Introduction”It is my personal intention, as long as I

Introduction”It is the government’s plan to get these people out of B.C. as fast as possible. It is my personal intention, as long as I remain in public life, to see they never come back here. Let our slogan be for British Columbia: No Japs from the Rockies to the seas”, as proclaimed by Ian MacKenzie, a cabinet minister from British Columbia (“Japanese Internment”).  These remarks show us the racist history of Canada; the majority of its citizens and even the government wanted to “keep Canada white” (Cheung). The minority groups who settled in Canada beforehand were also victims of Canada’s discrimination (Cheung).  The devastating attack on Pearl Harbour in December 1941 gave “powerful politicians, businesses and labour groups” the perfect opportunity to “attack the social and economic base of the thriving Japanese-Canadian community”(Miki and Kobayashi 17).  As a result, all settlers with Japanese ancestry were categorized as “enemy aliens”. Unfortunately, the Japanese-Canadians were punished for the actions of Japan, and Canada’s justifies it by stating that, “Japanese people were not white and they “could” be Japanese spies” (“Japanese Internment Camps”).  Some organizations believed that “Japan was trying to smuggle an army into Canada” (Hydes 23).  Many innocent Japanese-Canadians were forced to leave school, publicly humiliated and isolated from society.   This was completely unjust to the Japanese-Canadians because they have suffered due to the actions of the Japanese government (“History of Japanese Canadians”).  Finally, on September 1988, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney apologizes on behalf of the Parliament (Montgomery).  As asserted by Brian Mulroney:I know that I speak for Members on all sides of the House today in offering to Japanese Canadians the formal and sincere apology of this Parliament for those past injustices against them, against their families, and against their heritage, and our solemn commitment and undertaking to Canadians of every origin that such violations will never again in this country be countenanced or repeated. (Montgomery)The efforts of the Canadian government to make amends for their mistakes in World War Two was necessary; yet it does not make up for the prejudice against Japanese-Canadians, the loss of their belongings and years of internment.  Prejudice Acts In the past, Canada was very discriminative to Japanese-Canadians.  The inequality towards the minority was common; the Aboriginals were forced to assimilate,  the Chinese were being used as cheap labour to build the Canadian Pacific Railroad and the Sikhs were denied entry into Canada (Cheung).  Even the first Japanese settler in 1877 was restricted from taking mainstream professions such as public office, law, pharmacy, teaching and accounting (Miki and Kobayashi 18).  Years before the Pearl Harbour attack, the hate towards the asian immigrants living in Canada was already prominent.  On September 1907, a group of anti-Asian supporters ransacked through the homes and businesses in Vancouver’s Chinatown and Japantown (Miki and Kobayashi 18).   Then on  December 1941, Japanese fighter jets attacked the Hawaii Naval base at Pearl Harbour.  Within the time span of two hours, they have managed to destroy 20 american ships, more than 300 airplanes and killed approximately 2,000 American soldiers (Miki and Kobayashi 18).  As the war progressed, the discrimination got worse.  The objective of the racists in British Columbia was to “eliminate the physical presence of Japanese Canadians”  and the Asia-Pacific war gave the Canadian government a reason to set the War Measures Act (“History of Japanese Canadians”) .  This act restricts freedom of speech, controls property and most importantly, “allows arrests and detentions without trial, banning membership in certain religious or political groups or activities” (Montgomery).  They were all considered “enemy aliens”; consequently, they were forced to evacuate their homes with only a 24 hour notice, and were interned along with prisoners of the war (Montgomery).  By 1942, 22,000 people who have lived in Canada for multiple years and even the Canadian-born “were stripped of rights and categorized”; many of the Japanese-Canadians were “registered with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and forced to carry an identification card until 1949” (“History of Japanese Canadians”).  Being a Japanese immigrant after 1941 was very difficult because they only received minimal rights compared to the “white” majority.  There were laws that prevented them from partaking in elections, pursuing law or earning more than minimum wage, instead, “employers hired Asian Canadians only for menial jobs or farm labour” (Sunahara), (Hyde 25).  Many of the Asian were accused of unfair competition, because they worked harder than the White labourers; the stole the jobs and “undermined union efforts to raise the living standards of White workers” (Sunahara).  Unfortunately, the “Canadian Pacific Railways fired all its Japanese workers, and most other Canadian industries followed. … Japanese fishermen in British Columbia were ordered to stay in port” (“Japanese Internment”).  It was hard for the Japanese-Canadians to find jobs because of the laws preventing them from certain occupations and the discrimination of many companies (Cheung). The Federal government also made “100 miles along the coast” a “protected area” in which the Japanese were not allowed to be on (“Japanese Internment”).  This of course, limits the job opportunities for them because fishing was one of the common occupations among Japanese-Canadians; at least 1,200 fishing boats were seized by the government (CBC Learning).  Japanese-Canadians were making just enough money to survive.  Then, the Canadian government evacuated them from their communities and took away the things they have worked hard for (Miki and Kobayashi 16). Loss of Possessions The Japanese-Canadians lost the majority of their belongings to the government, who promised to hold their properties while they were being interned (Hydes 26).  While being relocated, they were only “allowed to take what they could carry; most of their remaining possessions would never be seen again” (Koyama).  With that being said, many have lost the belongings they have worked hard for with their minimum wage (Hydes 22).  