SENATE REFORM – A NEED FOR A CHAMBER OF SOBER SECOND THOUGHT

SENATE REFORM?

rn

DO IT VERY CAREFULLY IF YOU MUST, MR. HARPER

rn

In 1949, Canadian Senate stopped deportation of thousands of Canadians of Japanese origin. If the Senate didn’t stop it, it would have been another shameful page of the Canadian history. This episode makes a strong case for a chamber of sober second thought. Senate may need to be reformed. But let’s not politicize it a la U.S. Senate.

rn

When the war of 1940 – 44 ended, the law was enacted in the House of Commons regarding the future of Japanese-Canadians. Those who had been interned or removed from their homes in B.C. were given two options; paid passages to Japan or permanent removal from the B.C. coast. It was where many of them had made homes. The scheme was called "Repatriation". That was a misnomer, because majority of them were Canadian citizens, and Japan for them was a foreign country. It was deportation. Many chose Japan because of intolerable experiences of internment and uncertain futures awaiting in unknown parts of Canada where racism was still strong. By the time Senate halted the deportation process, about two thousand Canadian citizens had already been shipped to a country which was devastated by war and where people were starving.

rn

There may be a case for senate reform. But let’s do it carefully. The Upper House can become another political instrument, which can be influenced by hysteria. Then who will check the excesses.

rn

September 13, 2006

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.