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Title: Orest Kruhlak Interview
Narrator: Orest Kruhlak
Interviewers: Roger Daniels (primary); Tom Ikeda (secondary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: August 3, 2010
Densho ID: denshovh-korest-01

<Begin Segment 1>

TI: So today is August 3, 2010, we're in Seattle at the Densho studio, and conducting the interview is Professor Roger Daniels. On camera is Dana Hoshide, I'm Tom Ikeda, I'm the secondary interviewer, and we're interviewing Orest Kruhlak. And at this point I'm just going to go ahead and turn it over to Roger.

RD: Orest, why don't you start out with giving us, very briefly, family background, where you were born, brought up.

OK: I was born in Edmonton, Alberta, and was raised there until I went off to college. And I attended Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington, for my bachelor's degree, and I majored in political science with a minor in history. And then did my PhD work at the University of Alberta in political science and did some work at the University of Michigan at the Survey Research Center. And my PhD thesis was on political psychology of voting, party identification. And left after finishing my work at the University of Alberta, I went to teach at Western Washington in Bellingham for a year, and then went to York University in Toronto. Taught there for two years, and went to Ottawa with a colleague of mine from the university, from York University, Keith Spicer, who was appointed Commissioner of Official Languages. And he asked me to come up to Ottawa to essentially help him set up the office. And basically the job I had was to start to establish a research program in the Office of the Commissioner to start looking at issues around official languages in Canada as a follow-up to the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism.

RD: Now, when was that exactly?

OK: That was in 1969 to 1972. In '72 I was approached, by the Assistant Undersecretary of State, Bernard Ostry to come to work in the Department of the Secretary of State in the new Multiculturalism Program that was established by the Prime Minister in... well, he made the announcement in October of 1971. And I went there to, for a year, I said to myself, "I'm going for a year, and then I'm going back to the university." As an aside, at that time, there were four of us from the Department of Political Science at York University, all on leave, all working in Ottawa. And the chairman of the department and the dean said, "You guys had better come back, 'cause we're kind of thin on the ground here. And if you don't come back, resign." With one exception, and that was Ed Broadbent, who was a member of Parliament, went also on leave from the Department of Political Science. So I resigned as did Fred Schindler, and I can't remember now who the fourth was, but he returned to the university. I ended up staying in Ottawa basically for the next thirty years. Physically I was in Ottawa, but I was with the federal government with some exceptions. I took leave in 1989 from the department and I went with a colleague, a friend of mine in Vancouver, and we established a private foundation to essentially study cultural diversity and race relations in Canada. And it was called the Laurier Institute, just a wonderful, wonderful man in Vancouver, Milton Wong, was the force behind this along with the person who ultimately became the Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia, David Lam. The whole purpose of that foundation was to be able to study questions like the Japanese Canadian redress issue without any ties to government. One of the founding principles of the foundation is that it would not accept any government funding of any kind. All of the funding had to come from either foundations or private individuals, so that we would have the freedom to be able to say what we wanted to say in the research studies that we commissioned.

I stayed there for three years, and then in 1990... well I was, let me go back a bit. I was, when I was on leave, I was at the University of British Columbia teaching in Department of Political Science, and after two years of that leave, I went to the foundation as the executive director. Stayed for two years, and then the Department of Secretary of State said, "Either come back or resign." I'd been given these ultimatums more than once in my life. I decided that I would go back, and I did it for what were probably very selfish family reasons, and that was ensuring that I had a pension and things like that, and benefits for my family. The Laurier Institute continues to this day in Vancouver, it never realized the goals we had set forth, that we were never able to get all of the funding in the private sector that we had hoped to. But it commissioned quite a number of studies, it still is active running speaker series and events such as that.

When I was back in the Department of Secretary of State, in 1993, the liberal party won election, and they went into a major, major restructuring of government. And in the course of that restructuring, the Department of Secretary of State was eliminated, it became part of a new department called the Department of Canadian Heritage. The Multiculturalism Program was incorporated into that new department along with what were parts of the old Department of Communications, part of what was Citizenship, all of that. I fondly referred to it as "garbage can Canada" because where they didn't know where to put something, they put it in the Department of Canadian Heritage. I was in that department until I retired in 2001, and when I was still... shortly before I took leave in 1989 to go teach at the University of British Columbia, in 1987 I was asked, as I mentioned, to go back in '86/'87 as the Assistant Under-Secretary of State Responsible for Multiculturalism. I returned back to the, Vancouver, to the West Coast, and six or seven months later I was called by the Deputy Minister and said, "We want you to work with Roy Miki on finalizing all of the payments to Japanese Canadians." Basically, our focus was on those in Japan who we were going to provide compensation to according to the agreement. And so I went back and I worked with Roy and Paul Kariya for a number of months as we finalized that, and that was my last official involvement with the whole Japanese Canadian issue.

TI: I'm sorry, Orest, what was that again? What was the date of that?

OK: That was in 1988. It was the spring of 1988 when we finalized all of the payments. In terms of my involvement --

TI: 1988 or 1989? '88 would be the year of the agreement.

OK: And '88/'89... I guess, no, maybe it was '89 that I went back --

TI: For the payments.

OK: 'Cause I was teaching... all these dates now are starting to run together.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 2>

TI: But may I make a suggestion? Why don't we -- this is fascinating, your career you went over is incredibly distinguished and you went through it so fast. I actually want to go back...

OK: Okay.

TI: And actually start at the beginning. And why don't you tell us when you were born.

OK: Oh, okay. I was born in, on October 15, 1940, in Edmonton, Alberta, and did all of my education in Edmonton. Primary, secondary, until college when I went off to Western.

RD: Were your parents immigrants or were they...

OK: Yeah, my parents, interestingly, it's actually a bit of an interesting story. My dad came to Canada in 1928. My mother did not come with him. I had an older brother who had been born in Ukraine, and my mother and my older brother stayed in Ukraine when my dad left. She wouldn't leave her mother because two of her brothers had left, and were never heard from again. They had gone, one they believe went to France, another one they think went to Germany, never were ever heard from again. So when my dad said they were immigrating to Canada, her mother just would not hear of her leaving, 'cause she was afraid she would lose another child. My mother, her mother died in the summer of 1939. My mother got out on the last boat that left Poland before the invasion, and came to Canada, arrived in Canada in the fall of 1939, and joined my father in Alberta. My father had joined a relative of ours and worked on farms and other things in the eleven years that they were apart. They were no, my mother was no sooner there than about fifteen months later, he left and went to work on the building of the Alaska Highway that the American government started to build through Canada. And so he was gone again for a good part of the early '40s, the beginning of the war years. Both my parents passed on in the 1980s at very ripe old ages, late eighties.

TI: Going back to your father, can you tell me his name?

OK: Oh, okay. His name was Michael Kruhlak. My mother was Katherine Kruhlak. I have a twin brother whose name is Olesh. In Ukrainian it's Oleh. They, when my father went to register his birth, he gave 'em that name and the citizenship or the birth, vital statistics people in Alberta went from Oleh to Olesh. So his name was spelled O-L-E-S-H, and it was a matter of amusement within the family because there's no relationship between Olesh and Oleh. Both my name and his name were, we were named after two Ukrainian princes who were twins, and so when we were born as twins, my parents decided we should have those names. The interesting thing about the names is in Alberta, they're, my name is very common. You see and hear lots of Orests. Once you leave Alberta, even in Canada, it becomes very much a strange name. In the United States, it's a rarity. You rarely hear anybody with that name, even though in eastern United States there's a substantial Ukrainian population in New York and parts of Ohio, but I never have run into an Orest who was an American citizen. My older brother Terry, we've always, used to kid around in the family, how come he got such a simple name when I've spent not only my life spelling my last name, I've spelled, have spent it spelling my first name most of the time. He was fourteen years older than I was, and so when my father was away when we were, shortly after we were born, and until he came back from working on the highway, he essentially was my father. He raised me as much as my father did. We had a, you know, in some ways a trying childhood because immigrants into Alberta at that time were not exactly looked upon with great favor, particularly if you were of Ukrainian or any east European, they had favorite names for us like "bohunks" and stuff like that. But all in all, I didn't suffer in any significant way from racial or ethnic discrimination, grew up in a very, very, what today we would refer to as a multicultural neighborhood. There was everybody and anybody in the place where I grew up. And I think that formed a large part of who I became as an individual.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

TI: In terms of, you were talking, I was curious about the neighborhood and the, sort of the mix. Why don't you start all over again?

