Japanese people lived in Canada since 1877 when the first Japanese arrived in Canada. They were liked by the Canadians compared to Chinese immigrants. However, as strings of time passed, more and more Japanese people arrived in Canada. Arriving in Canada was not a problem compared to how they changed the Canadian society at the time. Japanese immigrants were willing to work for long hours for relatively low wages. This made the Canadians to complain about unfair competition and racism towards the Japanese immigrants was magnified. As much as Canadians discriminated against the Japanese, there were no legal restrictions towards the Japanese people.
Racist politicians like Tom Reid, Ian Mackenzie were not satisfied with the Japanese immigrants in Canada during the world war two. With their neighbours the United States having been attacked by Japan, these two liberal leaders believed that it was time to take caution. They believed that the Japanese immigrants supported the action by their mother country. Reid and Ian proposed that the Japanese immigrants posed a national security. It was even postulated that some of them could be spies working for the Japanese government (japanesecanadianhistory.net, n.d).
Canadian military authorities and the royal Canadian mounted police investigated and concluded that Japanese immigrants in the country did not pose any threat and there was no chance of Canada being attacked by Japan. There was no single time that it was determined that the Japanese immigrants posed a threat to Canada and that they indeed supported their mother country Japan (members.tripod.com, 2010).
However, this did not stop Canadian residents especially from British Columbia from writing racist comments and editorials in the newspaper against Japanese people. Most people in British Columbia and in other parts of Canada believed in these comments and the Japanese people were blamed for all bad things that happened at the time. One historian commented that they were blamed for bad crops yield, for flat tires and other issues that took place within the British Columbian society.
When racist politician Ian Mackenzie discovered what was happening in British Columbia, he persuaded the prime minster of the country to send Japanese people to camps to for the country to be safe. With many people writing all sorts of comments against the Japanese immigrants, the then prime minister Mackenzie King was convinced and he had to follow the war time measures act for the security of his people. A 160km safety zone was proposed for the Japanese Canadians. They had to be moved 160km inland from the pacific coastline of British Columbia. This was in a quest to protect British Columbia from Japanese immigrants who by the time were believed to be spies for Japan (yesnet.yk.ca, n.d).
February 24th 1942 was the date the Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King ordered evacuation of Japanese immigrants to protective areas. Japanese men aged between 14 and 45 years were taken first. They were moved to Hastings Park in Vancouver temporarily. By the time this was over, the safety zone had been increased by the British Columbian Security Commission to two hundred miles.
Women and children were taken next and moved to towns in the interior of British Columbia. The government set up eight Internment camps namely Kaslo, New Denver, Tashme, Roseberry, Slocan City, Lemon Creek, Sandon and Greenwood. More than twenty thousand Japanese immigrants were sent to these camps. The property which included fishing boats, houses and other property Japanese Canadians left behind was confiscated (yesnet.yk.ca, n.d).
Conditions at the Internment camps were deplorable; many people were kept together leading to overcrowding. As if that was not enough, there was no running water, electricity and other important amenities. At the same time, there was not moral support from other members of the family because women had been separated from their husbands and were only left with minors aged below 14 years.
Japanese immigrants had first moved into Canada in 1877. As more immigrants arrived in the country, Canadians especially from British Columbia became sceptical of the immigrants. Discrimination against the immigrants started and the height of this practice was during the World War Two. Japanese Canadians were relocated from British Columbia to remote towns until the war was offer. With no property and family, some immigrants moved back to Japan while others relocated to other regions of Canada.
Racism as a factor in the decision to intern Japanese-Canadians. N.d Web. 21April
Japanese Internment Camps. . N.d Web. 21 April 2011.
Historical Overview of Japanese Internment during World War II. N.d Web. 21April