Organizers said they were led to believe Mr. Harper would say that the federal government would formally apologize in Parliament later this fall for the incident in which Canada for racist reasons turned back a vessel with more than 300 Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims aboard.They believed that the event in the park would be used "to announce" the formal apology and at the request of the PMO, they prepared and forwarded a draft of a "gracious thank-you" speech that they would deliver after Harper made his remarks.
Then days before the event they “heard unofficially” that Harper would only apologize in the park and there would be no official record in parliament.Well according to Jason Kenney, our Secretary of State for Multiculturalism, who started arranging the event a year ago, this is all sour grapes by some community leaders to make a controversy.
Through emails they strongly strongly advised the PMO that an apology in the park without an apology in Parliament would not be welcome.
But Mr. Harper ignored their advice. He offered the apology and left the stage immediately afterward, without waiting to see if his host would deliver the pre-arranged thank you speech.
And as Kenney further explained...
This was a single incident that affected about 350 non Canadians of some 90 years ago.
We're mindful that each of these are different and unique historical experiences.
The incident was significantly different than the Chinese head tax that affected tens of thousands of Canadian residents over 80 years and the residential school policies that affected hundreds of thousands of Canadian citizens over several decades.
Imagine the nerve of some disgruntled community leaders trying to make political gain out of a photo op that Jason had been working on for over a year.
Don't they realize that the size of a Tory apology depends upon the size of the political gain.
I don't think empathy is one of Jason's strong suits.
Reference the Globe and Mail here.