TODAY IN HISTORY: November 9 Expelled Indiams arrive in Camada
History Through Our Eyes: Nov. 9, 1972, new arrivals from Uganda
Over a six-week period in the fall of 1972, several chartered planes bearing members of Uganda’s South Asian minority arrived in Montreal.
Updated: November 9, 2019
Over a six-week period in the fall of 1972, several chartered planes bearing members of Uganda’s South Asian minority arrived in Montreal. Dictator Idi Amin was expelling them from the only country that many had ever known. The deadline was Nov. 8.
Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau agreed to welcome a few thousand after receiving a request from his friend the Aga Khan, the leader of the Ismaili Muslims, the religious group to which most belonged.
Between Sept. 28 and Nov. 9, 4,450 flew in, able to bring few possessions. In a well-oiled operation, they were taken to the Longue Pointe military base. The next day, they were asked to select a destination within Canada after talking with job counsellors, loaned money for a ticket, and quickly sent on their way. About 450 opted to stay in Montreal, we reported.
Canada, which had sent officials to Uganda to process applications, picked the “cream of the crop,” as one official put it. Many had entrepreneurial and/or professional skills. Britain took a larger number, however.
Manpower and Immigration Minister Bryce Mackasey greeted the first contingent at the airport. In our Sept. 29 edition, we quoted his words of welcome: “You are following in the footsteps of Hungarians, Czechs, Tibetans and others who have come to Canada after they were displaced as a result of turbulence in world events. I am sure you will greatly enrich our cultural mosaic.”
The last group landed on Nov. 9. Garth Pritchard’s photo of one of the earlier arrivals — identified only as Mrs. Varu, holding a baby — was published that day along with a column by Peter Desbarats, headlined “Ugandan airlift ends and Canada can be proud of part it played.”
—— AUTO – GENERATED; Published (Halifax Canada Time AST) on: November 09, 2019 at 03:36PM