Canada's Responses to Past Serious Threats - Institut canadien d

Canada's Responses to Past Serious Threats - Institut canadien d

Canada’s Responses to Past Serious Threats Desmond P. MORTON* September 11 was, for most Canadians, vicarious. Some of us died in the World Trade Cen...

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Canada’s Responses to Past Serious Threats Desmond P. MORTON*

September 11 was, for most Canadians, vicarious. Some of us died in the World Trade Centre; a few were at the Pentagon but our real threat was the furious reaction of an injured super-power. Heavily dependent on US markets, prosperity depended on proving our loyalty with words, warships, aircraft and combat troops. Had we let a terrorist through? Not this time but... September 11 has ample precedents. Terrorists or “freedom fighters” have sheltered here. Canadians helped fund the Irish Republican Army, Tamil Tigers, Irgun and probably Hamas. Fenians, Communists, and the Front de Libération du Québec have played on our soil. In wartime, Canadians nourished paranoia by rumours of spies, saboteurs and infiltrators.1 In crises, we rationed freedom, based undue process on racial prejudice, and proved that our true national ideology is “peace, order and good Government”. Last December’s laws are part of an enduring historical tradition. So is eventual repentance. This morning, Professor Reg Whitaker and I will divide some familiar crises between us, largely by taste and chronology. He will revisit the Cold War, October, 1970 and Oka experiences. Though I consider September 11 a police problem and not a war, I will focus on war-related crises between 1866 and 1942. * * *



O.C., F.R.S.C., Former Director, McGill Institute for the Study of Canada, Montreal, Quebec. Graeme S. Mount, Canada’s Enemy Spies and Spying in the Peaceable Kingdom (Toronto: Dundurn, 1993). On the First World War, for example, see p. 28-33.



In 1914 and 1939, J.W. Dafoe tried to define our engagements as Canadian wars; most Canadians echoed Sir Wilfrid Laurier’s claim that we were answering the call of a Mother Country.2 Would Germans, Italians or Japanese in Canada respond differently? All had homeland loyalties. In the 1860s, Irish Americans invaded Canada for the sake of Ireland.3 For half a century, Fenians fed Canadians paranoia. The victims were Irish Canadians: D’Arcy McGee was murdered, their loyalty was suspect; Gilbert McMicken’s under-cover detectives watched them; judges deprived them of Habeas corpus. Since a key Fenian leader was a British spy, Fenian ineptitude contributed regular humiliations.4 When John A. Macdonald proposed to release our few Fenian prisoners, public fury restrained him.5 Fenianism gave the Orange Lodge arguments for intolerance and bigotry to our collective national cost. In 1869, Red River Métis jeopardized the national dream of spanning the Atlantic and Pacific. As his clerical backers planned, Louis Riel redirected the Métis to a narrower goal, a tiny new province, but Riel’s casual judicial murder of Thomas Scott created a crisis, justified a British-Canadian military expedition, more killing and Protestant triumphalism. Arrogance on both sides helped give this crisis legs.6






Even Stalin would discover that patriotism outweighed ideology as his Soviet Union struggled against a Nazi invasion. In Canada, Mackenzie King’s “old country” allegiance outweighed his distaste for war and for Britain’s pre-war government in 1939. See J.L. Granatstein, Canada’s War: The Politics of the Mackenzie King Government, 1939-1945 (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1975) at 1-41. Without British soldiers to attack, would the Fenians have raided in 1866? Would the American secretary of state, W.H. Seward, have sought war with Britain in 1861 to distract Americans from their own inter-state struggle? See C.P. Stacey, Canada and the British Army, 1846-1871: A Study in the Practice of Responsible Government, rev. ed. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1963). H. Senior, The Last Invasion of Canada: The Fenian Raiders, 1866-1870 (Toronto: Dundurn, 1991). See also H. Senior, The Fenians and Canada (Toronto: MacMillan, 1978). Most had been captured in Canada only because they were drunk or lost: see Senior, The Fenians and Canada, ibid., at 135. Their release was further delayed by Fenian outbreaks in Ireland in 1867 and a revival in the United States in 1868. On Riel and Scott, see J.M. Bumsted, “Why Shoot Thomas Scott? A Study in Historical Evidence” in J.M. Bumsted, ed., Thomas Scott’s Body and Other Essays on Early Manitoba History (Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 2000) at 197 ff. On the Red River rising, see G.F.G. Stanley, Louis Riel (Toronto: Ryerson, 1963) and The Birth of Western Canada: A History of the Riel Rebellions (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1961).