OK: Okay. The area where I was raised was called Riverdale, and it was in the river valley of... there's a river that runs through the city of Edmonton, the North Saskatchewan River, and this area was low-income, very, very heavily ethnic. I mean, there were Ukrainians, Germans, Dutch, aboriginal peoples, French Canadians, you name it essentially and they were there. It was a transitional neighborhood as well. People who came into Edmonton, immigrants who came into Edmonton very frequently ended up in that part of the city, didn't stay long. As their economic situation improved, they left and moved to other parts of the city. But the school I was raised in was a very mixed neighborhood, a very mixed school. There were Asians, there were east Europeans, there were Brits, there were, you name it. Edmonton had very, very few black people, but one of the black families in Edmonton lived in Riverdale. One of the interesting things about that that I think also partly formed who I became was I was very much involved in athletics when I was young, playing football, baseball and other things. One of the people I played with was a young black fellow who was a very, very good athlete. I brought him home one day, and he... I can't even remember what time of the day or anything it was. But after he left, my mother said, "You can't play with him anymore." And I said, "Why wouldn't I be able to play with him?" "Well, he's black." And I was stunned by this even at a very young age, twelve or thirteen, because where my mother was raised, there were no black people in Ukraine. There were simply no blacks whatsoever in that country. She had picked up, in Canada, in a few short years, a prevailing view of black people that a lot of Canadians don't think we have, that Canadians have a rather ill-informed opinion of their tolerance and everything else. But it struck me as I was older, when I thought back on it, where did she get that from? Where did she pick that up? She worked, she worked as a, in a greenhouse in the community where we were raised, and I can only assume she got it there. The owners of the greenhouse were Danish-Americans who had immigrated first to the United States and then ended up coming into Edmonton, and that's where I think she must have picked that kind of attitude up. Because it wasn't, even though they were, my parents were strong church-goers, I doubt that they got it there because the church was so Ukrainian that you wouldn't have had those kinds of attitudes about black people. They had attitudes about other people, but not about black people. As I was older, it really struck me as being curious. Why would she have had that attitude? But going back to a point that I made earlier, I think growing up in that neighborhood, growing up with such an incredible mix of people, that I just thought everybody was like that. I didn't realize that there were important ethnic stratifications in Canadian society until I was much older.

TI: And so after that incident with your mother where she said, "Don't play with that boy anymore, don't bring him there," how did that change your relationship with this friend of yours?

OK: It didn't, really. I ignored my mother. [Laughs] I continued to play with him, we were on the football team together, and I just, thinking back on it now, that he was just one of the guys in the neighborhood. And what she said just didn't stick with me very much, and it didn't stick with my twin brother. I mean, we both played with him and continued to be involved with him. I don't remember, did he come around the house as often as others did, I just don't remember back on that now. But I know we certainly continued on 'til we went to, we moved out of the neighborhood and his family stayed there and I kind of lost contact with him over the years.

TI: You know, you mentioned earlier that there were also Asians in the neighborhood. Were there any Japanese Canadians...

OK: No. Mainly they were Chinese Canadians. The area immediately above Riverdale, once you got up out of the river valley, bordered on where the Chinese Canadian community, or the Chinese community, there was very few Canadians in the community at that time, were settled. And to this day, that remains the core of Chinatown in Edmonton. There were very, very few Japanese Canadians in Edmonton. I, when I went to high school, there were, I had a couple of people that I, of Japanese origin that were in the same high school, but that was the first time I'd ever come into contact with a Japanese Canadian.

RD: Do you have any idea when you became aware of what had happened to the Japanese Canadians on the West Coast?

OK: Uh-huh. It... when I was in college, when I was in the United States, when I was attending Western and I'd first heard about what had happened to Japanese Americans that I started asking questions: did something like that happen in Canada? There was absolutely no mention whatsoever of the internment of Japanese Canadians in any of my educational experience in Canada, nothing. It was just simply, and even with... now I'm going to miss his name. I'll think of it... that I met in high school, it never came up. It just wasn't something that was ever mentioned. And it struck me later on that, how this was something that was simply buried in Canada, it did not occur in Canada. It was ignored totally in the educational system. When I was working in the Multiculturalism Program, one of the things that we commissioned was a book that was called Teaching Prejudice. And that's when one of the first stories started to be told that went into the educational system about the Japanese Canadian internment. But it was simply, in the history of Canada, in the educational system, a non-event.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

RD: What about that other "non-event," the World War I internment of Ukrainians?

OK: Same thing.

RD: That was, but that was even later, wasn't it?

OK: Oh, it came much later.

RD: When did you hear about it?

OK: In 1986, '87. It must have been '86, when I was back in Ottawa working as the Assistant Under-Secretary of State for Multiculturalism, and Lubomyr Luciuk and others came and made their first approach to Ottawa, and I knew nothing about it until that day. That was the first time I ever heard about it, that was, again, something that was not spoken of in the Ukrainian community. It just was not ever, ever an event that was ever talked about And I think I mentioned to you when we were in Kingston that it was after that that a good friend of mine who was the mayor of Edmonton, Laurence Decore, when I mentioned this to him, he said, well, his mother had been interned. Again, it was not something that he had ever, ever mentioned, it was never discussed. When I mentioned it to my older brother, who knew the Decore family, 'cause they were members of our church, he said he'd never heard of it. Never heard of the event, never heard of Laurence's mother being interned. So these things were, it's... when I think back on it now, that how the history of Canada was written in such a way that events of this magnitude were simply ignored. When I think back on it as an academic, it's not surprising to me because most of the people writing the histories of Canada were of Anglo Saxon origin. The dominant historians were all Brits, of British origin, and they, their big thing was the fur trade. I mean, when you think back on, and look at the works by... I'm really going to start showing my age trying to remember names now. I'll think of these historians.

RD: You know at one time two the leading historians in Toronto were named Wrong and Careless, which always struck me as a wonderful couple of names. [Laughs]

OK: [Laughs] Yeah. I'll think of it.

RD: The immigration historian Donald Avery?

OK: No. It was one of the preeminent historians from Toronto. I mean, if you read their histories... in fact, I, one time, we were doing some work in the '70s when we were talking about establishing what became known as the Ethnic History Project, if you read a lot of the histories, the history of immigration was not a story that was told. It was simply absent. It was as if Canada was created out of whole cloth, that somehow these people arrived but nobody bothered telling the story about it, and what it meant, what their experiences were. It was just something that didn't happen. And when I used to go back and when I was teaching I would say, "Well, go and look at the history of Canada and tell me what you can tell me about immigration." And so they would go to the main history books, Careless, Wrong, others. There was very little there. I mean, there was something about the Scottish immigration because it formed an important part in Canada, something about the Irish immigration because they were "problems." But when you got to other immigration, Charles Sifton's big push to populate the west. They talked about him going with the CPR into eastern Europe and recruiting a lot of immigrants. But again, these people, you learn something about the fact that they were there and then they were here. But what that meant, and how they got there, what their experiences were, was simply not a story that was told. And it's only now more effectively being told. But even today, you can't learn a lot about the immigration to Canada by looking at the major history works. It's just not there. I mean, it's absolutely amazing to me, when I think about it, that yes, you'll find references to the Chinese Exclusion Acts, mainly in terms of the story being told from the perspective of the majority community, never from the perspective of the minority or ethnic communities. And that's something that I think will, I hope, over time, be remedied. Am I optimistic? No, I'm not optimistic about that because it's, the whole, the way the history of Canada has been portrayed is so dominated by the French-English divide that everything else is secondary. And I think that's part of Canada's problems in terms of its cultural development, is that it's never really, the mythology of the country is missing. One of the things that I used to say when I was working is that in comparison to the United States in particular, we have a very weak mythology. That if you look at it, you learn about the fur trade, and there's a mythology about that, Le Courrier des bois from the French Canadian communities. But if you want to know something about the role of salmon and fishing and what mythology did that create, it's not there. But my goodness, it's so rich in terms of what we are as a West Coast people. But it's... and I think that goes back to the way the history of the country has been told, and the way the history of the country has been written, that everything was done from the perspective of French-English, French-English. And ironically, that became even more dominant in the late '60s, '70s and '80s because of the growing French Canadian awareness and awakening. That everything else was judged to be not as important.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

RD: Let me go back a little farther again. Although I know that large numbers of Canadians come to the United States for higher education, but that's still a minority, a minority phenomenon. How did that happen, and how'd you wind up in Bellingham?

