Enemy Alien

Enemy Alien

| 26 min

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This documentary tells the story of the frustration and injustice experienced by Japanese Canadians, who fought long and hard to be accepted as Canadians.

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Enemy Alien, Jeanette Lerman, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

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  • director
    Jeanette Lerman
  • editing
    Jeanette Lerman
  • executive producer
    Wolf Koenig
  • commentary
    Stanley Jackson
    Jeanette Lerman
  • camera
    Eugene Boyko
  • animation camera
    Raymond Dumas
    Simon Leblanc
  • sound editing
    John Knight
  • re-recording
    Jean-Pierre Joutel
  • consultant
    David Suzuki
  • narrator
    Stanley Jackson
  • music
    Eldon Rathburn

  • boutinma

    I am not of Japanese decent, but I am very proud to live in a country that admits the mistakes of the past, makes efforts to redress those mistakes, and learns from them so they may never happen again. I happen to think that is very central to what it means to be Canadian.

    boutinma, 10 Apr 2015
  • boutinma

    It was not until the mid-1970s that the thirty year ban on access to WWII government files was lifted and researchers could begin to reassess the government's wartime actions. Historian Ann Gomer Sunahara paved the way for a re-examination of the uprooting by drawing on the newly available documents in the National Archives of Canada. Her study, "The Politics of Racism" (Lorimer, 1981), provided irrefutable proof that the uprooting of Japanese Canadians was a political, and not a security measure. There, in the dusty archives, she unearthed evidence in the black-and-white of memos and reports, stating clearly and unequivocally, that the top military advisors of the day and the RCMP, had not viewed the Japanese Canadian community on the west coast as a threat to national security. It had been the influential Ian Mackenzie, MP for Vancouver Centre, and advisor to Prime Minister Mackenzie King on the so-called "Japanese problem," who had pressed for the mass uprooting as a political means of accommodating the powerful pressure from racist politicians and individuals in BC.

    boutinma, 10 Apr 2015
  • sixam

    The Supreme Court of Canada determined the relocation was legal. That decision, which is mentioned in the film, was issued in 1946.

    sixam, 10 May 2014
  • TrevorD

    The decision to intern the Japanese Canadians was based on racism and greed and went against the advice of the Military and the RCMP who said Japanese Canadians posed little threat to national security. I would remind you that Canada has it's own Supreme Court and the ruling of a foreign court should have little bearing on Canada. What was legal and illegal in 1941 is not the same as what is legal and moral in Canada today or in 1988 when the apology was issued.

    TrevorD, 13 Mar 2014
  • sixam

    Why should democratic governments have to apologize for lawful measures they enact during a time of national danger? There is no presumption of innocence in war. I would hazard to say that the Japanese (and Italians and Ukrainians in WWI) were treated very humanely compared to the genocide committed by our "gallant" Soviet allies upon their own people during WWII. (Don't believe me? Read the Gulag Archipelago). The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1944 that internment did not offend the Bill of Rights. It is an ugly episode in Canadian history but let's stop the guilt trip and view it objectively.

    sixam, 19 Aug 2013

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