In 1885, Riel’s return to Canada led to a new crisis, this time in Saskatchewan. Riel’s Exovedate replayed obsolete tactics and his decision to ally with Natives rather than aggrieved white settlers panicked sympathisers. Riel’s demands for “material”7 sounded to Sir John A. Macdonald like a bid for a second bribe. Righteously, the prime minister declared he would “uphold the law and enforce the peace.”8 Ottawa mobilized 6,000 militia, Batoche fell on May 12, Riel surrendered and, instead of a grand state trial in Ottawa, six jurors in Regina decided his fate. Like Riel in 1870, Macdonald decided that a death was necessary to uphold “peace, order and good Government”. Riel was generally forgotten until the 1930s. Canadian communities faced scores of local crises when threats to property and order were met by the volunteer militia.9 Created in 1855 for “aid of the civil power”, Canada’s volunteer militia had answered ninety six calls by 1914, many of them in the early years of the 20th century. Most of our tiny “permanent force” spent 1909-10 in the Cape Breton coal fields; a comparable Civil Aid Force guarded Nanaimo coal mines against strikers for the year before August, 1914.10 We then embarked on our biggest crisis yet.





Riel allegedly told D.H. MacDowall, the elected member for the district: “My name is Riel and I want material.” See D. Morton & R.H. Roy, Telegrams of the North-West Rebellion (Toronto: Champlain Society, 1972). Ibid., and National Archives, Dewdney Papers, vol. 3 at 1105, Macdonald to Dewdney, March 23, 1885. On attitudes to labour turbulence at the time of the Haymarket Explosion, see D. Morton, “The Globe and the Labour Question: Ontario Liberalism in the ‘Great Upheaval’, May 1886” (1981) 72 Ontario History 1 at 19-39. On radical unionists, see M. Leier, Where the Fraser River Flows: The Industrial Workers of the World in British Columbia (Vancouver: New Star, 1990); A.R. McCormack, “The Industrial Workers of the World in Western Canada, 1905-1914”, Historical Papers, 1975; A.R. McCormack, Reformers, Rebels and Revolutionaries, The Western Canadian Radical Movement, 1899-1919 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1978); and “Wobblies and Blanketstiffs: The Constituency of the IWW in Western Canada” in W.J.C. Cherwinski & G. Kealey, eds., Lectures in Canadian Labour and Working-Class History (St. John’s: Committee on Canadian Labour History, 1985). See D. Morton, “Aid to the Civil Power: The Canadian Militia in Support of Social Order, 1867-1914” (1970) 51 Can. Hist. Rev. 4; T.V. Scudamore, “Aid to the Civil Power” (1932) 9 Canadian Defence Quarterly 3; D. McGillivray, “Military Aid to the Civil Power: The Cape Breton Experience in the 1920s” (1974) 3 Acadiensis 2.



On August 4, 1914, Canadians of British origin displayed loyalty to the Empire; mob bullying told Canadians of German origin—39,577 of them German-born—that they were not welcome to join. Another 190,000 Canadians had roots in the Austro-Hungarian empire, and over sixty thousand had been born there. European history revealed that Czechs, Serbs, Slovenes, Ukrainians owed little allegiance to the Habsburgs. Few Canadians bothered to find out.11 When Parliament met on August 18, the prime minister, Sir Robert Borden invited a Halifax lawyer, W.F. O’Connor, to draft emergency powers. “Make absolutely sure that you omit no power that the Government may need”, demanded a Liberal MP. O’Connor complied. His War Measures bill gave the cabinet authority to do anything necessary for “the security, defence, peace, order and welfare of Canada.”12 Britain’s Defence of the Realm Act or DORA was frail by comparison. Borden asked Canadians to differentiate Prussian militarists from peace-loving Germans and he ignored Austro-Hungarians. An order-incouncil banned enemy reservists from leaving Canada. Despite warnings from Immigration officials, no steps were taken to enforce the order. Why? “[T]he inadvertent arrest of United States citizens [...] would almost inevitably lead to diplomatic representations.”13 Enemy reservists had over a week to get away. However early German victories had to be due to treachery. While patriotism filled the Canadian Expeditionary Force, paranoia filled jails. Ethnic prejudice, malicious gossip and the yellow press allowed patriotic vigilantes to keep police and Governments busy. Infernal flying machines would bomb Ottawa from upstate New York.14 Thousands were interned or paroled as prisoners of war.15 “Registrars of Enemy Aliens” recorded suspicious foreigners. A retired