OK: Oh, that's interesting. A friend of mine that I'd played football with had received an invitation to come to Western to play football from Edmonton, and he wasn't guaranteed a scholarship, but he was a pretty good football player, and so he was going to gamble. He had heard that the university, or it was a college at that time, was going to establish a hockey team. I was a better hockey player than I was a football player, and so I thought, well, maybe if they establish a hockey team I can catch on as a hockey player, maybe get a scholarship. And so I came with him, I applied and was accepted, and as a bit of an aside, I had rather an undistinguished high school career that I was not a very good student, and so I had not matriculated sufficiently to get into the University of Alberta. You had to have a certain set of grades and courses, and I had kind of ignored some of those things in the interest of other interests. But I was accepted at Western, and I thought, "Well, if I get a scholarship, I'll try it out." I must admit that I was not, I did not go with any great academic aspirations. It was only when I got to college that I discovered a love of learning that I had not had up until that time. They didn't have a hockey team, but I stayed anyways and was extremely fortunate and thankful that I did. I mean, it was, I'll always thank Bob Steckle for having hauled me along with himself, and he did eventually play football. Didn't get a scholarship, but he played football. [Laughs] So that, you know, is why I ended up in Bellingham. A lot of people that I did play hockey with ended up going to places like Colorado where they actively recruited kids to come and play hockey at the University of Colorado and other schools like that, Minnesota, Michigan, and some of the eastern schools. But I also wasn't a good enough hockey player to get into those places. I was always kind of meddling in a lot of things. So that's a bit of my background. As I mentioned, in 1970... late '71, I was asked to come to the Department of the Secretary of State to work in the Multiculturalism Program to, again, help set it up. That the prime minister of the day, Trudeau, had made the announcement in the house. And in October of 1971, Bernard Ostry, who was the Under-Secretary of State, had recruited me to come to work there.

RD: He would have been a full-time bureaucrat, right?

OK: He was, yes. He was probably the man most responsible for establishing the Multiculturalism Program in Canada. That it was not a program that was well-received in the bureaucracy, in fact, it was strongly opposed in the bureaucracy. He was able, through the force of his personality and his strong political connections to people like Trudeau, to get it established.

RD: Was he a Quebecer?

OK: No, he was originally from Manitoba. And, but he had been educated in the east, had... I don't even know how he came to know Trudeau. I never did ask him that, but he was very, very well-connected into the liberal party. Had written a history of Mackenzie King, the former prime minister of Canada, and it was maybe through those kinds of things that he got into contact with the people in the liberal hierarchy. When I was asked to come to work when I was still with the Commissioner of Official Languages, who, incidentally, is a very close friend of mine but strongly opposed my going to work in the Secretary of State's Department in Multiculturalism. Because being responsible for official languages, he thought that the whole Multiculturalism Program was in some way a threat to official languages in Canada, and that it was an attempt by --

RD: What were the official languages?

OK: English and French.

RD: That's all?

OK: That's all. No other languages had any status of any kind, and I think what Keith Spicer and others thought, that with the Multiculturalism Program, that other languages might be given some sort of status, and that would be a threat to mainly the French language. He was preoccupied, he wasn't worried about what was going to happen to English, there was no need to be worried about that. But he was worried about what that might do to the French, the status of the French language in Canada. Even though he prevailed upon me not to go, I went, and one of the first things -- even before I was officially in the department -- I was asked to do was review the speech that the prime minister was going to give in the House of Commons. And shortly thereafter he made his first major speech to the Ukrainian community in Winnipeg. And I went over that speech with him, and that was the first time I ever met him, and offered him some changes and corrections. The speech was basically drafted in the prime minister's office, not in the department. That was an interesting experience dealing with him over something like that. He was a very forceful individual, and very, very bright and very intimidating.

RD: I can imagine.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

RD: How common were Ukrainians in the higher bureaucracy in Ottawa?

OK: Nonexistent.

RD: You can't even... you were in --

OK: I was one of the most senior ones. There was a man who became a deputy minister... names now, Bill Teron... he was more a Ukrainians in name than he was in any involvement in the community. It was, in fact, as he became, after he became a deputy minister, people went to him and basically tried to bring him back into the community, because he had been away from it. Another colleague of mine was in the Department of Immigration, who eventually became a Regional Director General for Immigration, and we were about the three people of Ukrainian origin that were in the executive group in the bureaucracy. There was another man who came along a few years later in Statistics Canada, but there were very, very few people in the bureaucracy. And as the Official Languages Program was established, it served as a barrier to more people, not only from the Ukrainian community, from all kinds of minority communities getting into the bureaucracy, because French became a requirement for the executive group. If you didn't speak French, you couldn't be in the executive group. And that has really been an issue of... one that I would raise periodically when I was still working, saying, "Look, you have to do something about this. We either have to change the way we are teaching the languages, but you're restricting who, in fact, is going to get into the bureaucracy." And today, the senior levels of the bureaucracy in Ottawa are very much dominated by, one, Easterners, and French Canadians now form a very, very significant component of the senior bureaucracy because of the language requirements. And that was a dramatic change. When I first went to work in Ottawa, you could count the senior French Canadian bureaucrats on that, literally two hands. They were just not there, I mean, because English was the dominant language, and if you didn't know English, you weren't going to get ahead. So that that has been a major change. But for minorities, it's still an organization that is very, one, it's very white, and it's very Anglo-Saxon, it's very French Canadian, to this day.

RD: Now, what were your ongoing relations with the Ukrainian Canadian community?

OK: Once I went to school, to college and to graduate school, my involvement in the community was virtually nonexistent. When I went back to Edmonton to graduate school, I would periodically go to church with my parents, mainly at those major events, Christmas, Easter, things like that. Had no involvement in community organizations. Did some speaking to the Ukrainian Professional Business Association in Edmonton and Calgary about my, the research I was doing, but that was mainly because I was Ukrainian in graduate school, and so I think the people who organized those speaking events thought, "Well, it'd be interesting to have him." But I had no organizational involvement whatsoever. My family, my parents were very much involved in the community, right up at the time of their death, they were not only involved in the church but a number of organizations as was my older brother. But I, part of that was that I married outside the community. I married a person of, who refers to herself as a "Heinz 57," a variety of ethnic mix, and who spoke no Ukrainian, even though she over time learned some Ukrainian from interaction mainly with my mother. But I guess the interesting, one of the interesting things, she started, my wife started in the community we lived in when we went back to Edmonton in 1974 when I was, went back to work for the government of Alberta for two years, she started a Ukrainian dance group in the community we lived in. Which was both on one hand quite amusing, because here was this, basically, Anglo-Saxon woman getting a Ukrainian dance group going, and on the other hand there was some resentment in the Ukrainian community. What was this person doing establishing a Ukrainian dance group out in Millwoods where there are no Ukrainians or very few Ukrainians? As it turned out, there were more than you thought there were, because she had quite a little group that got going. That was my children's, aside from them attending church periodically, only involvement in the Ukrainian community. And so neither one of my kids speak any Ukrainian. When they were very young, they could understand some, again, from interaction with my parents, but never really speak it or have any knowledge of the language in any meaningful way.

