Excerpt from the Official Report of
DEBATES OF THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY

(Hansard)


April 29, 2014

Japanese Canadian Internment Commemoration at Hastings Park

S. Simpson: “In early 1942, fuelled by racism, Canada uprooted over 21,000 Japanese Canadians from their homes on the west coast. Over 8,000 were detained in Hastings Park before being sent to internment sites in the B.C. Interior or to work camps across the country.”

This is the statement on the front of the program for “1942: Japanese-Canadian Internment at Hastings Park,” a very important event that occurred on Sunday, April 26. Over 200 people gathered at Hastings Park for the unveiling of four panels commemorating this disgraceful part of Canadian history.

These panels provide a snapshot of the life that was faced by the thousands of Japanese Canadians who spent time at Hastings Park. It was the start of a tragic experience where people lost their homes, their businesses, their properties, essentially their lives — where families were separated, and Canadian citizens of Japanese descent were labelled a threat to our country with no justification. This House has formally apologized to Japanese Canadians. That was the right thing to do. What this presentation at Hastings Park does is help us not to forget.

I know as a child I often enjoyed the fair, Rollerland and concerts in Hastings Park with no knowledge of this past. Maybe today, because of this work, children and their parents coming to enjoy the annual fair will take a moment to read the panels and to begin to understand this sad part of our history.

This commemoration was a major effort by many that deserve our recognition. I want to thank all the members of the Japanese-Canadian community and others who contributed to making this dream a reality, especially the working committee that steered this project to completion over a number of years.

We know racism has been a scar on our history in Canada and B.C. Whether it’s the Chinese head tax, Komagata Maru,Indian residential schools or the Japanese internment, we need to ensure that these memories are never too far from our minds so as to guarantee we never repeat them. Let us thank "1942: Japanese-Canadian Internment at Hastings Park" for helping us to ensure that we stay vigilant and we do not forget.

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