A.F. Duguid, Official History of the Canadian Forces in the Great War, 1914-19, General Series, vol. I, “Chronicle, August 1914-September, 1915” (Ottawa: King’s Printer, 1938) at 19. D. Morton: Marching to Armageddon: Canadians and the Great War, 1914-19 (Toronto: Lester & Orpen Dennys, 1989) at 6-7. Duguid, supra note 11, Appendice 235 at 165, P.C. 2086, August 8, 1914. The government ignored advice from its Immigration Department that numbers of likely German and Austrian reservists were leaving. R.E. Bartholomew, “Phantom German Air Raids on Canada: War Hysteria in Quebec and Ontario During the Great War” (1998) 7 Can. Military Hist. 4. Duguid, supra note 11 at 166.



general, W.D. Otter, became director of internment operations. The Dominion Police and Royal North-West Mounted Police promised him “secret service assistance.”16 Ordinary Canadians provided the steam, and occasionally a selective valve.17 They demanded that German-born employees be dismissed. Mere gossip tore men from their families and businesses and condemned them, untried, to police cells or drafty immigration halls. Makeshift barbed wire cages, tented camps, and drafty exhibition halls held internees. Ontario sent its middle class internees to the crumbling casemates of Fort Henry. At Sault Ste-Marie, a militia colonel felt free to plunder their possessions.18 Nova Scotia prisoners joined German seamen in an old factory building in Amherst. Others sheltered in lumber shanties. 86 wives and 156 children joined husbands and fathers in huts at Vernon, British Columbia, or Spirit Lake in Quebec’s Clay Belt; others survived on meagre allowances for food and fuel.19 As prisoners of war, The Hague Convention entitled internees to the conditions of a captor’s own troops, including distinctions between officers and other ranks. Civilians classified as officers received better accommodation and were not compelled to work.20 Such internees had Canadian counterparts in Germany, mostly housed in racing stables






P.C. 2721, October 28, 1914. In February, P.C. 388 transferred Otter and his operations from the militia to the Department of Justice. See D. Morton, “Sir William Otter and Internment Operations in Canada during the First World War” (1974) 55 Can. Hist. Rev. 1. On internment, see Sir W. Otter, Internment Operations, 1914-1920 (Ottawa: King’s Printer, 1921). Jack Canuck, a sensational periodical, criticized interning “harmless Austrians” but not Germans on January 15, 1915. On Colonel Penhorwood and internees, see “Case of Peter Kramerinck”, National Archives of Canada, Otter Papers, December 2, 1915. A German note verbale denouncing the pay and working conditions at Kapuskasing got a stern rejoinder from the deputy minister of Justice, E.L. Newcombe, arguing that enemy aliens had been saved from indigence by becoming prisoners of war. “[I]t is in accordance with our domestic system, to employ at such labour as they are qualified to perform, persons whether native or foreign who are cast upon the charity of the State” and enemy aliens were no exception. There was no German reply. PC 2039, August 28, 1915 and National Archives, Department of Justice file 1194/55. Duguid, supra note 11, Appendix 235 at 167-168. See also D. Morton, Silent Battle: Canadian Prisoners of War in Germany, 1914-1919 (Toronto: Lester, 1992) at 8-10 and passim.



outside Berlin.21 Such middle-class internees had no counterpart among the thousands of unemployed labourers, interned by Canadian municipal authorities because local taxpayers refused to feed enemy aliens left to starve by railway contractors and logging firms.22 General Otter protested their treatment, released those he could, and built new camps at Kapuskasing, and others in the national parks. Internees cut bush and cleared land for postwar veterans’ settlements.23 An April 1915 order-incouncil allowed alien unemployed to seek work in the US if they pledged not to help the enemy.24 Furious at German gas attacks at Ypres and the sinking of the Lusitania, Canadians forced more internments on a Government which resisted the expense.25 Trapped by a Habsburg identity many despised, thousands of workers were confined in makeshift camps and put to work for a mere 25 cents a day.26 Canada’s wartime labour shortage ultimately forced their release, often to work in Cape Breton coal mines.




