The War Measure Act

Posted: May 11, 2011 in The War Measure Act

The War Measures Act was enacted on 22 August 1914, and gave the federal government full authority to do everything deemed necessary “for the security, defence, peace, order and welfare of Canada”. It could be used when the government thought that Canada was about to be invaded or war would be declared, in order to mobilize all segments of society to support the war effort. It gave the government additional powers of media censorship, arrest without charge, deportation without trial, and the expropriation, control and disposal of property. This Act was always implemented via an Order in Council, rather than by approval of the democratically elected Parliament.

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1942, the government passed an Order in Council authorizing the removal of “enemy aliens” within a 100-mile radius of the BC coast.

The War Measures Act was repealed in 1988. It was replaced with the Emergencies Act. The Emergencies Act allows the federal government to make temporary laws in the event of a serious national emergency.

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The Nikkei Kanadajin

Posted: May 11, 2011 in The Nikkei Kanadajin

Police banging on doors at all hours of the day or night, ordering frightened occupants to gather up only what they could carry. Parents and children innocent of any crime ushered from their homes, herded in a central depot and freighted out by train to remote camps. A scene from Nazi Germany? No, it was the internment of the Japanese in British Columbia, 1942.

The evacuation of the Japanese Canadians, or Nikkei Kanadajin, from the Pacific Coast in the early months of 1942 was the greatest mass movement in the history of Canada. By the eve of Pearl Harbour, nearly 23,000 people of Japanese descent made their home in Canada, principally in British Columbia. Three-quarters of that number were naturalized or native-born citizens. The Nikkei were foresters and fishermen, miners and merchants. Except for the industrialists who profited from cheap Asian labour, much of white British Columbia regarded the Japanese Canadians with suspicion, if not rabid hostility. Over the years the Nikkei had been targets of unremitting discrimination and occasional violence.