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Japanese Canadians:The fifth column?

As Canadian soldiers were fighting overseas in the name of democracy, at home the federal government was staging the largest mass exodus in Canadian history. During the Second World War, roughly 22,000 Japanese Canadians were forcibly evacuated from the west coast and resettled in other parts of the country. Their struggle continued after the war as they fought for an apology and redress for their loss. CBC Television and Radio covered the crucial issues in their journey from relocation to redress.

A man is taken in the night and his lawyer works tirelessly to reunite him with his family. A politician says we should "treat a Canadian like a Canadian" and resist the urges of wartime hysteria. But, the Citizen's Defense Committee promotes the campaign of coastline evacuation. And others spread rumours that Japanese admirals are posing as fisherman and prowling the Pacific waters in submarines ready to attack. In this CBC Radio clip, Canadians recall the debate of the 1942 internment.
. On Feb. 24, 1942, an order-in-council was passed enforcing a sunset to sunrise curfew on Japanese Canadians.
. At the time of the internment, 14,000 of the evacuees were nisei or second-generation Canadians. Another 3,000 were naturalized Canadians and 6,000 were Japanese nationals.

. Some perceived the Japanese Canadians' failure to assimilate into Canadian society to be proof of their disloyalty. In a speech to the House of Commons in August 1944, Prime Minister Mackenzie King acknowledged that "the government is of the view that, having regard to the strong feeling that has been aroused against the Japanese during the war and to the extreme difficulty of assimilating Japanese persons in Canada, no immigration of Japanese into this country should be allowed after the war."
Medium: Radio
Program: CBC Wednesday Night
Broadcast Date: Feb. 24, 1960
Guest(s): Arthur McLennan, Harry Stevens
Duration: 13:47
Photo: National Archives, PA 134096

Last updated: November 7, 2012

Page consulted on February 12, 2014

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