A view into the mind of Jason

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Wednesday, July 17 2024 @ 06:55 MDT

March 'em to the trains.

Canadian Politics

This is the story, the story of a boy who was born in Canada to parents who were naturalized citizens of Canada. A boy whose only citizenship and only country he ever new was Canada. A boy whose family had been Canada 30 years and a country he had lived in his entire 11 years. A boy whose citizenship was removed from him (making him stateless) for the crime of being the wrong race under the guise of security.

It wasn't just this boy either. Everyone who shared his ancestry, relative or not, was subject to the same treatment. Their property was confiscated; they were herded into camps and held against their will for years. Eventually they were finally released. They had to re-apply for their citizenship (despite being citizens before everything started), their property was never return to them and compensation for that finally came 40 years later.

So who was this boy? My father. His parents immigrated from Japan in 1912 and settled in BC where they grew tomatoes. In 1941 a government in a country they no longer held allegiance to bombed a US territory and suddenly people who had never been to Japan were a security threat and had their citizenship removed. They were promptly herded into internment camps and after the war many who had never set foot in Japan were deported there. My father was lucky and his family was not deported, but their citizenship wasn't restored until 1949. Prior to that it was quite literally illegal for my father to visit BC, the province of his birth, solely based on his ethnicity.

At the time is was claimed it was all for "security". But at the end of the day the real reason was racism. The war just gave an excuse. A quote from the then MP and cabinet minister from BC, Ian MacKenzie gives an example of this racism:
It is the governments 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.

So we had a racist policy set up to appease a racist political base in a region implemented in the guise of security. Sounding familiar?

Fast forward 75 years and we're here again. We have a federal political party and its leader raising the security boogey man to get support for two "security" laws that first make pretty much any act the government doesn't like a "terrorist" act (destroying the meaning of the word in the process) and then followed it up with an act to strip people of their citizenship if they are "terrorists". Prediction: only brown people will be stripped of their citizenship by the Conservatives and that will be roundly applauded by Conservative supporters. I bring up bills C-51 and C-24 because the unfounded hype around terrorists in Canada is the same unfounded hype surrounding the internment of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War. A group of people is "different", in this case a different religion instead of ethnicity, and for political gains a government, in this case the Harper Conservatives, use the xenophobia and racism around different for their own political ends. The same can be said about the whole Niqab tempest in a teapot. At the end of the day as long as the identity of a person taking an oath has been confirmed, which can be done privately, what the person is wearing at the ceremony is pretty much irrelevant. If their religion tells them they need to wear a colander on their head for important ceremonies, why not? It's not a debasement of Canadian values to allow stuff like that to happen. Why? One of Canada's values is freedom of religion, and news flash, that means freedom for religions that aren't yours too. If you feel threatened by people who are different, you are the one with the problem, not them.

Which brings me to one of my purposes of this post. People I know who support all this crap. Here's some full disclosure: First I'm not Christian, never have been, never will (the reality is I find all religions, including yours, to be equally as made up). Secondly by definition I'm not an Old Stock Canadian, as my mother was an immigrant. Since writing this is in opposition to Conservative policy and Conservative ministers are on record of saying if you're not for Conservative policy you're for terrorism, and under Bill C-51 that's illegal, this article makes me eligible for deportation to my mother's homeland, a country I've never set foot in or have any allegiance to, which to me appears to be something you support (or since I'm white, that's different?). The fact that Harper's racist rhetoric is working on you makes me wonder, given my family history, why you aren't advocating for my removal from the country, or at the very least not calling me a "real" Canadian at every opportunity?

So in the end I would put it anyone falling for Harper's racist rhetoric would have likely been applauding the army as they were herding Japanese Canadian families onto the trains as well. It means that for whatever reason you are at the least xenophobic and at the worst, racist. If you don't like that, that's your problem, not mine.

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