Enemy of Sikhs - Honoured Annually by Government of Canada sign now


I am sufficient of physiologist to believe that the two races cannot combine and that no great middle race can arise from the mixture of the Mongolian and the Arian ... [the Chinese immigrant] has no common interest with us...gives us his labor and is paid for it, and is valuable, the same as a threshing machine or any other agricultural implement which we may borrow from the United States or hire and return to its owner
--Sir John A McDonald, 1883, uttered in the House of Commons

That Canada should desire to restrict immigration from the Orient is regarded as natural, that Canada should remain a white mans country is believed to be not only desirable for economic and social reasons, but highly necessary on political and national grounds.
--Report by W.L. Mackenzie King on his Mission to England to Confer with the British Authorities on the Subject of: Immigration to Canada from the Orient and Immigration from India in Particular.

Only in the last 30 years has Canada opened up its immigration to allow for people of developing countries. One only has to look to the Komagata Maru incident to be reminded of the racist views Canada's government once held. Canada in no way should honour those racist views.

Every September William C. Hopkinson is honoured by your department. He is honoured as a hero who died in "the performance of his duties". Mr. Hopkinson was in fact a spy for the British and American governments as well as a Canadian Immigration official. Mr. Hopkinson was not killed in the performance of his duties but was rather gunned down by a man who is considered a hero by Indians everywhere; especially Sikhs.

William Hopkinson is a name that is well known to the Sikh community. If you were to enter the langar hall of the Khalsa Diwan Society Gurdwara (the main Sikh temple in Vancouver), you would find the picture of Mewa Singh hanging prominently in the centre of the hall. Mewa Singh is the man who assassinated Mr. Hopkinson. He is considered a martyr and hero by Sikhs everywhere. Mewa Singhs act is honored every year worldwide at Sikh temples.

It is not that Sikhs condone assassination; rather commemorating the act of Mewa Singh reminds us each year of the struggle that Sikhs had to endure to gain some measure of equality in Canada.

Since most of the Indian immigrants arriving in Canada were Sikhs that had served in the British armed forces, the bulk of them were coming from Hong Kong and Shanghai. In order to prevent their immigration, Canada drafted the notorious continuous journey provision that was incorporated into the Immigration Act of 1910. In addition, Canadian law stipulated that Immigrants from India had to have in their possession $200 while immigrants from Europe needed only $25. In order to quell the potential nationalist sentiments among Indians living in Canada and the United States, William C. Hopkinson was hired to run a ring of informants that would spy on Indians in Canada and the United States. Although under the employ of the Canadian Department of the Interior he was also on the payroll of the Central Intelligence Division of India and the US immigration office in Vancouver.

In 1908, the Canadian government hatched a scheme to send all the Indians currently residing in British Columbia to Honduras. Hopkinson escorted two Sikh representatives to Honduras in the hopes that they would then persuade the community that Honduras would be a suitable site for relocation. Much to the dismay of Hopkinson, the Sikhs returned to Canada with unfavorable reports about Honduras. Hopkinson and other Immigration officials attempted to intimidate the Sikhs by threatening them with deportation on the grounds of vagrancy.

Needless to say, Hopkinson was a well-known figure to the East Indian Community not only for the ring of informants that he commanded but because of the active role he played in endeavors to prevent Indian Immigration. Not surprisingly, Hopkinson is cited as an important figure in Indian exclusion in the United States as well. I invite you to visit the following web-site: www.geocities.com:0080/sbkoritala/history.htm. This web-site lists the top 18 rogues that lead to the persecution of Indians in the US: William C. Hopkinson is listed as #1 beating out Theodore Roosevelt (#4) and Rudyard Kipling (#7).


The Komagata Maru Incident
The Komagata Maru incident is perhaps the most overtly racist incident in Canadian Immigration history. Perhaps more to the point, no single event in Canadian history better characterizes or symbolizes the Indo-Canadian experience of exclusion. The Komagata Maru was a challenge to the continuous journey provision that stipulated that only those that had traveled continuously from their country of origin would be granted entry to Canada; a creative means of preventing immigration from India since no continuous journey from India to Canada existed.

A Sikh entrepreneur named Gurdit Singh chartered a vessel named the Komagata Maru that would travel continuously from Calcutta to Vancouver. There were 376 passengers on board (24 Muslims, 12 Hindus and 340 Sikhs) all of whom were remanded on the vessel while government representatives Malcolm Reid, William C. Hopkinson and H.H. Stevens, the leader of the Asiatic Exclusion League, negotiated with Gurdit Singh. The heat of the summer made conditions on the ship intolerable and food and water were scarce. The Canadian Navy prevented any communication between the ship and shore. Local Sikhs raised money to help pay for food, legal fees and even offered to pay the $200 fee for each immigrant. Ultimately only 20 returning residents, the ships doctor and his family were allowed to land . After spending six months on board the vessel, upon return to India the passengers were met by British soldiers who opened fire on the passengers as they disembarked. Twenty-six people were killed, 35 were seriously wounded and the rest were arrested, tortured and many were hanged.

The assassination of Inspector Hopkinson
Meanwhile, the fate of the crew of the Komagata Maru reached the Canadian Sikhs and morale was low. The Sikhs perceived Hopkinson as the lead figure in the Komagata Maru incident and many claimed that he had taken bribes from them . Clearly, Hopkinson could not have played the central role in the Komagata Maru incident that many of his detractors claim; there were a number of factors at work preventing the landing of the crew.

