June 21, 1984 (32nd Parliament, 2nd Session)


Lynn McDonald

New Democratic Party

Ms. Lynn McDonald (Broadview-Greenwood):

Mr. Speaker, in announcing its response to the report on visible minorities yesterday, the Government has taken the first step in dealing with the Japanese Canadian compensation issue. It did acknowledge the injustices done to Japanese Canadians in World War II and its aftermath. It did acknowledge the suffering caused thereby. However, it is only a first step, and in announcing only a very general fund to combat racism it has not dealt adequately with the complex issue of compensation.
Now is the time for Parliament to act, and there still is time before the end of the session. Parliament should spend one hour addressing this issue with all-Party support. There should be a motion acknowledging these injustices, and an opening of the door to compensation with proper negotiations with duly elected representatives of the National Association of Japanese Canadians.
Further, Mr. Speaker, it is important that there be a re-examination of the War Measures Act, the legislation that enabled these injustices to happen in the first place. It is not enough to say that now that we have a Charter this will not happen again. These injustices did occur in the United States, which has an entrenched Charter, and we have to work to change the legislation that permitted them in the first place. The Japanese Canadian community expects no less from Parliament, that Canadians, representatives of all Parties, speak on this issue. We will not have justice in the future until we recognize the injustices committed in the past.

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