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  • Internment of Japanese Canadians

    Hi

    Like most I was aware of the large program of internment of Japanese Americans, but I never thought the Canadians did the same, and in some aspects they went further than the Americans!

    Jan. 19 is an ignominious and little-known landmark on the Canadian calendar. It was on this date in 1943 that Canadian politicians authorized the forced sale of all of the homes, businesses, farms and possessions of Japanese Canadians who had been uprooted from coastal British Columbia in the previous year under the pretext of national security. The lives of affected Japanese Canadians would never be the same.


    The dispossession of property was uniquely Canadian. Notably, the United States, which also interned citizens of Japanese descent, refrained from forcing the sale of their property and personal belongings so that many could return to their lives at the end of the war. Not in Canada, where the hard work of generations of Japanese-Canadian families and communities was obliterated by the state.
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/opini...ticle28250602/

    Regards

    Andy H
    "You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life." Churchill

    "I'm no reactionary.Christ on the Mountain! I'm as idealistic as Hell" Eisenhower

  • #2
    Originally posted by Andy H View Post
    Hi

    Like most I was aware of the large program of internment of Japanese Americans, but I never thought the Canadians did the same, and in some aspects they went further than the Americans!


    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/opini...ticle28250602/

    Regards

    Andy H
    Hi Andy

    I thought I'd read PM McKenzie King's diary for that day (and a few days earlier) to see if he discussed the Order-in-Council 469 authorizing action against Japanese Canadians. In his typed, single spaced 8 pages devoted to the date (Jan 19th, 1943) not one word was mentioned about it by king. The war in Canada was run by orders in council by cabinet with very little reference to Parliament. Perhaps that's a clue of why internment was harsher than in the United States.

    There were some interesting other events that day recorded in his diary. On that date King met with Bracken who briefed him on the Casablanca conference which was going on then, he met with Eleanor Roosevelt who was in Ottawa (in January!) for some unknown reason, and with Princess Juliana, who later would be Queen of the Netherlands and was refuge in Ottawa, and who just had a baby there and the delivery room at the Ottawa Hospital was declared Dutch territory.There was also a labour unrest brewing which was the focus of cabinet that day. So the Prime minister was much too busy to give much diary discussion about the Japanese on the West Coast.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Andy H View Post
      Hi

      Like most I was aware of the large program of internment of Japanese Americans, but I never thought the Canadians did the same, and in some aspects they went further than the Americans!


      http://www.theglobeandmail.com/opini...ticle28250602/

      Regards

      Andy H
      I've met Japanese Canadians that told me about their parents being held at Neys Prisoners Cove just before Marathon, Ontario on Lake Superior.
      My Dads Uncle served as a guard there after his tank was destroyed in France & lived there with his Scotch Bride from London, England.
      This POW camp had watch towers & barbed wire much like the one @ Red Rock, Ontario near Thunder Bay, Ontario (Lake Superior) which also had a mix of German & Japanese.
      Little Third Reich on Lake Superior (A History Of Canadian Internment Camp R) by Ernest Robert Zimmerman (Lakehead University History Department)deals with the POW Camp @ Red Rock, Ontario.

      There were also bush camps like those up by Armstrong Station, Ontario but they lacked the barbed wire & watch towers.
      These POW's were some times taken out on loan like a library book to assist in building winter roads for Cat Trains.
      They would assist the American Corps of Engineers in the construction of these winter roads to mines like Chrome Lake or Dams like Summit Control Dam & Waboose Dam (Ogoki Diversion Project).

      I think that a lot of information on the subject of POW camps has been kept quiet on the until now.

      Regards,Patrick

      Comment


      • #4
        Canada's history on race is far from perfect.

        The experience of Canada's Nisei was affected by the rampant racism that was directed at them, particularly on the west coast. There were "anti-oriental" riots in Vancouver in 1907 which were encouraged by an organized riot against Sikh mill workers in Bellingham, Washington. The anti-Japanese/Chinese groups took that as a signal to attack the Chinese/Japanese communities in Vancouver and Steveston (small town south of Vancouver, a fishing port and home to a sizeable Japanese community). There were anti-asian exclusion leagues in Vancouver and a small but active KKK group whose primary focus was on Japanese and Chinese immigrants.

        The attack on Pearl Harbor, Hong Kong and SE Asia was all the excuse these anti-Japanese groups in Vancouver needed to seize farms, fishing boats and businesses.

        What was really execrable about the Canada's treatment of the Nisei was the outright refusal to accept any Japanese-Canadian volunteers for the armed services, even when casualties among the Canadian army in Italy in '43 and '44 were causing operational problems. Japanese Canadians had already served in WW I and the refusal to accept any volunteers can be chalked up to bigotry. Consider the contributions of Japanese-Americans in WW 2 and this contrasts most unfavourably on the Canadian government at that time.

        At the end the actions of the Mulroney government went far to redress the wrongs done to the Japanese Canadians and help Canada deal with it's past.
        Last edited by ChazB; 26 Jan 16, 21:04.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by ChazB View Post
          What was really execrable about the Canada's treatment of the Nisei was the outright refusal to accept any Japanese-Canadian volunteers for the armed services, even when casualties among the Canadian army in Italy in '43 and '44 were causing operational problems. Japanese Canadians had already served in WW I and the refusal to accept any volunteers can be chalked up to bigotry. Consider the contributions of Japanese-Americans in WW 2 and this contrasts most unfavourably on the Canadian government at that time.


          From the Canadian Encyclopedia:
          Japanese Canadians.:

          During the Second World War, Nisei men tried to follow in the footsteps of the Issei veterans by enlisting in the armed forces. They knew that enlistment would enfranchise not only the soldier but also his wife. Only 32 Nisei succeeded in enlisting before December 1941 when Japan attacked the US base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. Most of the 32 were Japanese Albertans and one, Jack Nakamura of Vancouver, enlisted by travelling east until he persuaded a recruiting officer in Montréal to sign him up. In 1945, the British government requested the right to recruit Japanese Canadians as translators for the British forces. Embarrassed, the federal government permitted 119 Nisei men (most of whom had been expelled from their homes in BC and whose families were in detention sites) to enlist as translators in the Canadian Intelligence Corps. The federal government then added a provision to the 1945 Soldiers’ Vote Act disenfranchising any Japanese Canadian who had not previously had the right to vote. Nisei veterans from BC finally got the franchise in 1949 along with all other adult Japanese Canadians.
          A very very small number of Canadian Nisei were allowed to serve in the Canadian forces. The fact that they volunteered at all after the treatment they received at the hands of their government is a testament to their characters. Roy Ito's book We Went to War. The Story of Japanese Canadians Who Served During the First and Second World Wars is very hard to find but a must read on the subject of Japanese Canadian soldiers in both World Wars.

          Last edited by CarpeDiem; 26 Jan 16, 21:18.

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          • #6
            Thanks for the clarification, CarpeDiem. That very small number- some 32 men contrasts poorly with the total number interned- some 30,000.

            Can't come up with any other reason for the lack of interest in Canadian Nisei volunteers than bigotry personally- I'm pretty sure that most who wanted to volunteer were turned away.

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