However, that Hopkinson was a key figure in preventing Indian Immigration to Canada and the US as well as making the lives of Indians residing in Canada difficult is indisputable. His primary role was to use his language skills and ties within the Sikh community to keep the East Indian immigration problem in check. In order to fulfill this role, he needed the help of the ring of informants that he had on his payroll. The informants that he used to spy on the Indian community within British Columbia were well known.

On 5 October 1914, Bela Singh, one of Hopkinsons informants known for his use of intimidation to gather information , entered the Vancouver Gurdwara (Sikh temple) to attend the funeral of one of his associates. A scuffle ensued in the temple and Bela Singh shot three people killing two of them. Bela Singh was arrested and charged with murder.

As is the case for all religions, funerals are a time for peaceful reflection and tranquility. That Hopkinsons man would choose to open fire in the Sikh place of worship was viewed as intolerable. To make matters even worse for himself, Hopkinson decided to testify on behalf of Bela Singh to support his claim that he was acting in self-defense. If Hopkinson testified on behalf of Bela Singh it was conceivable that Bela Singh would not receive the death penalty; for that matter he might even be acquitted. The Sikh community now had many things to blame Hopkinson for. His decision to support Bela Singh was the straw that broke the camels back.

On 21 October, 1914, as Inspector Hopkinson was entering the court house to testify on behalf of Bela Singh, Mewa Singh approached him and shot him several times with two separate revolvers. Mewa Singh did not flee the scene of the crime; instead he stood where the crime was committed in order to be taken into custody. Mewa Singhs trial was a curious one; there was no defense and the evidence, verdict and sentencing took place in one hour and forty minutes. In his statement in the courtroom, Mewa Singh stated that the reason he had committed the crime was that he blamed Hopkinson for the desecration of the Gurdwara at the hands of Bela Singh. Furthermore he asked the justice, Would you think there was any more good left in your church if you saw people shot down and killed in it? On 31 October 1914, Mewa Singh was hung for his crime.

In May 1993, the government of Canada issued an apology to the Sikhs for the Komagata Maru incident.


Hopkinson as a Hero?
In all fairness, there are some groups that consider Hopkinson a hero. The Canadian Department of Immigration contra to Indo-Canadians and Americans of East Indian origin have joined the ranks of those who consider Hopkinson a hero. So who considers Hopkinson a hero?

Upon researching this, I conducted a series of Internet searches to determine what groups actively support Hopkinson as a hero. I uncovered 31 sites that hail William C. Hopkinson a hero. An example of one of these sites is : www.canadafirst.net/our_heritage/hopkinson. However, you should note that the people that run this site call themselves the Immigration Reform Committee and are dedicated to ending all ethnic immigration. It is clear that the people that commemorate the heroism of Hopkinson are racist; The Deparment of Immigration should not join them in this commemoration.

Sign The Petition

Sign with Facebook
OR

If you already have an account please sign in, otherwise register an account for free then sign the petition filling the fields below.
Email and the password will be your account data, you will be able to sign other petitions after logging in.

Privacy in the search engines? You can use a nickname:

Attention, the email address you supply must be valid in order to validate the signature, otherwise it will be deleted.

I confirm registration and I agree to Usage and Limitations of Services

I confirm that I have read the Privacy Policy

I agree to the Personal Data Processing

Shoutbox

Who signed this petition saw these petitions too:

Sign The Petition

Sign with Facebook
OR

If you already have an account please sign in

Comment

I confirm registration and I agree to Usage and Limitations of Services

I confirm that I have read the Privacy Policy

I agree to the Personal Data Processing

Goal
500 / 1000

Latest Signatures

  • 03 January 2016500. Jaswinder Singhs
    I support this petition
  • 29 December 2015499. Iqbal Sj
    I support this petition
  • 26 December 2015498. Puneet K
    I support this petition
  • 24 December 2015497. Ajinder Kauru
    I support this petition
  • 27 November 2015496. Harminder K
    I support this petition
  • 26 November 2015495. Farid A
    I support this petition
  • 17 November 2015494. Amandeep Vazquez
    I support this petition
  • 12 November 2015493. Rajbir Ss
    I support this petition
  • 11 November 2015492. Aniljit S
    I support this petition
  • 07 November 2015491. Parm Odonnell
    I support this petition
  • 06 November 2015490. Thank Youwilliamch
    I support this petition
  • 03 November 2015489. Balbir B
    I support this petition
  • 25 October 2015488. Sundeep Kaurd
    I support this petition
  • 29 September 2015487. Roman N
    I support this petition
  • 21 September 2015486. Simi K
    I support this petition
  • 16 August 2015485. Mandip B
    I support this petition
  • 07 August 2015484. Deshdeep S
    I support this petition
  • 16 July 2015483. Randeep B
    I support this petition
  • 10 July 2015482. Kulpreet S
    I support this petition
  • 17 June 2015481. Parmjit Singhm
    I support this petition
  • 12 June 2015480. Davinder S
    I support this petition
  • 08 June 2015479. Inderpreet S
    I support this petition
  • 02 June 2015478. Gurpreet T
    I support this petition
  • 13 May 2015477. Ryan K
    I support this petition
  • 06 May 2015476. Jaspal Singha
    I support this petition
  • 04 May 2015475. David A
    I support this petition
  • 20 April 2015474. Richard C
    I support this petition

browse all the signatures

Information

Evangeline MaloneBy:
Business and CompaniesIn:
Petition target:
Hon. Elinor Caplan - Minister of Immigration Canada

Tags

No tags

Share

Invite friends from your address book

Embed Codes

direct link

link for html

link for forum without title

link for forum with title

Widgets