Canadian Concentration Camps

Ottawa, 1920. The Dominion Elections Act is passed which is supposed to give all Canadian the right to vote.

There's a clause, though, that, a province could block people of certain races from voting. British Columbia was one of the places that excluded voters due to reasons of race. That included Chinese, Japanese, and anyone from the 'Indian subcontinent.'

Another law said that lawyers, pharmacists, and civil servants had to be on the voting list, so that effectively blocked out three occupations from Japanese and other immigrants. Even returning Japanese WWI veterans were denied the right to vote.

The comment of one leader.

When some representatives from the Japanese community went to talk to the government, this is the kind of thing that was said about them.

After Pearl Harbor, 22,000 Japanese Canadians were forced from their homes in British Columbia.

They were sent to internment camps/relocation centers. Their property and belongings were sold at public auctions.

In 1944 the voting act was amended to deny the vote to Japanese Canadians were forced to move out of British Columbia to other provinces. That meant that any provinces that had allowed their Japanese to vote were now going to deny any of the Japanese from British Columbia to vote.

One member of Parliament had this to say.

After the war was over, the Japanese protested the government's plan to deport 10,000 Japanese Canadians.

Public opinion changed and in 1947 the discriminatory part of the voting act was removed. However, that applied only to Chinese and Indian people. It was 1949 before the Japanese were allowed to vote in British Columbia.

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