So that when I went to work in Ottawa in the Multiculturalism -- well, let me step back a bit. Working in the Official Languages office, one of the responsibilities I was charged with by the commissioner was to try and build some bridges into the ethnic communities. Which was somewhat ironic in that I had no involvement in most of the ethnic communities, certainly not in the Ukrainian community, and less in any other community. But Keith thought, well, I'm of Ukrainian origin from western Canada, so I'm an ethnic. And if I'm an ethnic, I must have ties, and if I have ties, then I can build bridges. Well, I had to start building bridges literally from scratch because I didn't have those ties. And one of the first things I did was approached some members of parliament of Ukrainian origin and started interacting with them to see if I could open up some avenues of dialogue for official languages. They were pretty well all conservatives, the conservative party was officially opposed to the official language programs, and they weren't what you would term "openly receptive" to my approaches, with the exception of one or two who became important interlocutors to me, both to the community and to other people in the conservative party. But that forced me to have to go back out west to the Ukrainian Canadian community which was based in Winnipeg and introduce myself and see if I could build some relationships. I must admit they were very unsuccessful, there was very little openness or receptivity to official languages that, on the part of most of the minority communities. They perceived the official language status as granting special status to French Canadians. And if they had special status, that meant everybody else had a lesser status, so they opposed the official language programs. And it was quite a, quite an interesting experience trying to open up a dialogue.

One of the members of parliament who became very supportive and ultimately became the deputy prime minister to Mulroney was a man named Don Mazankowsky, who was an MP, a member of parliament from Alberta. And he agreed, after some arm twisting, to host a visit by the Commissioner of Official Languages to his constituency in northeastern Alberta. He represented an interesting constituency, it was heavily Ukrainian, but it also had two major pockets of French Canadians. And I think Mazankowsky in the beginning did his, or his openness was, "Well, maybe I can get some votes out of these French Canadian communities." He didn't have to worry about the Ukrainian community, he had them in his pocket as far as he was concerned. But it was an act of courage on his part to host a visit by the commissioner into various Ukrainian organizations to speak about official languages knowing the hostility that existed in the community in those organizations. And he ultimately became one of the strongest supporters of official languages in Canada. He was also ultimately a person that was a strong supporter of multiculturalism in the conservative party, which was overwhelmingly opposed to the policy, overwhelmingly opposed to the policy. And because of his status in the party he was able to dampen the opposition because he was one of the senior ministers in Mulroney's government, and he was an important person in terms of the Japanese Canadian issue in the long run. Because he was somebody that Mulroney knew he could depend on who had such great authority with his colleagues in terms of western MPs, more authority with those colleagues than did Mulroney have. And that was an important thing. So he's a man that has not had his due in terms of some of the histories that have been written, current histories that have been written about the conservative party or the Mulroney government in terms of the influence he had on a number of policies. It's partly because he is a very quiet individual, he's not one to blow his own horn.

RD: Still alive?

OK: Still alive. Still active in, not in partisan politics, but active as a businessman and an adviser to the provincial conservative government in Alberta. But again, partly I guess it reflects my own bias about how we tell stories in Canada, that he's from the west, he's an ethnic, and he has not had the kind of recognition in the power circles of Canada. You know, if you talk to people in the business community, you say, "Mazankowsky," he's highly, highly regarded. He's a very, very good minister, a very powerful minister. But, I mean, if you talk to people in the academic community and say, "Don Mazankowsky," "Oh, yeah, he was the Deputy Prime Minister to Mulroney," and that's about it. I mean, nobody has taken the time to -- and I think that's partly, in all fairness, it's partly a reflection of how we do our history -- to talk to him about his role in policies, and policies outside of... he was seen basically as an economic minister. But they haven't talked to him about, "What role did you play in these other areas?" Even though I've talked to colleagues of mine about Maszankowsky and said, "Look, in terms of official languages, this man was an important player," you know. That I'll never forget is one time when I went to see Mazankowsky in his office and we were there talking about the possible visit of Spicer to his constituency, and another member of parliament walked in, a man named Jack Horner who was a conservative MP from Alberta. And Don said, "I'd like you to meet a fellow Albertan, Orest Krulak." And Jack Horner said, "Oh, great to meet you, what do you do?" And I said, "Well, I work for the Commissioner of Official Languages." He said, "How could you sell out our province?" Turned around and walked out. And that was an attitude that Mazankowsky had to deal with within his own party supporting a policy that was so highly, highly unpopular and opposed.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

OK: And it was also that one time I made a trip out west to Calgary where my sister-in-law and her husband lived. And I went to see them and they were having a barbeque. And my sister-in-law was introducing me to... and my brother was, her husband was a lawyer in Calgary, and these were all lawyers. And he was introducing me, she was introducing me to them and one of them says, "What do you do?" And I said, "Well, I work for the Commissioner of Official Languages in Ottawa." "You son of a bitch." I looked at him and I was absolutely stunned. I thought he was joking. And it was again, "How could you do that? How could you work on something like that which is against the interests of Alberta?" And I never viewed Official Languages as being against the interests of any particular province, but these people obviously did. The irony is, in the end, every one of those people who was at that barbeque sent their kids to bilingual immersion programs. Because they came to understand how important the French language was in the development, the modern development of Canada. But their initial reaction was like Horner and others, that, "You're selling out this province because you're supporting a policy which supports a particular ethnic community in Canada." And the narrowness of their vision of the country was absolutely astounding to me. Just astounding that, "How could you not understand how important this was to the French Canadian community?" That here was a community that was awakening in the late '60s into the '70s, and it was going to become a very, very powerful political force, and they didn't have any clue. I mean, and these were highly educated individuals, they weren't, you know, people working in the fields of Alberta, they were lawyers and others, and it just shocked me. And I said to my sister-in-law's husband, "What kind of people do you work with?" And Pat was not like that. He was very much a progressive and very much a supporter of what liberal government was doing at this time, but he was out of step with his colleagues in that law office. It was astounding to me.

And I guess those were kind of the, some of the things that when I went to work in multiculturalism, those experiences came with me. And in a way, helped me deal with the French Canadian community, which was strongly opposed to multiculturalism. So you had these forces in Canada that a lot of people who were supportive of multiculturalism were opposed to bilingualism. People who were highly supportive of bilingualism were opposed to multiculturalism, and trying to build bridges. And that was, in my view, the genius of Trudeau, that what he attempted to do, that I've often said that Canada as a country set out to do two areas of public policy that would effect tremendous change in the political culture of the society. And they were incredibly ambitious; incredibly challenging things to do. And that Trudeau was able to persuade his colleagues to move in those directions was an act of genius in my estimation. That, I mean, if you look at the polls that were done in terms of support for official languages, it was just, outside of Quebec was absolutely opposed. And even for multiculturalism there was, in the ethnic communities, strong support, but in the dominant Anglo-Saxon community and the French Canadian community, strong, strong opposition. Strong opposition that you were somehow, on the part of the Anglo Saxon elite in Canada, "You've made us concede to this bilingualism stuff. We can buy that to a certain degree, now you want us to go into this multiculturalism stuff? This a British-French country." And they conceded that it was now, there was a French component which they had not acknowledged for a good part of Canadian history, but to ask them to go further was something they were unprepared to do.

And I'll never forget early meetings I had in the early '70s, '72 and '73, meeting with the editorial board of the Toronto Globe and Mail, which was the newspaper of record in Canada, to talk to them about the multiculturalism program, and literally being tossed out of the room. "What are you doing here talking about this nonsense? This is political pandering to ethnics in Canada, get out of here." Meeting with some academics, Ramsay Cook and others who, "Get out of here. What are you doing with this stuff?" You know, "You've prostituted yourself as an academic by even, one, going to work in the bureaucracy," because that was not viewed as a positive thing to do. "But selling this kind of stuff? Get lost." I mean, the opposition was just widespread and deep in the society to both policies. And that he was, Trudeau was able to push these things through his caucus, through Parliament, was a rather remarkable achievement, particularly with multiculturalism, knowing that the French elites were strongly opposed to it. I mean, the prime minister or the premier of Quebec, Robert Bourassa, just strongly announced Trudeau for doing the Multiculturalism Program. I mean, "You can't recognize these other ethnics because that diminishes us."

