Following the attack by Japan on Pearl Harbor in late 1941, and following the US's example, the Canadian government ordered the internment of all japanese and japanese-canadian people on the west coast, fearing attacks or spying by those sympathetic to Japan. Thousands of innocent people, many Canadian citizens and some whose families has been in Canada for three generations or more, were arrested, had their property seized (and not returned after the war. Years later, the government issued an official apology and a meager settlement, but in the meantime many, especially those who had property, small businesses & stores, or fishing boats seized, were left with no means to support themselves after the internment ended.), and were herded off to internment camps. Before being sent to the camps, those in the Vancouver area were held in makeshift barracks in the none-too-clean livestock pens at the Pacific National Exhibition grounds. Men were separated from women, and often families were split up. Internment camps were located in the Interior of British Columbia, the largest in Slocan, and later some were shipped off to the prairies, to labour as unpaid slaves at sugar beet farms and other agricultural sites.

Many of those canadians who lived through this have written about their experiences - the two most famous are probably David Suzuki, renowned geneticist and environmental guru, though he only touches on it in his memoir, and Joy Kogawa, who wrote the incredibly vivid and beautiful "Obasan" about her and her family's suffering in the camps.
Canada, for all its positive reputation today, has NOT a very meritful history. Before World War Two Toronto, for example, was dominated by the Orange Order, and was a particularly Anti-Semitic place.

In the thirties, there were the Swastika Riots in Christie Pits Park in Toronto. And it was not uncommon to see signs that read No Dogs or Jews Allowed.

In this same decade, there was the shameful story of the ship full of Jewish children, attempting to escape the Holocaust, or Shoah, in Europe, that was NOT given safe harbour anywhere. It was refused entrance to Canada, too!

Eventually it returned to Hitler's Europe, where its precious cargo was exterminated in the camps.

In fact, in the seventies, I saw, as grafitti, the above slogan, No Dogs or Jews Allowed, at Carleton University in Ottawa.

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