24 25


On Canadians in Germany: J.D. Ketchum, Ruhleben: A Prison Camp Society (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1965); R. Jackson, The Prisoners, 1914-18 (London: Routledge, 1989), I. Cohen, The Ruhleben Prison Camp: A Record of Nineteen Months Internment (London: Methuen, 1917); H. Béland, My Three Years in a German Prison (Toronto: Briggs, 1919). National Archives, W.D. Otter Diary, January 5, 1915. See also D. Morton, The Canadian General: Sir William Otter (Toronto: Hakkert, 1974). W. Kirkconnell, “Kapuskasing: An Historic Sketch” (1922) 28 Queen’s Quarterly 3. Kirkconnell spent much of the war as a young officer at Kapuskasing, building his understanding of Canadian ethnicity from the experience, before choosing an academic and literary career. See P.C. 810, April 24, 1915. P.C. 1501, June 26, 1915 authorized confinement “at the public charge of these aliens of enemy nationality whose presence in any works, employment or community is a cause of such apprehended peril.” See Duguid, supra note 11, Appendix 235 at 167. The amount was justified as Militia “working pay”, an allowance paid to a soldier employed at his trade in addition to his basic pay and allowances of $1.10. As civilians, internees got no base pay. Later, some worked on road gangs for the Canadian Northern for 20 cents an hour less 50 cents a day subsistence. See Duguid, supra note 11, Appendix 235 at 168. On Ukrainian internment: B.S. Kordan & P. Melnycky, In the Shadow of the Rockies: Diary of the Castle Mountain Internment Camp,1915-1917 (Edmonton: Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies Press, 1991); L. Luciuk, A Time for Atonement: Canada’s First National Internment Operations and the UkrainianCanadians, 1914-1920 (Kingston: Limestone Press, 1988); and Ukrainians and Internment Operations in Ontario during the First World War (Toronto: Multicultural Historical Society of Ontario, 1988).



By 1919, Ottawa had interned 8,579 men and women, 2,009 of them Germans and 5,954 defined as Austro-Hungarians, at a cost, exclusive of guards, of $4,445,092.93. British colonies that sent internees to Canada paid a quarter of the cost. Escapes and camp riots took six lives, all by rifle fire.27 Despite three man-made disasters, the Parliament Buildings fire on February 3, 1916; the collapse of the Quebec bridge on September 11, 1916, and the Halifax explosion on December 6, 1917, politicians and police boasted that no confirmed act of espionage or sabotage occurred in Canada during the 1914-18 war. German state archives indicated that none had been intended. By 1918, Canadian paranoia had a new target. The Bolshevik revolution turned Russians into enemies. C.H. Cahan, a corporate merger specialist from Halifax, blossomed into Canada’s first Director of Public Safety. Backed by both federal police forces, and special powers under the War Measures Act, Cahan pursued foreigners and even pure Cockney radicals.28 Influential citizens rescued Leon Trotsky from the Amherst internment camp and R.B. Bennett defended war resisters, but opposition to Cahan’s homefront witch hunt was almost mute. After the war, Ottawa merged the RNWMP and the Dominion Police as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), to battle bootleggers, counterfeiters, and subversives. Born in Fred Farley’s barn near Guelph on May 23, 1921, the Communist party provided the merged force with its main target.29 Certainly the RCMP was R.B. Bennett’s “iron heel of ruthlessness”. By 1935, when William Lyon Mackenzie King returned to power, Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy both influenced their national communities in Canada. Japan used its consul generals for similar purposes. Ottawa knew little of these populations.30 The Spanish Civil War created a new phrase: “fifth columns” of fascist traitors had given Francisco

27 28



For internment statistics, see Duguid, supra note 11, Appendix 235 at 168. On Cahan, see R.C. Brown, Robert Laird Borden: A Biography, vol. II, “1914-1937” (Toronto: Macmillan, 1980) at 163-164. W. Rodney, Soldiers of the International: A History of the Communist party of Canada, 1919-1929 (Toronto: University of Toronto, 1968) at 37. The 1921-1941 census growth for non-British, non-French Canadians grew by 63.9 per cent. See N. Hillmer, B. Kordan & L. Luciuk, eds., On Guard for Thee: Ethnicity and the Canadian State, 1939-1945 (Ottawa: Supply and Services Canada, 1988) at xiii.