And that always struck me as a curious thing. Why the recognition of one peoples diminishes another people? I mean, why people think in those terms. And people always want to talk about tolerance, and I'm not a great proponent of tolerance. I'm a strong proponent of acceptance. You've got to accept people, and if you can't accept them, don't talk to me about being tolerant to them. If you're tolerant when you don't accept, you're not doing anything really useful. You're not being genuine, you're not being truly open. And so there, a measure of tolerance developed in Canada to French Canadians, but on the part of a lot of people in the ethnic communities and in the Anglo Saxon elite, there was very little acceptance. And that has come slowly. It's there in a way it wasn't there in the past, I think it's there today in Canada with respect to ethnic minorities in the way it wasn't in the past, but it isn't fully there. I mean, there's still, contrary to what a lot of Canadians like to believe about themselves, a deeply held antipathy to diversity. I mean, diversity is complications; diversity makes people have to work at things. It's so much simpler if everybody is the same, then you don't have to worry about acceptance. And so what I have basically preached most of my career was, "How do we get people to accept one another?" I mean that if we can't get acceptance, then don't talk to me about tolerance, because I don't want that kind of tolerance. So when I went to work in the Multiculturalism Program, one of the things that Ostry, Bernard Ostry had asked me to do was to start providing some kind of academic research basis to some of the things that were being done, because we knew very little about the ethnic communities in Canada. We knew virtually nothing about the Japanese Canadian community.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 8>

RD: Did you know Howard Palmer?

OK: Very well.

RD: Howard was a good, good friend of mine. I never... still, in some ways, haven't gotten over his --

OK: It was a tragic, tragic loss. Howard worked for me for a number of years, in fact, he was the one that established the Ethnic Histories project. And he was one of the people that we brought in with an academic background to start doing some of that stuff because what was known about most of the ethnic communities in Canada was anecdotal. And we knew nothing about the Japanese Canadian community, we knew nothing essentially important about the Ukrainian community or the Polish community or the German community. Most of it was some histories written by people within those communities who weren't academics.

And so one of the things that Bernard Ostry asked me to do was, "We've got to get a knowledge basis built about these communities so we can start talking about them in a meaningful way," that we can start talking about developing other programs based on what we either know or don't know. That, for example, you could not go in to start talking to educators about developing modules in social studies curricula about ethnic communities if you didn't know anything about them. So that's why the, one of the first studies that we commissioned was the book that came out called Teaching Prejudice. That it was astounding what was taught in the schools of Canada, that as a person who had gone through the educational system, I was unaware of what I'd been taught. I mean, when you think back and when you admit something like that, it's really admitting an ignorance. But, I mean, French Canadians referred to aboriginal peoples as "savages." So they were "savages"... words like that essentially had no meaning, but they had profound meaning to the aboriginal community. And French Canadians were viewed as "pea soupers." I mean, the stereotypical view of French Canadian that was taught in the history books aside from the political figures was just so awful. But we taught all that kind of stuff in the schools. And then you sit there and wonder, "I wonder why there was no acceptance of official languages. Why wasn't there an acceptance of multiculturalism?" Well, if you'd been teaching that kind of prejudice for so many years, and that you never really understood the hierarchy of ethnicities in Canada, which I did not understand until I started working in this area. I probably had a strong suspicion, but I didn't have any strong evidence until John Porter wrote his book on the vertical mosaic. And then you think, "My god almighty, look at this country."

I mean, how come we've let that be, that how could you have... one of the things that I'll never, ever forget is that I was asked to go to work in Alberta in 1974 by the minister to establish a multiculturalism program for the province of Alberta. And I went there assuming that I would have some measure of political support like I had in Ottawa, we had in Ottawa from the Trudeau government. And a couple of funny stories, when I moved there and I set up my office in the office building, and I put some pictures on the wall, and one was of Trudeau where he had signed a picture to me. And not too long after I was there, I entertained a meeting of, as it turns out, the wives of a couple of cabinet ministers. And one of the responsibilities that I was given in addition to establishing the Multiculturalism Program was establishing a cultural program for what were going to be the Commonwealth Games a few years down the road, and these women came to see me about the cultural program. After they left my office, a few hours later, I got a call from the minister saying, "What did you do to Mrs. Leach," and I can't even remember the other one. I said, "What are you talking about?" Said, "Well, they came back, spoke to the premier's office, the premier's office has called me, that you were hostile," or something, I can't remember the language he used. And I said, "What are you talking about?" He said, "Well, you have some pictures on the wall that they found very, very unacceptable." And I looked at my wall and I said, he said, "What have you got up there?" And I said, "I got a picture of Trudeau," and I can't remember what the other one was. And he said, "Now I know why they were so upset." I mean, here was this liberal, they told him, that had come into conservative Alberta and was going to upset the apple cart or something. The other thing that absolutely struck me, and that the minister, who was of German origin, had no awareness of until I sat with him and I said, "Have you ever looked at the list of deputy ministers in this province?" I said, "You want to establish a multiculturalism program, and do you realize every deputy minister in Alberta is of Scottish origin? Every last one of them, all twenty-four of them?" He said, "You're wrong. You've got to be kidding." And so then sat down and went through the list of deputy ministers, he was absolutely shocked to learn that. And here was a province that was one of the most culturally diverse provinces in the country, and not one person from any ethnic background other than Scottish was a deputy minister. And so I said, "I think we should start looking at the bureaucracy in Alberta and maybe we should start focusing some attention on changing that."

RD: What about the universities? Because, you know, I taught at Calgary several times.

OK: Well, you know what it was like. Alberta, the University of Alberta was a little different, but not much. But, I mean, the whole establishment in that province, the business community, the professional community, the academic community, the government, was of such strong Anglo-Saxon orientation. When you looked at the province in terms of the population, you said, "There's a real dissonance here. What's going on? Where are these people that have been here for generations, why are they not in these institutions?" It was a reflection of a dominant ethos in the country, that it was John Porter's vertical mosaic writ large. I mean, it just proved his thesis about where people of various backgrounds were. And those were the kinds of challenges that we faced in trying to introduce a program that was going to profoundly upset that if it worked. If it was successful, it was going to change all of that. And so we, in many ways, naively set out to start changing that. And ran into all kinds of opposition, I mean, particularly in the bureaucracy. I mean, the bureaucracy was steadfastly opposed to the program, he was steadfastly opposed to changing the nature of the society. I mean, why would you support changing something that's potentially going to affect you in terms of your own place in that country?

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 9>

OK: In 1977, we decided, the minister, who was John Munro, said, "We're going to establish a language program for the teaching of languages other than English and French in Canada." So I was directed to develop a program, develop a policy. So we set about doing it. As part of that process, you have to interact with the Privy Council Office, which is essentially the Prime Minister's department, and they run the policy process in the government of Canada. The man I had to deal with was a man named Bob Rabinovitch, which was the Deputy Secretary for Social Policy. So I went to meet with Bob and said, "Bob, the minister's asked us to establish," what we were calling a Heritage Language Program. He said, "It's not happening." I said, "Well, the minister has said it's going to happen." He said, "It's not happening. You will not get this through cabinet. You will not get any support in the Privy Council Office." I said, "Bob, I've got the list of organizations in the communities who support this. Right at the very top was the Canadian Jewish Congress. Are you gonna tell them that you're not gonna support this? 'Cause if you tell me you're not, I'm gonna tell 'em you don't." And I went through the other organizations, and finally he said, "I'll sign off on this, but it's not going anywhere." So we went to the cabinet committee, the chairman of that cabinet committee was a woman named Jeanne Sauve, who ultimately became the Governor General of Canada. We were sitting in the minister's office, Bernard Ostry, myself, John Munro and Jeanne Sauve, saying, "We're gonna take this to cabinet committee, and we need your support to get it through." She said, "It's not happening." And she said that from the perspective of a French Canadian, she voiced her opinion about this in terms of the official language programs, etcetera. Finally Bernard Ostry exploded. To this day, when I think back, that he ever survived in the bureaucracy was remarkable. And he just looked at her and he said, "Yesterday in Cabinet you people approved buying a whole pile of new jet fighters. Each one of those jet fighters is ten times as much money as we want for this program. Now are you telling me that those fighters are ten times more important than the teaching of languages?' And she looked at him and said, "Where is this guy coming from? Comparing apples to oranges is classic." And he just prevailed. I mean, he just went after her. He's a bureaucrat going after a cabinet minister. And our minister, John Munro, was just sitting back smiling, watching us. Well, we went to Cabinet Committee, got it through Cabinet Committee. Munro spoke to the Prime Minister, the Prime Minister --

RD: Who was?

