Written By: MN
World War II changed the way the entire world used to run. It created a new chapter not only in our national history, but internationally as well. Protective measures were taken in Canada where 22 000 Japanese Canadians were isolated and placed in internment camps to insure protectiveness. Many would argue that this was unjust and wrong, yet Canada made the right decision when they decided to protect themselves against potential harm.
British Columbia was and still is the closest province to Japan. Japanese people could have easily planned an attack on Canada due to the lack of distance between the two countries and the vast amount of Japanese people in Canada at the time. Also at the same time, the United States had been attacked by the Japanese at Pearl Harbour. This was a huge shock universally, especially since before the bombing, Japan and America had been allies. Japan became a nation that was untrustworthy. Allowing the Japanese to live along the borders of British Columbia would increase the risk of Japanese spies that would communicate with their motherland and work to bring down the great nation of Canada. British Columbia was also very isolated from Ottawa because of the gap between the two locations. Troops were placed along the eastern part of Canada because the Atlantic Ocean was the only barrier between Europe and Canada. Moreover, Canada didn’t have a conscription law in 1942. “Not necessarily conscription but conscription if necessary” (King). Canada did not have enough men to protect both home fronts and conscription was not mandatory. If the Japanese were to ever attack from the West, Canada would have suffered great consequences. The Canadian government thought ahead and decided to isolate the Japanese so that minimal harm would be done to the west coast. Internment camps kept people at ease. This way, people would not be fearful, resulting in more goods being produced, more goods being brought and an overall boost in the economy. There was also an insufficient amount of farmers in Canada. These Japanese-Canadian people were making up for the shortage of farm workers which benefited Canada greatly. These people were loyal to Canada and in returned they were secured with a safe place to live and food to eat.
Japanese-Canadian internment was a tolerable decision because nothing illegal was being done. No crimes were committed, nobody was exterminated, and if anybody died, it was of natural causes. There have been accounts of the conditions in the internment camps, but Canada was a wealthy civilized country, and it gave the Japanese enough to eat, protection against the weather and even running water and electricity in 1943. Attempts were made to civilize the camps. If roles were switched, things would have been completely different. In Japan, when prisoner of war camps were being run, 13 000 people died; that is an enormous death rate by comparison. Prisoners were not fed enough fat or protein and were constantly starving. Beatings would be given regularly and anyone who tried to escape would be killed instantly. “War is an ugly thing but not the ugliest of things; the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feelings which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse” (Mill). The Canadian government treated the Japanese-Canadians with complete respect and dignity. They even gave the Japanese-Canadians reparations 43 years later.
Many people argue that there was a bad case of discrimination in Canada and that the Japanese-Canadians were treated harshly in their own country. Many people who had travelled to Canada and had developed their lives there were betrayed by the…