Prime Minister Justin Trudeau brought his “sunny ways” brand of politics to a sunlit Abbotsford podium Friday afternoon.
The prime minister is wrapping up a west coast tour that began in Seattle, where he met with Microsoft executives and Washington governor Jay Inslee, and made several stops in Metro Vancouver, including a fundraising dinner last night.
This morning he was in Cloverdale, where he visited the Don Christian Recreation Centre to discuss the federal Canada Child Benefit.
Trudeau gave a 10-minute speech at the Gur Sikh Temple after partaking in prayer and touring the national historic site.
“It’s a tremendous pleasure to be here at the Gur Sikh Temple in Abbotsford, which has been a pinnacle of this community for over a hundred years,” he said, addressing the crowd of more than 250 people gathered, including local MPs, mayors, councillors and leaders of faith communities.
In his speech, Trudeau extolled Canada’s strengths as a multicultural nation while also acknowledging its failures and missteps in its history, including the treatment of indigneous people.
The speech was given on the one-year anniversary of Trudeau’s apology in parliament for the Canadian government’s actions in the Komagata Maru incident, which he called a “blight on Canada’s mostly proud history.”
“The year was 1914 a steam ship sailed into Burrard Inlet in Vancouver. There were 376 people on board looking for hope, looking for opportunity. They caught a glimpse of the Canadian dream and we turned them away. Save for a few, the passengers were forced to turn around and go back to India. The consequences that awaited them there were tragic.”
Upon their return to India and docked at Budge Budge, a riot erupted as passengers resisted arrest by British police. Nineteen died and many more were arrested.
Trudeau called it a “black mark in our history books.”
The prime minister also spoke about 2017 being Canada’s 150th anniversary since confederation.
“In 150 this year, we are celebrating things like youth and environment,” he said. “We’re also celebrating diversity and we are also acknowledging the mistakes of the past and, as we talk about the Komagata Maru, so too must we speak of reconciliation with indigenous peoples, of understanding the mistakes that were made, the choices that were deliberately made to marginalize, to ignore, to break the bonds of respect that should have united us all.”
HAPPENING NOW: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaking in Abbotsford. SEE MORE: http://www.abbynews.com/news/justin-trudeau-coming-to-abbotsford/Posted by AbbyNews on Friday, May 19, 2017