Franco victory over Republican militias.31 In 1937, King ordered the RCMP to add Germans, Italians and Japanese to its Communist preoccupation. Mountie response was frail: its intelligence staff in Ottawa had two members. Mountie informers included Gouzenko agent Fred Rose, and Etsuji Morii, criminal kingpin in Vancouver.32 Ethnic mailing lists provided most of the names for future raids.33 In 1938, officials drafted new Defence of Canada Regulations (DOCR).34 In May 1939, Canada’s Provisional War Book proposed immediate internment for enemy aliens with “real proof of disloyalty or subversion”. In August, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Treaty linked the Communists to the Nazis.35 When Hitler struck Poland on September 1, the Minister of Justice, Ernest Lapointe, and senior civil servants took a quick look at RCMP lists, reflected on the public mood, and ordered mass arrests. As members of Parliament assembled in Ottawa on September 4 for a prewar session, carloads of RCMP and local police circulated with their lists in Toronto, Montreal, and other cities. They collected about 800 alleged Nazi suspects.36







Mount tells how the Japanese recruited Franco’s Falangist consul in Vancouver, Kobbe Chinchilla Fernando, to serve as a wartime agent. See Mount, supra note 1 at 97-98. On Rose as informer: J.L. Granatstein, A Man of Influence: Norman Robertson and Canadian Statecraft (Ottawa: Deneau, 1982) at 65, citing P.A.C., L.B. Pearson Papers, M1, vol. 13; Robertson to Pearson, October 29, 1946. On Morii, see J.L. Granatstein & G.A. Jackson, “The Evacuation of the Japanese-Canadians in 1942: A Realist Critique of the Received Version” in Hillmer, Kordan & Luciuk, supra note 30 at 103-105. The RCMP seems to have relied on the 250-member Nazi Party in Canada (NSDAP), 500-member German Workers’ Party (DAF) and even the Canadian Society for German Culture or Bund with 2000 members. See R.H. Keyserlingk, “Breaking the Nazi Plot: Canadian Government Attitudes Towards German-Canadians, 1939-45” in Hillmer, Kordan & Luciuk, supra note 30 at 57. For a less complacent view of Hitlerian propaganda in Canada see L.-R. Betcherman, The Swastika and the Maple Leaf: Fascist Movements in Canada in the Thirties (Toronto: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 1975). See Keyserlingk, ibid., at 53-54. On the Nazis in Canada, see J. Wagner, Brothers Beyond the Seas: National Socialism in Canada (Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1982) at 131-132; J. Sawatsky, Men in the Shadows (Toronto: Doubleday Canada, 1980) at 67 ff. On Norman Robertson view of the communist threat, see Granatstein, supra note 32 at 82-84. Far from being intellectuals, professionals, and hardened Nazis, Lapointe was surprised to learn that most were unskilled labourers, incapable of the vast conspiracy the police soon claimed to have smashed. See Keyserlingk, supra note 33 at 54; C. Harvison, The Horsemen (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1967) at 86, 93 & 101; V. Kemp, Without



Aware of their ignorance, officials consulted Professor Watson Kirkconnell and other students of Europe. Kirkconnell insisted that “the third factor” was no threat to Canada’s security or unity.37 Since it benefited largely from “ethnic” votes, it was an opinion King’s Government welcomed. Days after a March 26, 1940 general election gave King’s Liberals 181 of 245 seats and 51.5 per cent of the popular vote. King’s senior official, Norman Robertson, resisted interning Communists, though they did far more than Nazis to disrupt Canada’s modest early war effort.38 Two weeks after the 1940 election, the situation dramatically changed. On April 9, fifth columnists aided a surprise Nazi invasion of Norway. A month later, Dutch, Belgian and French resistance had all wilted under Hitler’s Blitzkrieg. Canadians felt panic. In one day, King’s office received 228 messages demanding action. King noted how alarmed O.D. Skelton, J.W. Pickersgill and Arnold Heeney became. “It amuses me a little,” his diary recorded, “how completely some men swing to opposite extremes in one day.”39 On June 4, DOCR regulations proscribed Communists along with several “front” groups.40 When Mussolini joined Hitler on June 10, police in Montreal and Toronto used lists built from denunciations by political enemies and business rivals to seize hundreds





Fear, Favour or Affection: Thirty Five Years with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (Toronto: Longmans-Green, 1958) at 202. Cited from W. Kirkconnell, Canada, Europe and Hitler (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1939) by Hillmer, Kordan & Luciuk, supra note 30 at xvff. J.L. Granatstein, supra note 32 at 83-85. Robertson got substantial information about Nazis and Fascists in Canada from Fred Rose, a Communist leader and future nuclear spy. See ibid., at 85n. N.F. Driesziger, “Nationalities” 3. King, claims Professor Keyserlingk, came to fear a coup by angry patriots and paramilitary groups like the Canadian Corps Association. See National Archives, King Papers, J-2, vol. 223-224; ibid., vol. 232, 348P, May 1940, sabotage files. On banning the Communists, see I. Avakumovic, The Communist Party in Canada (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1975) at 142 ff; J. Kolasky, Shattered Illusion: The History of Ukranian Pro-Communist Organizations in Canada (Toronto: PMA Books, 1979) at 28; W. Beeching & P. Clarke, Yours in the Struggle: Reminiscences of Tim Buck (Toronto: NC Press, 1977) at 289 ff. Smaller numbers of internees may have reflected better RCMP targeting. By January, 1941, 127 of 763 arrested Germans were released and 105 of 586 Italians but only 5 of 87 Communists. (Granatstein, supra note 32 at 90. Doris Neilson, elected for the “Unity Party” in Saskatchewan, gave the Communists their first dependable M.P.



