Over the last century, Canada has had many chances to help out people from around the world who look for refuge in a another country. In that time, it is questioned if Canada has proven itself to be a humanitarian nation. Canada is said to be a free country, a land that helps others, but it is debatable whether or not that is really true as Canada’s past actions may say more than its present. A glance at immigration policies and Canadian society itself in the last century makes it clear that Canada did not prove itself to be a humanitarian nation. All of these and more made it unbearable for anyone coming to Canada as things happened such as the Japanese internment, discrimination against black civil rights and the treatment of Canada’s Indigenous people.In 1941 after the defeat of Hong Kong and the attack on Pearl Harbour, the British Columbian government changed laws to restrict the freedom and civil liberties of people who are of Japanese descent as they thought they showed sympathy for their home country. An article by Katrina Blong named The Japanese Internment, states that “One of the main People who influenced the internment of Japanese Canadians was Ian Mackenzie who was the Federal cabinet minister from British Columbia who had very anti-semitic views. He pushed the government into allowing the interment of the Japanese. He said:’It is the government’s plan to get these people out of B.C. as fast as possible. It is my personal intention, as long as I remain in public life, to see they never come back here. Let our slogan be for British Columbia: No Japs from the Rockies to the seas.’ “From this, the government was trying to force out Japanese Canadian to send the back “home” when their home was right where they were. The federal government decided under the provisions of the War-time Measures Act to move Japanese Canadians into a 160-km safety zone along the pacific coast. They were sent to a ghost town where they lived in crude huts and were only allowed 68kg of items per adult, and two families would share two bedrooms and a kitchen. There was no electricity or water until 1943 and there was destruction of communities where there would be dispersal, confiscation and sale of community buildings, churches and other assets. This was seen under the act as “Custodian of Enemy Property.” There was a period of loss of rights, the Canadians War Measures act made the internment legal, and it lasted for 7 years. The treatment of Japanese Canadians was extremely similar to that of prisoners, and this act made it legal. Canadian society showed no care for how they treated people of Japanese descent. They created these policies and Prime Minister Mackenzie King stated in the House of Commons that there had been not one instance of a Japanese Canadian being convicted, exemplifying a cruel nation. Japanese Canadians were not the only ones to be treated poorly, African Americans in Canada were discriminated for years even though Canada was supposed to bring them freedom. February of 1911 the Anti-Black Campaign was created, the government immigration policy became increasingly restrictive, exclusive and selective. This order read, “the Negro race… is deemed unsuitable to the climate and requirements of Canada.” Fortunately, this order never became a law but the intentions behind it were clear; black immigrants were not wanted in Canada. In 1946, Viola Desmond was dragged out of the theatre because she sat in the “white section” of the theater. She was put in jail without being told her rights nor was she given a lawyer, and the case was took to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, but the ruling was upheld. Viola Desmond was treated unfairly due to her ethnic background. Canada discriminated african-americans by Canada’s society showing no acception of another race all because of skin tone differences, and even went as far as to try and make laws to keep out african-americans. This brutality was not only focused on immigrants coming to Canada, but also the Indigenous people who have lived here for centuries. Under the Indian Act, reserves were created for Indigenous people to live in, many of these reserves faced extreme poverty and experienced living conditions to that of a third world country. Every 1 in 5 Native Americans lived in a home in need of repair, there was a lack of clean drinking water as 400 communities had some kind of water problem between 2004 and 2014, there was lack of sanitation and loss of land for development of natural resources. Many Indigenous people struggled with attaining basic needs of life due to these poor conditions. There were also residential schools for Indigenous children, the goal of these schools were to teach children the language and culture of Canadian society. Children were sent far away from their families, they were punished if they tried to speak their own language or practice their cultural traditions and some children were abused while living at these schools and many would die from the harsh treatment. Looking at this, the purpose of these schools were to assimilate Indigenous people into Canadian society. In Canada, Indigenous people were treated like nothing, they were forced to assimilate into Canada’s society, and they had their land taken away from them so Canada could benefit themselves. Considering Canada’s immigration policies and the actions of Canadian society in the last century, Canada has not yet earned the title of being a humanitarian nation. The Japanese internment were Japanese Canadians were interned. The discrimination against black civil rights and how it was less imminent, but still a major problem. Then finally the treatment of Canada’s Indigenous people, where they were forced under the rule of Canadian society. In the end Canada did try to make up for their mistakes, but in reality they should have foreseen the outcome of their actions. To be a humanitarian nation is to always put the well being of any person, not matter their race, culture or religion as a main concern. So far, Canada unsuccessful fulfilled this requirement, it can be seen that Canada has done more damage than good.
August 9, 2019 0 Comments