Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Henry Shimizu Interview
Narrator: Henry Shimizu
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: July 25 & 26, 2006
Densho ID: denshovh-shenry-01-0060

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TI: So I'm going to move on, beyond plastic surgery. And in the '80s, you also got involved in another area, the Japanese Canadian Redress Foundation.

HS: Yes.

TI: And I wanted to just have you talk a little bit about that and your role, how that came about.

HS: Well, see, I had always been involved with the ethnic areas in Alberta. I was a member of the Alberta, I was a member of the Alberta Cultural Heritage Council, and then from there, I became a member of the Canadian Multiculturalism Council that was in Ottawa. And so I was speaking and talking with the minister of multiculturalism, Weiner, Jerry Weiner who was the minister of, he was a minister of this area for the Mulroney government at the time. And the decision had been made that they would finally recognize the wrongs that was put upon the Japanese Canadians during World War II, and they also decided that there would be a monetary compensation, and they decided that it would be $21,000. The same parallel was going on with Reagan and the American Citizens League, ACL.


HS: JACL, yeah. Same, JACL. Same thing was going on in the States. We were going, in September (...) 1988, the final decision was made to bring it up in Parliament. However, that decision actually was made in August. It was made in early, in middle August or early August, because they had a secret meeting with people like Art Miki and his group, people who were called the Settlement, Settlement Committee, and this is a part of the NAJC, the National Association of Japanese Canadians, of which he was president. They had, the Settlement Committee had met with Jerry Weiner, and they had decided that they would, they would go ahead with it. And they had a secret meeting in the Ritz hotel, Ritz-Carlton hotel in Montreal, which the, the bureaucrats from that, his, from Weiner's department came, and they were told by, through Mulroney but through his lieutenant who was Lucien Bouchard, who later became a member of the Separatist group. But at that time, he said, "You guys sit here, if I hammer out an agreement," and at that time, that agreement they hammered out was that every individual would get $21,000, who had been affected by the evacuation, by the, by the Order in Council back in February of 1942, and during that period. Anybody born during that period when that was in effect was then, would get $21,000. On top of that, they got two other recommendations that they were accepted by the government. One was there should be twelve million dollars given as a grant to form the Redress, the Redress Foundation, Japanese Canadian Redress Foundation to regenerate the Japanese communities across Canada, which had been decimated by the removal and by the sale of all the property. 'Cause a lot of the properties that they sold were properties that were owned by various Japanese associations along the West Coast. Like in Prince Rupert, that big kaigan, that big building with its property around there, that sold, and of course, nobody got anything out of that because it was an association of, of the community. The second thing, third thing they did was they agreed to a 24 million dollar race relations foundation, and that would be developed in the future. Those three things were agreed to, and that was, that was proclaimed (...) in the government of (Canada) in the parliament on September 22, 1988.

TI: And in addition to that $21,000, a formal apology, also.

HS: Yeah, a formal apology at the beginning. Formal apology plus the monetary... it had always been a decision that you couldn't just have an apology. Trudeau had done it already, he said he apologized for it, but that was, that wasn't, from the lawyers who were involved, they said, "There has to be a monetary aspect to it or you don't really, or you don't really have closure." So this was the monetary...

TI: So before we get to the twelve million dollar sort of Redress Foundation, I didn't, I wasn't aware of this 24 million dollar race relations. Has that been done?

HS: It's been done. It's in process, it's already, they have a foundation, race relations foundation which has existed right now, and working away at developing programs that would help in race relationships.

<End Segment 60> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.