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Archived - Bringing communities together at the Indian Summer Festival
Government of Canada supports series of intercultural community events
July 6, 2014 — Vancouver, BC — Tim Uppal, Minister of State for Multiculturalism, met with board members of the Indian Summer Arts Society to discuss the Let’s Talk series, which has been designed to promote intercultural understanding and dialogue.
This series of accessible and intercultural community events, funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Inter-Action Program, will bring diverse communities together and feature performers from a wide variety of faiths and communities. The goal of the events is to promote greater awareness and understanding of faith, immigration, integration and tolerance.
During Minister Uppal’s visit today to the Indian Summer Festival, he emphasized the government’s commitment to recognizing the contributions and experience of the Indo-Canadian community. He outlined various initiatives the Government of Canada is undertaking to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the tragic event of the Komagata Maru, including:
- Designing and distributing an educational poster to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Komagata Maru incident;
- Participating in the unveiling of Canada Post’s Komagata Maru stamp at the Asian Heritage Month launch reception on May 6;
- Creating a Web page on CIC’s Web site to provide information on the tragedy and Canada’s role; and
- Providing funding of up to $89,500 for the Komagata Maru: Lions of the Sea exhibit, which will bring the story of the Komagata Maru to life and help educate Canadians on Sikh history.
- The Komagata Maru arrived in Vancouver harbour in 1914 carrying 376 passengers of Indian descent, most of whom were not allowed to land. This was because the ship did not make a direct journey to Canada, as prescribed by Canada’s Continuous Journeys clause, which was in place at the time. After two months under difficult conditions, the ship and most of its passengers were forced to return to India where, in a subsequent clash with British soldiers, 19 passengers died.
- In May 2008, the Government of Canada passed a unanimous motion in the House of Commons, recognizing the Komagata Maru incident and apologizing to those who were directly affected. On August 3, 2008, Prime Minister Harper conveyed that apology to the Indo-Canadian community in Surrey, BC.
- CIC has provided funding, through the Community Historical Recognition Program (CHRP), toward a number of projects that recognize and raise awareness of the Indo-Canadian immigration experience.
- The CHRP was announced in 2006 and launched in 2008, closing successfully in March 2013. Through the CHRP, $13.5 million was made available to support 68 community projects.
“Canada is strong because we find unity in diversity, and our government is committed to bringing various communities together to promote intercultural awareness. Today, I am pleased to participate in the Indian Summer Festival, which is helping to introduce so many individuals to South Asian culture, and will lead to greater cultural understanding.”
Tim Uppal, Minister of State for Multiculturalism
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