Remembering one of Canada's darkest hours
In a country with an established tradition of respecting civil liberties, wartime hysteria led to 21,000 people of Japanese descent being forcibly removed. With news of the attack on the American naval base at Hawaii on December 7, 1941, years of smoldering fear and resentment against Japanese Canadians exploded into panic and anger in British Columbia. On January 14, 1942, a 100-mile wide strip along the coast was designated a "protected area" by the federal government and all male Japanese Canadians between the ages of 18 and 45 were to be removed from the area and taken to road camps in the interior. On March 4, 1942, all people of Japanese racial origin were told to leave the protected area. A dusk to dawn curfew was imposed and enforced by police. Most of the Japanese with either naturalized citizens or born in Canada. On September 22, 1988, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney delivered an apology, and the Canadian government announced a compensation package, one month after President Ronald Reagan made similar gestures in the United States.