as Canadian citizens for the most part witnessed this government make new exclusionary laws to suit their purposes and watched them applied retroactively to these innocent people and as a country and a people we shamefully let Stephen Harper get away with it and some of us proud  Canadians even cheered him on and found a way to justify his actions.   The problem with this apology  to the Sikhs and the Southern Asians whose ancestors were mistreated, is the same problem as the apology made to our First Nations and that is the apologies are hollow, made with no desire and with no intention to make meaningful changes to right the wrongs.  On side of  their mouth this government issues apologies for past actions and on the other side they justify the need to enact laws that enable them to continue the offensive actions of the past, or re-establish the very laws that prohibited them from continuing the offensive behavior that they are apologising for.

Canada has always been and still is good at hiding the racist  history that it does not want known, shared, or remembered, but once you start to understand how racist Canada was and still is and from where this racism was enforced with the most enthusiasm,  it is easier to understand Stephen Harper’s statement in which he said, “We have a responsibility to ensure that we keep Canada for real Canadians. Canadians that share a common European ancestry, heritage, customs and religion.”  Sounds pretty much like the that western politician who said, “I have nothing against these people, but we must keep Canada white.”  Unless we stop burying our dark past that we are not proud of as a nation and start teaching it in our schools, I believe nothing will change and politicians like Stephen Harper will be standing up on platforms in another 100 years and making the same hollow promises in an attempt to make amends for abuses that could have been and should have avoided, through education of the Canadian people creating a better understanding of the abuses that these people have suffered and the realisation that this can not be allowed to continue and indeed there was and still is a problem that needs to be addressed and be made right.

In Quebec, Quebecers said no to Pauline Marois’s  offensive, racist Charter of Quebec Values and put an end to her political career, but I think that it is time for Canadians to rid itself of all politicians who would make their platform of a successful city, province, or Canada, reliant on the suppression of the rights and freedoms of any person or persons based on culture, heritage, religion, or language.  I wonder what is the next dark secret of Canada’s past that will be brought into the light of day and when if ever there will be a true and honest history of Canada taught in our schools?

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