OK: Trudeau, introduced it to the cabinet meeting, and said, "Approved." That basically was the way it went through Cabinet. He was not gonna tolerate any debate on the issue. And Bob Rabinovitch was sitting there and I was sitting in the cabinet meeting, and Rabinovitch looked at me and just shook his head saying, "I don't believe this has happened. I don't believe you got this thing through Cabinet." I mean, the opposition that we faced, and it was a piddling little program. I mean, we were gonna provide small grants to the communities, and it was not to be in the public educational system, it was the Saturday schools that, the church-run schools. But it was foot in the door, and that's what a lot of the opponents were opposed to, saying, "Well, if you get it here, that will diminish French." And I kept trying to say to people, "A diversity of language is a richness, and the more the better." I mean, why would you be opposed to somebody who can speak a language other than English? They're going to be the ones who support you. They will recognize the importance of your language if you will give them some support for their languages. But that was a very tough argument to make. A very tough argument to make. The ultimate irony again about that was in Alberta. Alberta established bilingual programs: English-Ukrainian, English-German, English-Cree, English-Mandarin. Then they became English-Ukrainian-French, English-German-French. They have these trilingual programs running in that province, and in Saskatchewan now, and in I think in Manitoba. And the very thing that we were hoping would happen has started to happen. I mean, people who were, could be persuaded to support this kind of bilingualism were far easier to support trilingual, or convinced to support trilingualism. And one of the things that always struck me about Canada and a lot of Canadians was how proud some people were to be fluently unilingual. I mean, I used to sit there and say, "Why do you think not knowing another language is really good?" I mean, why wouldn't you want to know another language? Why would you oppose anybody else knowing another language? And it carries on to discussions of diversity in general. How can you be opposed to the recognition of these other communities if you want your own community to be recognized? And the narrowness of views in a lot of the minority communities is extensive. I mean, "This is good for me, and that's where it stops. I don't want it to go anywhere."

I'll never forget when the whole Vietnamese boat people phenomenon arose, and government started to go to Hong Kong and elsewhere to start bringing Vietnamese into Canada and the United States and elsewhere. So I went to Winnipeg, where the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox church is, the consistory of the Ukrainian Orthodox church. And I was raised an Orthodox, I knew some of the people, the hierarchy that I'd come to know over the years after having been involved in multiculturalism and got back into knowing people in the community, I went there and I said, "The United church, the Anglican church, the Catholic church, the Presbyterian church, Methodists, they all started to organize bringing in sponsoring boat people into Canada." I said, "The one noticeable exception is the Ukrainian Orthodox church. We want you -- " and I was doing this on behalf of the Department of Immigration, had nothing to do with my responsibilities in multiculturalism. "But I want you to organize within the Orthodox community to bring in some boat people and sponsor them." They looked at me, the classic, "Where's this person coming from? What's he smoking? Why would we do that?" And trying to make them understand that their wanting, their acceptance was very important to them in terms of the large community, but that there was a concomitant response, concomitant responsibility on them accepting others. I mean, I might as well have turned and talked to the wall. At least the wall didn't talk back. I mean, there was just no understanding in the hierarchy of that church. And so I had to bypass them and go with people in the Ukrainian professional associations and get them to do something. But it always struck me as, you know, people wanting things for themselves but not wanting to extend that, not understanding that you can't get a benefit solely for yourself, that in these areas, if you want the country to be generous to you, you've got to be generous as well. And that has always been a real sore point with me, that a lot of these communities are very, very selfish. It's not just the French Canadians, it's not just the Anglo Saxons that are the selfish ones, it is a disease that pervades a lot of communities, and all of them have work to do in terms of developing a generosity. I mean, I listen to things to this day, hearing people from the Serbian community talk about Croats or Bosnians or Albanians. Give me a break. I mean, you want me to be accepting of you, but you don't want to be accepting of anybody else, and it doesn't work that way. It can't work that way.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

RD: Why don't you tell us how it came about that you wound up being an important figure in negotiations between the Canadian Japanese community and the Canadian government?

OK: In the late '70s, the Japanese Canadian National Association of Japanese Canadians started to raise the awareness of the whole redress issue. The issue of the internment had, by the middle '70s, entered the consciousness of people like myself in the bureaucracy and others. And then NAJC started to talk about redress, mainly within the community, making some rather indirect approaches to government saying this had happened and, "We'd like to talk about it." There was no openness whatsoever on the part of the government. That the, there was a short interregnum of a conservative government in the late '70s, but then the liberals came back with Trudeau. Trudeau, as an individual, was opposed to any talk about apologies, any talk about recognition, any talk about acknowledgement of any of these wrongdoings on the past, on the part of previous governments.

RD: Could I ask, how does this correlate his acceptance in forcing through of multiculturalism?

OK: It's always been a curious thing to me, a contradiction in his character. I can only surmise the reason he was of that mind with respect to apologies was his coming from the French Canadian community, and whether by acknowledging past injustices to other communities, it would open the door to a great demand from Quebec in terms of a recognition of the past injustices that had been served on that community by governments for a hundred years. That it was a contradiction as well that he had kind of acknowledged the past injustices to the French Canadian community with the introduction of the Official Languages Act and the Official Policy of Bilingualism. But he always took the position, "I have recognized the language." And in his mind, he separated the recognition of the language from the recognition of the community, which was, you know, a very artificial distinction when you think about it, because language is people. I mean, without people there is no language. But I think he thought -- and this is purely my own thinking -- that if we recognize what happened to Japanese Canadians, to aboriginal Canadians, to anybody else, then I'm opening the door to having to go back in history and deal with all of the things the French Canadians had suffered, and they had suffered immensely in Canada. I mean, when one thinks about the wrongs that have been directed to that community, that if you worked in Quebec where the majority, the overwhelming majority were unilingual French, you had to work in English because the bosses were English. They made no attempt to learn any French. And so if you wanted to move beyond being a laborer in Quebec, you had to do it in English. You couldn't do it in French. It took until the Diefenbaker government in the 1960s to provide simultaneous translation in the House of Commons for a French Canadian to speak French. Up until that time, if you were a French Canadian politician and you wished to be understood by your colleagues, you had to speak English. That until the Diefenbaker government, all Canadian currency was printed in English only. You could pay taxes in French, but if you got any money, it came in English only. I mean, those sound like small things, but they were absolutely a reflection of the, I would term it, the persecution of French Canadians in Canadian society. And there were a multitude of things like that that had prevailed in Canada for most of its history.

And I think he thought, "I opened that door, I'm opening a door that can't be closed. And so I'm not going to open that door for them, and I'm not going to open that door for anybody else." And it was a blind spot of his. I don't think he could see that he had already opened the door with the Official Language policy. That you couldn't grant status to a language without granting status to a people. And the thing he was worried about came to prevail in his mind, that the whole idea of a distinct society in Quebec, the whole idea of a separate nation came to pass. It's now accepted in Canada at the political level. There's two nations in Canada, an English nation and a French nation. And he absolutely opposed that. To his dying breath, he stood in opposition to that. There was no French Canadian nation. There was a French Canadian ethnic group, there was a French Canadian province, there was a French language, but there was no French nation. And I think he thought that, "If I do it there, I'll do it... if I do it for the Japanese Canadians, if I do it for the Italian Canadians, if I do it for aboriginal Canadians, I've got to do it for everybody, and there'll be no end to this." And I think partly that was his recognition of the nature of what Canadian society had been for most of its history, where it had been one of highly discriminatory society against all kinds of peoples. And you start correcting one wrong, you've got a whole pile of wrongs you're gonna have to correct. My problem with his thinking is that he didn't develop, if you will, a hierarchy of wrongs. Some wrongs were far worse than other wrongs. That some of the things that were done were done out of profound ignorance. Some were done out of deliberate malice, and that's different. I mean, there's a difference in those kinds of things. Maybe those who have suffered the wrongs would never accept that, but I think that was true of what happened in Canada. So that when the approaches were started to be made, the word very quietly went out, nothing big, no big announcements, "I don't want to hear about this. Kill it."