of Italian Canadian men.41 Trains took hundreds of internees to Petawawa, an army training camp 166 km northwest of Ottawa. Weeks later, after he denounced registration, Montreal’s mayor, Camillien Houde, joined them. These events were over-shadowed by the wholesale evacuation of Japanese-Canadians from coastal British Columbia in 1942. Sixty years later, the evacuation remains an agreed national shame, complete with compensation for those fortunate to live long enough to qualify. In its essentials, the events imitated previous war-related crises, including a lack of serious evidence, a dark core of racial prejudice, inflammatory media and reluctant acquiescence by a Government pressured by supporters. Removing 21,000 Japanese-Canadian men, women and children was based on the need to protect them from violent white neighbours when the RCMP and armed forces faced more urgent threats. The lack of hostile activity justified an arbitrary action. So did Japanese military success in the early months of the war.42 However, there was no precedent for the disposal of Japanese-Canadian assets in mid-war, efforts at forcible repatriation to a starving homeland and other measures akin to a “Final Solution” of decades of anti-Japanese prejudice on Canada’s West Coast.43 As in the earlier war, Ottawa’s internees lived in bush-camps under army discipline and rations, guarded by elderly soldiers of the Veterans’ Guard of Canada, in conditions defined for war prisoners in postwar Geneva Conventions. Cut off from their families, friends and jobs,44 internees believed that they were punished for their ethnicity and their age: 18 to 39 marked them as potential soldiers. Young rebels or





B. Ramirez, “Ethnicity on Trial: The Italians of Montreal and the Second World War” in Hillmer, Kordan & Luciuk, supra note 30 at 72-73. J.L. Granatstein & G.A. Johnson, “The Evacuation of the Japanese-Canadians, 1942: A Realist Critique of the Received Version” in Hillmer, Kordan & Luciuk, supra note 30 at 101-117. K. Adachi, The Enemy That Never Was (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1976); A. Gomer Sunahara, The Politics of Racism: The Uprooting of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War (Toronto: James Lorimer, 1981); National Association of Japanese-Canadians, Democracy Betrayed: The Case for Redress (Ottawa: NAJC, 1985). S. Bjorkman, “Report on Camp ‘W’: Internment Camp ‘100’ North of Lake Superior in World War II”, (1997) 89 Ontario History 3.



gambara interned at Angler in Northern Ontario, were locked up because they were more outspoken about their rights as Canadians than older issei. * * * While the treatment of internees in 1939-42 followed a common pattern, familiarity with that pattern could help us in current and future crises. In 1939, Ottawa tried to avoid the indiscriminate internment of 1914-15 by making lists—but failed to discriminate. To be fair, doing so required informers, surveillance and double agents which were both costly and repugnant to an open society. They were systematically attacked by totalitarians as much as by liberals.45 Repugnant solutions help the public to forget only to replay its panic at the next moment of crisis. The injustice of internment underlines the need for judicial safeguards. Shocked by threats that they might have to justify their 193940 seizures, the RCM Police also recognized that many internees seized in their dawn sweeps were utterly harmless. No doubt Canada harboured many people who wished its defeat in 1914, 1939 or at any other time, but such people were by no means “enemy aliens”. Nor did such people seriously consider pursuing their own goal.


Observing contemporary Germany, Jane Kramer observes another paradox: how a minimalist government lacks accurate information but a police state generates paranoia. See J. Kramer, “Private Lives: Germany’s Troubled War on Terrorism”, New Yorker (February 2, 2002) at 36.



Table I Civilian Internment in Canada, September 4, 1939 – August 18, 1945 Category


Released Deceased Mentally Detained Ill

18 Aug.














National Union















Miscellaneous TOTALS


* Most Japanese-Canadians were considered “evacuees”, not internees. Source: R. Keyserlingk, “Agents Within the Gates”, 63-64.