Japanese Canadians Respond to Maxime Bernier – September 26, 2019

The National Association of Japanese Canadians (NAJC) is deeply disturbed by the recent video posted by the People’s Party of Canada Facebook page on September 23rd, 2019.

In this post. Maxime Bernier expresses his proposal to end official Multiculturalism in Canada. He states that “in the past, immigrants who came to Canada readily integrated into our society”, while showing an image of Japanese Canadians boarding trains from Slocan BC, to be exiled to Japan under the Repatriation Bill in 1946:

“Repatriation” to Japan, Slocan, 1946. NNM 1996.178.1.33

During World War II, more than 21,000 Canadians of Japanese descent were forcibly uprooted, dispossessed and incarcerated. After the war, Japanese Canadians were not allowed to return to the west coast and were required to move to Eastern Canada or go to Japan under the Repatriation Bill, a country many had never known. This photo depicted in Mr. Bernier’s video is not a moment of welcoming new Canadians. It is a moment depicting Japanese Canadians being derided and subjected to sweeping, merciless political violence. We remain puzzled if Mr. Bernier endorses such actions or if this was an error as a result of ignorance to past injustices by the Canadian Government.

As this year marks the 70th anniversary of Japanese Canadians being granted the right to vote in BC, we are reminded of those whose civil rights and liberties were denied  and we hope that as this federal election approaches, Canadians join the continued fight for a just society committed to equal human rights for all and the elimination of racism and discrimination.

Formed in 1947, the National Association of Japanese Canadians is a non-profit incorporated community organization that represents the Japanese Canadian community and focuses on human rights and community development.

For further information, contact the NAJC at 204.943.2910 or [email protected]

– by Alex Miki

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