So one of the things that the ministers who were mainly Ontario ministers of multiculturalism did, which was highly objectionable, is they started playing community groups off against each other. Well, the NACJ wants to talk about redress, but the George Imai group in Toronto doesn't want to talk about redress, it just wants to talk about the wrongs that had been done with maybe some kind of acknowledgement, recognition that this had happened.

RD: And what was that second group?

OK: It was, I can't even remember the name of it now. Let me see if I can dig it out really quickly. But the spokesperson was a man named George Imai. And he created a group, if you will, in Toronto, with some representation from other parts of Canada. But basically it was his organization in Toronto. And... [pauses while looking through papers]. They don't even really give themselves a name. Oh, yeah, here they called themselves the Newly Formed Organization, the National Redress Committee of Survivors. And they had a few members from Toronto, a few members from Vancouver, and a couple from Montreal. And basically, they stood in opposition to the National Association of Japanese Canadians who wanted a full negotiation, a full discussion, a full recognition, acknowledgment and apology by the government, and they downplayed that. Some of the liberal ministers latched on to the Imai group, and said, well, they're the ones who really represent the Japanese Canadian peoples. Myself and others said, "Well, just a minute." I know George Imai, he had come to see me on more than one occasion, and I said, "I don't think they represent anybody except the few people that George has got together. I was told, "We're not going to talk to them, and we're not going to talk to anybody else. We're just going to talk to anybody." And basically, the liberal government buried it. They buried the issue. The NAJC kind of withdrew, backed off, the Imai group kind of backed off, they thought they had succeeded. They kind of buried the issue. When Mulroney came to power, Imai, interestingly enough, went to Mulroney and tried to get recognition as his group being the sole spokesperson of the Japanese Canadian community. He wrote to the Prime Minister saying, "I represent, my group represents the Japanese Canadians." We said to the government, "No, they don't. They represent some people within the Japanese Canadian community, but they are not a representative organization." Nor was the NAJC in absolute terms a representative of all of the Japanese Canadian community. There is no ethnic organization that represents all of the ethnic community. It just, I don't care which community it is, it just doesn't exist. You always have disparate elements within any community, they break down on different issues, but I think the government ultimately was persuaded, the organization that is most representative of the Japanese Canadian community is the NAJC. And they, Mulroney and company essentially pushed the Imai group off to the side. And they suffered some bric bracs as a consequence of that, but I guess one of the things that helped them is that the Imai group was basically based in Toronto. Toronto was a liberal enclave even though Mulroney's party in 1982 won an overwhelming majority. They reduced the liberals to forty or forty-five MPs out of 260-some. And the liberals were based in Ontario. So they were an Ontario party with a few MPs who had survived in Quebec. And so it was easier for the Mulroney government to say, 'The Imai group doesn't represent anybody. They speak, it's the liberal party speaking really." So that the NAJC was able to establish itself as the legitimate voice on the issue of redress with the Mulroney government.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

OK: There was still no great -- oh, and I should step back a bit. In 1981, I left Ottawa and I went to British Columbia as a Regional Director for the Department of Secretary of State. And so I was no longer involved in the day-to-day discussions. My successor was a man named Kerry Johnson, and he inexplicably started talking to the Imai group again. And so I was getting calls from people in the department, in the program, saying, "Johnson is talking to Imai and company, and that's causing problems with the NAJC." My response was, "Hey, I'm not involved in this anymore. I'm out here as a regional director, I don't have any direct involvement in this kind of stuff." I guess I kind of said, "Quit calling me." Well, they didn't quit calling. And so by 1984, I went to the minister responsible for multiculturalism, Jack Murta. Highly irregular. I had no right to do it, I had no authority to do it, but I went to him. I didn't even know him. He was an MP from Manitoba who got appointed, had no involvement with multiculturalism whatsoever. Prior to his appointment, he was a potato farmer from Manitoba. It turns out to be, as it turned out, he was a wonderful, wonderful man who, with a deep sensitivity. But I went to him and I said, asked a meeting through his Chief of Staff, and guy named Newton Stacey. Said, "I'd like to meet with him, he's going to be in Ottawa for departmental meetings." Didn't talk to the deputy minister, didn't talk to the assistant deputy minister, I just went directly to the minister. When I think back on it, it was really not a very smart thing to have done. I could have got fired for having done what I did. But I went and I talked to him and I said, "Minister, you got to not listen to the Imai group. You can't listen to your Director of Multiculturalism," which, within the bureaucracy is something you just don't do. You shouldn't ever do that, but I did it. And was able to persuade him that the group he had to talk to was the NAJC.

And so the meetings ended and I got on my plane and went back to Vancouver. Several days later I got a call from him saying, "I want you to come to Ottawa. We're gonna talk about the NAJC." And in the meantime, he had spoken to the Assistant Under-Secretary of State for Multiculturalism, Doug Bowie, who was Kerry Johnson's superior. And I got, got back to Ottawa, went to a meeting with Bowie and Murta, and his Chief of Staff Newton Stacey. And they said, "We're gonna open discussions. Not negotiations, we're gonna open discussions with the NAJC, and we'd like you to be involved." Well, needless to say, this isn't something that went over very well in the multiculturalism program. What was this westerner regional director coming in here getting involved in something that should be the legitimate purview of Director of Multiculturalism? I raised my concerns with the minister saying, "I don't think this is really wise on your part." That, "Kerry Johnson is the person who you should really be talking to about this who should be leading the discussions." And Murta said, "No, I want you to do it." And I said, "Okay," rather naively. You know, I was not intimately involved with the issue at this time, I'd been away from Ottawa for three years. But I agreed to do it, and so he said, "Set up a group to work with you," and so I picked a couple of people, my executive assistant from Vancouver and a woman named Anne Scotton, who was in the policy branch of the Department of the Secretary of State in Ottawa.

We contacted the NAJC and said, "We're prepared to have some discussions with you. Not negotiations, all we're gonna have are discussions." Art Miki and Roy Miki and Roger Obata and others' response was, "We're not interested in discussions. We want negotiations. We want to negotiate redress with you people." I went back to the minister and said, "They don't want discussions, they want negotiations." He went to the Prime Minister's office and said, "They don't want discussions, they want negotiations." The response was, "Hold the discussions. You can call 'em negotiations, but they're not negotiations, they're discussions." There was a limited appetite, even in the Mulroney government, for full-blown negotiations. Partly because you had a group of people there who were basically unfamiliar with the issue. There was Mulroney who had some knowledge, some interest, some concern. Most people in cabinet, no interest, and probably significant opposition. There was a man in the Prime Minister's office, an academic from York University in Toronto, Charles McMillan, who I think was the one who ultimately persuaded Mulroney to be more open-minded on the whole issue. I don't know much about McMillan other than that he was a distinguished professor of business in, at York, and was highly regarded in the business community and highly regarded within the conservative hierarchy. But I think he's the one that really was the one that really persuaded Mulroney to be more open and be prepared to go further on this.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 12>

OK: In December of '84, we held our first meeting with the NAJC in Winnipeg. It did not go well. That we sat down with the negotiating committee for the NAJC, started the discussions, I started the discussions by saying, "These are discussions." And Roy Miki, not Art, but Roy very forcefully let me know that that wasn't on, and these had to be negotiations. The meeting lasted, as I remember, several hours, and ended with a significant measure of discord. We left, they proceeded to hold a press conference denouncing the federal government in terms of its lack of sincerity, lack of commitment, lack of openness, you name it, and they stated it, all of which was true. Nobody... and I went from Winnipeg, flew back to Ottawa with Doug Bowie and Anne Scotton and Elise Rainville, my EA, and we saw the news reports and, of course, the minister, Jack Murta was very upset that the NAJC was being so recalcitrant and so uncooperative and so unappreciative, all those things. I mean, they should have, in the minds of particularly his executive assistant, been down on bended knee and thankful that we had agreed to talk to them. And the discussion we had when I got back to Ottawa was not what you would term a very happy one. Essentially we were blamed, Bowie and I were blamed for not having been able to persuade the NACJ to see the wisdom of Ottawa's position. And I thought, at that point, "It's over." I was prepared to get on an airplane, fly back to Vancouver, and resume my duties, and that would be the end of it.

