The National Association of Japanese Canadians (NAJC) joins with other concerned Canadians in calling for the Government of Canada to withdraw the Anti-Terrorism Act Bill C-51. We believe that Bill C-51 threatens Canadian civil liberties and freedoms. The NAJC is confident that the current existing laws and powers are adequate in safeguarding our security against acts of terrorism.
In 1942 the Canadian government used the War Measures Act to forcibly displace 22,000 Canadians of Japanese ancestry to internment and labour camps and deported over 4,000 to Japan after the War – many who were born in Canada. Public safety and ‘perceived insurrection’ were the reasons given for this extraordinary violation of human rights and citizenship at that time. Bill C-51 allows the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to arrest those who “may” carry out an act of terrorism. Currently law enforcement agencies can carry out an arrest if they believe that an act of terrorism “will” be carried out. In addition, those who are seen in the eyes of the Government as threatening the “economic or financial stability of Canada” –such as those who engage in non-violent, environmental civil disobedience – fall under the proposed Anti-Terrorism Bill.
We view with alarm the dismissive rhetoric used by the Canadian Government in response to the many voices of concern that have been raised. Such tactics are reminiscent of the hysteria created by the government of British Columbia to pressure the Canadian Government of Mackenzie King to impose the War Measures Act in World War II. A similar scenario occurred when the Act was used in 1970 during the “crisis” in Quebec.
The Prime Minister should pause to consider the words of his predecessor:
“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.”
(Prime Minister Brian Mulroney’s remarks to the House of Commons, Sept. 22, 1988)
For more information please contact:
National Association of Japanese Canadians