December 7, 2016
Premier Kathleen Wynne
795 Eglinton Ave East. Unit 101
Dear Premier Wynne
Re: MPP Soo Wong Private Members Bill 79 to proclaim Nanjing Massacre
As the only organization representing 17 member associations across Canada (4 in Ontario), the National Association of Japanese Canadians wish to register it’s strong opposition to the private members Bill 79. We believe that the primary focus of all Ontarians should be on the improvement of race relations and civil rights within this province and indeed Canada.
The NAJC believes in a “strong, unified community founded on diversity and committed to human rights for all for the enrichment of Canada.” This Bill is divisive and is opposed to our vision of a better country. We raise the following for your consideration:
- The issue deals with matters between foreign governments and has nothing to do with the domestic issues of the province;
- Bill 79 is opposed to the provincial government’s belief of an inclusive, accepting society. It will promote hostility towards the Japanese Canadian community by the larger society, including increasing tensions between Asian Canadians. The Bill, rather than promoting inclusion,will promote intolerance;
- Bill 79 will open the floodgates for others seeking a platform for incidents that occurred outside of this country;
- We should be celebrating the accomplishments made by members of our diverse and rich community in this country; and
- We need to reflect on peace education and reject all violence and wars.
September 22, 1988 saw the successful redress settlement between the NAJC and the Government of Canada. There were those, such as the Royal Canadian Legion (Ontario Command), that opposed Japanese Canadian redress because they could not differentiate Japanese Canadians and the Japanese who carried out military operations in Asia. Similarly we believe that the passage of Bill 79 will create “guilt by association” and anger will be directed towards the Japanese Canadian community.
Canada has welcomed Over 37,000 Syrian refugees – many to this province. The clear message of Bill 79 is that Canada will not be a safe sanctuary from the ethnic and religious conflict that forced their exile.
On the anniversary of Pearl Harbour on December 7th, there are reports of our children being bullied on that “Day of Infamy”. We do not need a special Day to have our children victimized again.
The NAJC requests your support in ensuring that Bill 79 does not pass in the Ontario Legislature.
David R. Mitsui
National Association of Japanese Canadians
cc Albert Lo, President, Canadian Race Relations Foundation
Gary Kawaguchi, President, Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre