Prime Minister Trudeau delivers remarks at the Khalsa Diwan Society’s Ross Street Gurdwara
Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa. Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh.
Good morning everyone and Happy Vaisakhi. I want to begin by recognizing that we are on the traditional Coast Salish territory of the Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh, and Squamish peoples. Thank you so much for inviting me back to this beautiful temple to share in this important day, and a special thank you to Malkiat Dhami, the president of the Khalsa Diwan Society for the welcome. I also want to recognize my friend Harjit; Minister Sajjan. When we talk about the contributions of Sikh Canadians, Harjit is a true example. Before serving as a Member of Parliament, Minister Sajjan was a commanding officer of the British Columbia Regiment Duke of Connaught’s Own and a member of the Vancouver Police Force. No matter what he does, he is always working for the people around him. And just like Harjit, proud Sikh Canadians from across the country serve their communities every single day, whether as innovative local business owners or politicians of every political stripe, including the outstanding Lower Mainland MPs who I'm lucky to have on my team and up here beside me.
That dedication to serving others is at the heart of why we are here today. For more than 300 years, Sikhs have come together in April to mark the creation of the Khalsa of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji. When I've had the honour of being part of Vaisakhi events before, I've always noticed that the values of equality and social justice in the Sikh faith are most clearly found in people's everyday actions. Look no further than the volunteers here this morning doing seva and preparing langar. Or the generosity of the community in helping Afghan Sikh refugees build a new life in Canada through private sponsorship -- a program that has been around for 40 years and that our government has strengthened because we know its value.
My friends, it's part of the Canadian identity to help. That commitment to service and equality goes beyond any one day or any one event because it's fundamental to who we are as a country. The Sikh community is a part of Canada's history. That's why Sukh Dhaliwal worked so hard to make April Sikh Heritage Month. Thanks to his leadership, starting next year, every spring we'll celebrate 120 years of accomplishments by this community.
We also have to be aware of the injustices the community has suffered. Three years ago, I officially apologized on behalf of the Government of Canada for the Komagata Maru incident, and I would like to thank the people here in Vancouver and across the country, including the Khalsa Diwan Society, without whom that would not have been possible. It is clear that the Sikh community enriches and strengthens our country.
Just a few days from now. We will mark the 37th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Rightly so, the Charter is part of how we define ourselves as a country. It's our promise that everyone, no matter what religion they practice, no matter the colour of their skin, is equal and that the Five Ks are protected. It's our Charter that defends what everyone here already knows, that we are stronger as a community and as a country not in spite of our differences but because of our differences. Truly we are stronger because of communities like this one. Truly that is something to celebrate.
So, thank you again for inviting me back here today.
Happy Vaisakhi. Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa. Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh.