by Tosh Kitagawa
On September 24th of this year, the City of Vancouver will introduce a motion to apologize for the racist motion that was passed in Vancouver City Council in 1942 by Alderman Halford Wilson and seconded by Alderman George Price. This motion was intended to remove all Japanese Canadians from the Pacific Coast to central parts of Canada. It was also designed to instill fear in the hearts of the general public that all Japanese Canadians were a threat to the security of BC and removal was desirable and essential. It will be voted on Sept. 25th and we will have three members of our community speak to the motion. Upon passing (we have every reason to believe that it will), Ken Noma, President of NAJC will accept on behalf of the community.
The following excerpts from the original motion illustrate the venom and hatred that Alderman Halford Wilson and Alderman George Price had for the Japanese Canadian people.
……WHEREAS the concentration of approximately 25,000 residents of Japanese racial origin on Canada’s Pacific Coast constitutes a potential reservoir of volunteer aid to our enemy, Japan, in event of raids or an invasion by the armed forces of that nation;
…..And Whereas, citizens of Canada’s Pacific Coast look upon this enemy alien population as a potential menace and feel that in the interest of National security, their removal to central parts of Canada is desirable, where a just and reasonable care for their livelihood be provided by the Federal Government.
The new motion by the City of Vancouver will formally apologize for its complicity, its inaction, and for failing to protect her residents of Japanese ancestry. The motion will be introduced by Mayor Gregor Robertson and seconded by Councilor Kerry Jang Sept. 24th and voted on September 25th. We anticipate this motion will pass as it has the complete support of the mayor and his council.
In the last issue of The Bulletin, I erroneously mentioned that you could reserve a seat in the Vancouver City Council chambers to witness this memorable event. I have been informed that this is not possible and spectators will be seated on a first come basis. Since council chambers can only accommodate around 75 people, it is recommended that you arrive early to be seated. Additional seating will be available in the main reception area where television monitors will be installed for viewing of the proceedings.
We will provide additional information regarding the specific time that the motion will be introduced on Sept. 24th and the voting on the motion on Sept. 25th. Reception at the Japanese Language School will follow at the conclusion of the meeting on September 25th. We will have a short program and provide refreshments. Additional information will be posted as soon as we are apprised of specific times. The Vancouver City Council will inform us about the particulars of the agenda for the meetings in mid-September which leaves us very little time to inform the public. We will post new information on the JCCA and NAJC website as events unfold. Since many of our seniors do not have access to computers and are unfamiliar with the internet, we are asking their children, relatives or friends to keep them informed.
If you require additional information, contact me at: 604.943.3195 or firstname.lastname@example.org