A family was permitted to store their belongings in the Kitsilano Japanese Language School, but ” was later broken into and vandalized;  anything of value was stolen” (Koyama).  Additionally, Japanese Newspapers were shutdown, Cameras and radios were confiscated and  cars had to be surrendered; others would give their valuable goods to their non-Japanese friends rather than turning them in to the government (Koyama).  As promised by the Canadian government, they would “hold their properties”, but once they were all evacuated, “homes, businesses, property, cars, and all possessions left behind were sold at bargain prices” (Koyama).   A Japanese-Canadian describes how “the Federal government sold her family’s fishing boats and homes while her parents were in internment camps during the Second World War. … for only $14.68” (Meissner).  The only way the citizens would buy the Japanese “junk” was if the prices were low (Koyama).  It was unbelievable that a ” Singer sewing machine, record player, dresser and other household items, with an estimated value of $224.95 were sold for $10″ (Meissner).  It took Canada about four years to eliminate all the restrictions towards the Japanese living in Canada (Hydes 37).  By the loss of their belongings, many Japanese were forced to start new lives, find a new place to live, and a way to earn money (Miki and Kobayashi 16).  The Japanese community “lost everything” (Hydes 29).  They felt like “strangers in their native land” and were not welcomed on the West Coast (Miki and Kobayashi 16).  They had to either “settle East of the Rockies or move back to war-torn Japan” (Miki and Kobayashi 16).  Approximately 4000 Japanese Canadians were deported back to Japan; some of which were born in Canada and had never stepped foot in Japan (Hydes 37).  Symbolically, the Japanese culture in Canada had been “toned-down”.  Their businesses had been lost, language schools were forced to stop operating and churches became vacant (Miki and Kobayashi 16).  To this day, the government compensates by providing ” $21,000 for each of the 13,000 survivors, $12 million for a Japanese community fund, and $24 million to create a Canadian race relations foundation, to ensure such discrimination would not happen again”, but no amount of money can account for the feeling of humiliation and difficulties they had to go through, especially in the internment camps (Montgomery). Internment Camps By 1941, the Japanese had established a community of 23,000 individuals (Sunahara).  Within this community, they have built “Christian churches, Buddhist temples, Japanese language schools and community halls; and, in Steveston, a hospital staffed by Japanese Canadian doctors” (Sunahara).  All of this was taken away from them when they were relocated to internment camps.  The Nisei men were separated and sent to road and lumber camps (Kobayashi).  While, the rest of their families were sent to Hastings Park in Vancouver (Kobayashi).  Life in the internment camps was difficult, a Japanese-Canadian survivor stated that it was “too painful to discuss what happened…she did not have much to remember because she didn’t want to remember” (Kobayashi).  As for their living quarters, they were assigned into six by eight foot horse stalls with two twin sized beds, in which they were separated by a thin piece of cloth (Kobayashi).  This particular internment camp was inadequate to live in; though it was only a temporary confinement, it had a stench from years of horse urine, was densely packed to the point where privacy was no longer existent and was constantly noisy due to the amount of individuals crammed into such a small space (Kobayashi).  Furthermore, the food given was substandard; which caused health complications (Kobayashi).  A new-born child had no other choice to eat plain butter because the family had forgotten to pack food.  Eventually, the families would permanently be relocated to ghost towns far from society where the buildings lack insolation and running water (Kobayashi).  Though, it was not too bad because the families began to build churches and setup schools in the “ghost towns and farmland in Slocan Valley, British Columbia (Kobayashi).  However, this does not compare to their previous lives; they had warm homes, a supply of food, privacy, and most importantly jobs to care for their families.  The years of separation between the Nisei men, has had a significant effect on the children.  They lack “father figures”, emotional support and most importantly a full family.  This cannot be “compensated for” by the frequent visits during special occasions (Kobayashi).  Likewise, the disruption the government has caused for Japanese families cannot be taken back.  The fact that they had to go through these awful conditions is absurd.  On April 1949, Japanese-Canadians finally received full freedom (Sunahara).  As a result of these internment camps, many Japanese had no interest in returning to British Columbia, have struggled to recreate the Japanese community they have established before the internment camps and have limited knowledge of Japanese culture (Sunahara).   Conclusion The discriminatory acts against Japanese-Canadians during World War Two were not accounted for by the reparations given by the Federal government in 1988 due to the years of inequality, unjust distribution of Japanese goods for bargains prices and absurd conditions in the internment camps.  The actions taken by the government reminds us of how racist we used to be, but also shows our improvement; we are now known as a multicultural country with a variety of immigrants and refugees from Asia, Europe and Africa.  We cannot retrieve the special belongings sold by the government, fix the disconnected relationships or reunite the Japanese-Canadians with their culture.  Despite the fact these events took place multiple years ago, we are able to obtain a valuable lesson.  We should not take our “freedom” for granted, but instead practice our rights by actively voting, protesting for what we believe in and doing the things the Japanese-Canadians were unable to do.  It is important that the discrimination against Japanese-Canadians does not get “swept under the carpet” because it shows us how the camps were a violation of people’s rights.  The past cannot be changed, but it is important for us to acknowledge and learn from these mistake to ensure that the future generations never have to face these injustices.