Racism social clubs and recreational services, and

Racism
and Discrimination have haunted Canadian history over a long period of time. In
every corner of our country’s patriotic past, we see a glimpse of the dark
events that have occurred. It has disturbed the lives of many innocent
Canadians, especially Canadian immigrants. The rise of Adrien Arcand, Japanese
Internment, and the rise of Islamophobia post 9/11, have had a negative impact
on Canadian society and diversity by targeting individuals through threatening
their rights and freedoms. To expand our country’s bright future, we must first
see and understand it’s past imperfections.

Our
timeline begins in 1938, the roar of another World War on the rise and the talk
of Hitler and his Nazis brainwashing the minds of many around the world was
growing louder every day. These anti-Semitic views were also heard in Canada,
as the voice of Hitler was being carried by Adrien Arcand.  A local Québécois journalist was on the rise.
Fascist, Adrien Arcand was beginning his mind domination over many Canadians,
especially in1938, when he started to gain his own following; “his main goal was
to target Canadian Jews by inhabiting them at Hudson’s Bay.” 1 His
very own National Unity Party was growing into the largest Canadian anti-Semitic
political party of the time. Being the founder of the party, Adrien Arcand was
drawing a large number of supporters to his rallies, where he spread his views
and beliefs by instilling fear in the minds of local Canadians. These views and
beliefs spread throughout the community drawing Canadian Jews out and targeting
them in daily lives. Canadian Jews businesses started losing customers, their
homes were vandalized, only a certain number could attend universities, they
were not allowed in some social clubs and recreational services, and the
immigration of Canadian Jews was now close to none. “Before the talk of World
War II, there were around 100,000 Jews living in Canada.  During the 1930s, permission for Jews to
enter Canada was almost never given.” 2 There were many anti-Semitic
political leaders in Canada, but Adrien Arcand was, by far, the most
influential as his way of communicating with people was through the use of fear
against Jews, and he was successful. Therefore, his rise to fame is defining
because he was a huge influence of anti-Semitic events in Canada, and his
influence impacted many lives. The rise of Adrien Arcand had a negative impact
on the rights, freedoms, and the immigration of Jews in Canada, as he targeted
and portrayed them as acting antagonistically in Canadian society.

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In
addition, during World War II the start of major Japanese Canadian discrimination
began. “Around 23,000 Japanese Canadians inhabited Canada at the time, with
majority of them living in British Colombia.” 3 During World War II,
tensions started to build as Canada and Japan were on opposing allied forces.
Japanese Canadians were seen as spies even though no proof against them was
found. Conditions worsened after the attack on Pearl Harbour, and the capture
of Hong Kong, in 1941. Canadian citizens developed a revengeful mentality
against the Japanese Canadians following the high number of casualties and number
of  imprisoned Canadian soldiers during
the capture of Hong Kong. Pressures from citizens and political members in
Canada grew and called for action against the Japanese citizens. On January 14,
1942, Prime Minister King ordered that all adult Japanese men were to be
excluded from their homes and to work in road labour camps. By summer all
Japanese Canadians were placed in detention. “A 100-mile-wide strip of all
Japanese Canadians along the coast was placed.” 4 The Canadian
government used the War Measures Act against Japanese citizens which gave the
government permission to seize Japanese Canadian’s property, place them in
internment camps, and fingerprint them. Japanese immigration had also come to a
halt. Many of the Japanese were fishermen, so the Canadian government seized
their boats cancelling out a major part of their livelihood. The men were sent
to work camps, while the women and children were placed in internment camps.
Their rights and freedoms were exceptionally limited as they were fired from
work, photographed, fingerprinted, stripped of their right to vote, had to
carry an ID card always, and some were even deported. Japanese Internment had a
negative impact on diversity of Japanese citizens in Canada as they were
stripped of rights and freedoms and excluded from Canadian society.

Moreover,
Islamophobia in Canada intensified after the 9/11 attacks. A tragedy occurred
in the United States of America when an Islamic extremist group attacked the
Twin Towers and the Pentagon. United States and Canada always shared a
close-knit relationship so after the attack when Islamophobia became extremely
high in the United States, these views had a ripple effect across Canada. The
public climate of hate and fear against Muslims increased tremendously after
the attack. Canadian society worked to make the everyday Muslim feel like an
outsider. The news and media further exacerbated the problem and increased
hatred toward Muslims. News articles, videos, and other platforms allowed many
Canadians to dehumanize the Muslim culture by labelling Muslims as terrorists. Muslim
immigrants looking to immigrate to Canada had to undergo lengthy background
checks, with some being denied access. These events that occurred were
perpetrated by local Canadian citizens. Incidents, such as burning the Quran –
the Holy book of Islam- were increasing and could be seen all over the media. The
Quebec City Mosque shooting, many events of women being ripped of their Hijab,
and the normalization of the word “Terrorist” against Muslims are just a few
examples of the long, constant, history of Islamophobia in Canada. This event
is particularly significant because it is still happening, and many people use
9/11 as the excuse for their Islamophobic actions. “Over the last 16 years,
crimes against Muslims have gone up by 253%.” 5 “Liberal MP, Iqra Khalid,
passed M-1O3, a motion, in the 42nd Canadian Parliament,
2017, to eliminate Islamophobia and religious discrimination in daily Canadian
society.” 6 She was shut down as Conservatives argued that the term
Islamophobia lacks meaning and takes away from the general concept. This proved
the merits of the argument that many government officials refuse to recognize
the fact that Islamophobia is a well-known concept that is present in the
general society. This ignorance fuels the minds of Islamophobic people in
Canada, which further increases the likelihood of an anti-Islamic attacks
against Muslims, such as “the Quebec Mosque Shooting – killing six people and
leaving several injured -” 7 to continue to occur. The rise of
Islamophobia post 9/11 had a negative impact on the lives of Muslim Canadians,
by creating a state of fear and stripping them of religious freedoms and
beliefs as their values were targeted by Canadian society.

To
conclude, Canadian history has many dark corners. People before us came and
suffered so we could live a life of liberty, freedom, and value. Although the
conversation is never over as signs of racism and discrimination are still seen
in Canada, we must continue to learn and educate ourselves because the discrimination
against innocent minorities has had a negative impact on Canada as a country.
The rise of Adrien Arcand, Japanese Internment, and the rise of Islamophobia
post 9/11 had negative impacts on Canadian society and diversity by targeting
individuals through threatening their rights and freedoms. These are insidious
and inexcusable events that occurred in the history of our country, events that
we should remember and use as a way to make the Canadian society better for
everyone. Every citizen needs to contribute toward eliminating the racist and
discriminatory ideas from our community to make Canada a safer and welcoming
place for all.

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