Theworld has witnessed international political confrontations thatresult in abuse of human rights in different countries. Japandeclared war against Canada in 1942 without realizing the effects ofthe aggressions. Canada responded by enacting the War Measures Actthat mandated all governments to intern Japanese immigrants living inthe country’s provinces like British Columbia. Besides interningthe immigrants in concentration camps, the law allowed Canadianauthorities across the country to seize non-transportable Japaneseassets. The essay explores the internment of Japanese immigrants inBritish Columbia by using two primary sources and an American historyjournal article to compare and contrast the racial issue.
Canadaincarcerated over twenty-two thousand Japanese immigrants from theBritish Columbia between 1942. The British Columbia governmentrounded up Canadian Japanese and dispersed them to road labor camps,sugar beet farms, or settled them in isolated mining villages (Greg5). Moreover, the government allowed their officials to confiscateand sell Japanese assets at a price below the market value. Thegovernment established a protected area away from the Canadians alongthe Pacific coastline and confined all Japanese immigrants (Taylor1). The quarantine zones in Canada exploited Japanese men as eitheras lumberjacks or road construction workers.
Theprimary sources reveal government activities and provide a legalframework for the internment. Furthermore, the government curtailedJapanese Canadians from exercising the suffrage rights through theCouncil of Ottawa notice. On the other hand, the journal explains theactual events of interning the Japanese. For example, Nisei fromBritish Columbia suffered because of the effects of disfranchisementthat lasted until 1949. The Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie Kingdesigned and coordinated the internment efforts to ensure thesecurity of Canadian businesses and society (Greg 5). BritishColumbia whites passed laws that ensured that Japanese Canadian losttheir citizenship. Ottawa passed a policy that restricted movement ofJapanese into the British Columbia region until 1949 when thegovernment permitted them to return. Besides, the British Columbialegislators and local leaders branded Japanese Canadians as traitorsto delay their return to the region (Greg 6).
Theheightened fear among the British Columbia residents following thePearl Harbor attack in America spurred internment of JapaneseCanadians. In fact, Canadians argued that the Japanese fishermen werecharting the coastline on behalf of the Japanese navy. Businesspartners in Ottawa concluded that the immigrants were spies for theJapanese government. Canada confronted the issue by issuing a noticeto all Japanese persons to remain interned in protected areas only.The Minster of Justice Louis S. St. Laurent issued the Orderin Council of Ottawa datedFebruary 2, 1942, in which prohibited Japanese from owning vehicles,transmitters, ammunition, or explosives in protected areas. Theprimary sources indicate that the incarceration of Japanese peopletook effect in 1942. Similarly, the British Columbia SecurityCommissioner Austin C. Taylor issued the another notice thatprohibited all Japanese Canadians from accessing British Columbia,Lulu Island, Sea Island, District of Queensborough, and Ioco amongother areas.
Theprimary sources reveal the direct government action to intern theJapanese Canadians while the American article articulates the effectsof the action. The journal provides detailed information on theconsequences of the internment. The author asserts that the JapaneseCanadians lost their assets and property. Government agents wereallowed through the national and local government notices toconfiscate the immigrants’ property. On the other hand, the primarysources assert the government’s stand on the presence of Japanesepeople in protected zones. Japanese were allowed to live in aquarantine zone only. Besides, the notice mentions the consequencesof disobeying the order to intern Japanese immigrants. In particular,the Minister of Justice allowed Canadian officers of law to searchwithout a warranty all Japanese premises to seize all outlawed assetsand property.
Inconclusion, the notices from the ministry of justice and the BritishColumbia Commissioner provide evidence of the direct governmentorders to intern Japanese Canadians. The primary sources record thegovernment’s action to incarcerate people of Japanese origin as asecurity measure in response to the aggressive activities of Japanduring World War II. Contrastingly, the journal discusses the eventssurrounding the internment of Japanese immigrants and mentions theground events that took place during the time. The author refers tothe loss of Japanese freedom, disfranchisement, and the seizure ofJapanese property after losing Canadian citizenship.
Greg,Robinson. “A Tragedy of Democracy: Japanese Confinement in NorthAmerica.”Journal of Transnational American Studies,vol. 2, no. 1, 2010, http://escholarship.org/uc/item/0qn09858.Accessed 13 Sep. 2016.
Orderin Council of Ottawa. “Notice to all Persons of Japanese RacialOrigin.” Councilof Ottawa,26 Feb. 1942,http://www.exordio.com/1939-1945/codex/Documentos/order_council_ottawa.html.Accessed 13 Sep. 2016.
Taylor,Austin. “Notice to All Japanese Persons and Persons of JapaneseRacial Origin.” BritishColumbia Security Commission, 1942,http://www.lib.washington.edu/specialcollections/collections/exhibits/harmony/canada.Accessed 13 Sep. 2016.