The History of Wartime Internment in Canada

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Episode 240: Canada has had a long and embarrassing history of race relations, starting with the indigenous peoples who’d lived here for thousands of years prior to the arrival of European colonizers.

Our nation has also facilitated the mass internment of people perceived as threats to our national security during war time. As World War I raged in Europe, internment camps were set up to house Ukranians, Germans, Turks and Bulgrians. Of the more than 8500 detainees involuntarily held in camps across the country, a small percentage were women and children, the dependants of the men being held. Other internees included homeless people, conscientious objectors, and members of outlawed cultural and political associations.

At the outset of World War II, a number of Canadian citizens of German and Italian decent, as well as Jews who were immigrating to Canada, fleeing Europe were rounded up and put into internment camps. After the Japanese attack on the United States in Pearl Harbour, Hawaii, on 7 December, 1941, North Americans were afraid. The Second World War had come far too close to home. Just over a month after the Pearl Harbour attack, a process began which saw the mass internment of Japanese Canadians from 1942 until 1949. Many of the detainees, including women and children, had been born in Canada. The country they’d grown up to love had uprooted them from their homes, seized their properties and taken away their rights and freedoms.

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Sources:

Internment in Canada | The Canadian Encyclopedia

Internment of Japanese Canadians | The Canadian Encyclopedia

The Canadian Race Relations Foundation — Legalized Racism

Japanese Canadian History – The Politics of Racism

Hastings Park Internment Centre - vancouvertraces

Japanese Canadian Historic Sites in BC: Journeys of Home | Super, Natural BC

Hastings Park 1942 | Internment at Hastings Park

Tashme: A forgotten internment camp remembered - Fraser Valley Current

Tashme | Historical Project

Canada’s Internment Camps – Canadian History Ehx

“Enemy Aliens” - The Internment of Ukrainian Canadians | Canada and the First World War

From Racism to Redress: The Japanese Canadian Experience

Japanese Canadian internment and the struggle for redress | CMHR

Japanese Internment

Japanese Canadian Historic Places - Heritage BC

HOME PAGE – Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre

Internment in Canada: WW1 vs WW2 – All About Canadian History

Vanishing B.C. Japanese-Canadian internment sites in the Slocan

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