Over the span of nine months 22,000 Japanese Canadians were forced from their homes, stripped of their belongs and denied basic human rights (1). During World War 2, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Canadian government felt people of Japanese origin could be a threat to the Canadian war effort. Because of this, thousands of Japanese Canadian citizen’s were moved to internment camps in British Columbia.
The internment of the Japanese Canadians was wrong because it was completely unjustified, most of the people put in the internment camps had a Canadian citizenship, were treated very poorly and there wasn’t any proof that they would do anything negatively effect Canada during the war. No human being should have ever been treated this way. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor Canadian racism towards Japanese citizens intensified.
Although the Canadian military didn’t feel that the Japanese were a threat to them, the public believed that the Japanese citizens showed too much sympathy for Japan and were a threat to the country’s security as they could be spies (2). This common belief led to the decision of the Japanese being moved to a “safety zone” in interior British Columbia. I feel that this was extremely wrong because the Japanese hadn’t done anything to deserve this.
Many of the people who were interned had lived in Canada their whole lives and considered themselves to be loyal Canadian citizen. They felt just as afraid and threatened by the war as every other Canadian was. Shortly after the internment began, an RCMP officer wrote a secret letter to a government agent stating, “We have had no evidence of espionage or sabotage among the Japanese in British Columbia” (1). This helps to prove the Japanese were innocent and should not have been put in internment camps; they clearly hadn’t done anything wrong.
After the Japanese were brutally ripped from their homes, humiliated, and had their belongings taken from them they were forced to live in internment camps. They were forced to do hard labor and their knew houses lacked the basic standards of living. This is another reason why what the Canadian government did was so terrible. People were crammed into small houses that may have had a stove (3). There was an enormous amount of people being shipped to the internment camps but there weren’t nearly enough houses, because of this people were forced to live in tents.
When families did get to move from a house to a tent I wasn’t an upgrade; the houses were very poorly insulated and unsanitary. At times there were houses with ten families living in them. When the Japanese people left their homes their land was considered the government’s property and the original owners wouldn’t acquire anything when it was sold. The war had caused a large labor shortage for farmers so the Japanese were used to help fix this problem. Men were given the option to work on a farm and be with their families or work on the road as slaves.
The Japanese had to live terrible lives because of a poor decisions made by the Canadian government. The Japanese had done nothing wrong, they were being punished for a crime that they did not commit (1). The only defense that Canada had for doing what they did was the Japanese weren’t white and they could potentially be spies. A main reason that the Canadians put the Japanese into internment camps was because of racism. The Japanese were discriminated against for the reason that they were new to the country and took jobs away from other Canadians.
The Japanese were willing to work longer hours for less pay then the average Canadian worker, because of this Canadians feared they would lose their jobs to the knew immigrants (2). Canadians also began to blame things on the Japanese that couldn’t possibly be their fault. Things like a poor harvest or a flat tire would be blamed on the Japanese when they couldn’t possibly be at fault. The Canadian Government did what they did based on fear and racism, but not any facts and this I what made it so terrible.
The choice the Canadian government made in interning the Japanese was without a doubt a terrible decision. It was so wrong because there weren’t any real reasons to intern the Japanese, they treated the Japanese terribly and Canadians didn’t have any evidence that the Japanese had done anything wrong. The fact that Canadians could do something so terrible to the Japanese or fellow humans in general based on fear is horrifying. Interning the Japanese was completely unnecessary and shouldn’t ever have happened.