An ad released by the Peoples Party of Canada (PPC) against Canada’s official multiculturalism policy has sparked criticism for its confusing use of a photo of the Japanese Canadian internment during the Second World War.
According to a report by Straight, PPC released a video ad which features PPC leader, Maxime Bernier talking his party’s “plan” to repeal the Multiculturalism Act and eliminate all funding for promoting multiculturalism. Bernier explains that immigrants who came to Canada in the past used to keep “some aspects of culture of origin” and became Canadian but “with a distinct flavor.”
Yes, maybe we do (to you.) But people of color are not responsible for your flavorlessness.
Official multiculturalism is based on the idea that there is no unified Canadian society and no distinct Canadian identity to integrate into, and that we are just a collection of ethnic and religious tribes living side by side.https://t.co/uBspfrviqN pic.twitter.com/wVZDnlpMSG
— Maxime Bernier (@MaximeBernier) September 27, 2019
He also stated, the current multicultural policy “encourages immigrants to keep the values and culture they left behind instead of integrating into Canadian society and adopting Canadian values and culture.”
But as Bernier talks, there is an image that has created concern and confusion. At the 0:13 mark, Bernier states “In the past, immigrants who came to Canada readily integrated into our society”. As he speaks, an image of Japanese Canadians who were interned in B.C. during the Second World War pops up. The photo can be found on the website for the National Association of Japanese Canadians (NAJC) with the caption ” ‘Repatriation’ to Japan, Slocan, 1946. NNM 1918.104.22.168.”.
The ad does not specify the historical context of the photo. During the Second World War, 22,000 Japanese Canadians were forcibly removed outside of a 100-mile exclusion zone along the British Columbian coast under the War Measures Act, and all of their possessions and property left behind were sold off by the government. Not only does this statement disregard the terrible persecution Japanese Canadians endured, it skips the first chapters of Canada’s colonial history and the indigenous people completely.
Culture doesn’t create people. People create culture.