Well, I don't know really what happened in Ottawa after I left, but obviously somebody got to the Prime Minister. I don't know whether it was Roy and Art Miki through various intermediaries, but Murta called me back and said, "Okay, you've got to start holding negotiations, but here are the conditions: no apology, no individual payments, no real money. You can talk about money, but there's not going to be a lot of money on the table." Now, this is really a great mandate that I've got. I'm going to back and say essentially what we were told was not on when we had the first meeting in Winnipeg. I went back and set up a meeting with the NACJ again and we met in Winnipeg, and that's where Art Miki lived and that's, and it was the center, kind of, of the country, so it was easy for the Toronto people and the West Coast people to meet there rather than meet in Ottawa or Toronto or Vancouver, which would have been my preference, then I wouldn't have had to spend time on an airplane. And we held the next set of discussions. They went a little bit better than the first set, but not overwhelmingly better. That the government wanted a quick resolution to this. I mean, I gave Roger a copy of the statement we drafted for the Prime Minister to make a statement in the House of Commons. Basically we had the first meeting with the NAJC on the fourteenth of December, and they wanted to be able to make a statement --

RD: Year?

OK: 1984, and they wanted to be able to make a statement on the 16th of January 1985, wrapping the whole thing up. To say that the NACJ found that unacceptable was a mild understatement. I mean, you're not going to have a negotiation around this kind of issue in a month's time, particularly with Christmas there where you're gonna suspend all discussions of any kind for several weeks at the very minimum. I went back to Vancouver after that second meeting and I had some interesting phone calls. My name had now become public, and the media is the one that was the lead negotiator on behalf of the government of Canada, and I got some calls. How people got my phone number, I guess it was not hidden or anything, at home, from people who were associated with the Canadian Legion. Not officially, but members of the legion, denouncing me. Saying, "How could you possibly be doing this kind of thing after what the Japanese did to Canadians in Hong Kong?" And I tried to explain that, "You are comparing apples and oranges. What happened to Canadian military personnel in Hong Kong had nothing to do with what happened to Japanese Canadians in Canada." Well, again, it was a futile discussion. These people that were calling me and denouncing me weren't prepared to hear that. If a person was Japanese, they were Japanese, and that's all that mattered. And that kind of shook me up a little bit, but it also, I think, made me want to see these discussions proceed to meaningful negotiations, that if, in fact, the government was going to talk to people in the Japanese Canadian community, then it had to talk in a serious way. It wasn't going to be no apology, no acknowledgement, no recognition, no money. If they were going to talk, they had to be willing to enter into meaningful negotiations, and I said that at Ottawa. And I was kind of politely rebuffed. "Go back to Vancouver and we'll talk." Well, I went back to Vancouver and didn't hear very much more.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 13>

TI: I'm curious, at this point, 1984...

OK: This was '85 by now.

TI: '85, okay, but in the United States, there had been hearings, a recommendation put out by the government for both an apology and money. Did that ever come into the discussion?

OK: Oh, yeah, very much so. And one of the things that I kept saying, and Doug Bowie kept saying and Anne Scotton and all of us kept saying was, "You can't ignore what's happening in the U.S. in Canada." It's going to have an effect. We were being told by the representatives of the minister's office and others that what's happening in the U.S. was no impact in Canada. It's irrelevant. And, in fact, nothing's going to happen in the United States. This is all fluff, this is all rhetoric, it's not gonna go anywhere. And I mentioned to Roger, when we had discussions about this in Kingston, that there were people in the conservative party who said they had great ties to Republicans in the United States, and all of their information was that Reagan and company are just beating their gums, it's not going to come to anything of any consequence, and they believed that. They firmly and honestly believed that, and believed that nothing would happen, that it would have no impact up here or in Canada. By the mid-1980s, mid-'85, I was essentially pushed out of this. The discussions were put on hold, and nothing was happening. And Murta was moved as the minister, and the new minister was appointed, Otto Jelinek. Jelinek had no appetite for the whole negotiation, and essentially stalled everything.

RD: Jelinek denounced me, you know.

OK: I'm not surprised, and --

RD: I had given a lecture --

OK: -- I think that's to your credit.

RD: I think in Winnipeg that winter -- may have been a different winter, but I think it was that winter -- it was colder than hell as it usually is in Winnipeg.

OK: [Laughs] Must have been '86, 'cause I think he didn't become minister until '86.

RD: Then maybe it was the other fellow. I'm not sure who --

OK: It wasn't... I'm sure Murta wouldn't have done that.

RD: Yeah. But I had given a public lecture and was asked about this, and I said, "Well, I think it's gonna come here in Canada, but it will only come after, after negotiation is completed and is," which I thought was going to happen, "and success is achieved in the United States." And that sort of infuriated some people on both sides of that issue. It was the thought that Canada could possibly follow American precedent, you know, it was that sort of thing. And then in the paper the next day -- I've got a clipping somewhere -- but they probably, in my stuff back in Cincinnati in the library, there was stuff in the paper because the Minister of Multiculturalism had been on the campus that day. And he was asked about it, and he said, "As usual, college professors don't know what they're talking about," or some such thing. It was not a particularly vicious attack, but I was sort of amused, particularly the way things turned out.

OK: Well, it very much sounds to me like that would have been Jelinek because of his character and his nature. I, throughout the '85, had periodic contact with Anne Scotton in Ottawa who had been given the responsibility by Doug Bowie to continue to carry the file but not really do anything with it. By '86, the NACJ had mounted a determined effort to get the negotiations going again. And the government opened discussions once again, and Scotton then became the lead person on the discussions. In September of '86, I was asked to go back to Ottawa to replace Doug Bowie as the Assistant Under-Secretary of State for Multiculturalism. And Anne Scotton then reported to me, and I got back involved in the discussions about, with the NACJ. They started to have meaningful discussions. I mean, where things started to get put on the table, then Anne would come back to Ottawa and say, "Here's what they're saying they want." Ottawa would say, "Here's what we're prepared to do." Ottawa's position throughout '86 was, "No individual compensation, absolutely no individual compensation of any kind. We don't care what the Americans are saying, what is being said down there, there will be no individual compensation. What we're prepared to do is establish a foundation and endow that foundation, give authority for the foundation to the NAJC to do with what they want with the income off of the endowment," but they could not pay any individual compensation. They could establish programs, they could establish centers, they could establish scholarships, they could do anything they wanted short of individual compensation.

RD: And of course that was already on the table of the United States, but as an element of the other. There was no serious person by that time in the United States who thought that, anything other than individual redress was acceptable, even the people who were opposed understood that.

OK: Well, we... our position of the government was very firm on that. I mean, it was absolutely firm.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 14>

OK: The man who became the minister, the lead minister on the negotiations was David Crombie, who was the Secretary of State, and he, in effect, took this over from the minister responsible for multiculturalism and he carried the file. There was an incident that occurred in this period of time that had an indirect impact on everything, and that was the Meech Lake discussions.

TI: I'm sorry, say that...

OK: The Meech Lake discussions, which were constitutional discussions between the government of Canada and the provinces. And those, the Meech Lake Accords, the agreement that came out from the provinces, conferred a special status on Quebec. It recognized Quebec as a distinct society. It did other things that were eventually very much in disagreement in Canadian society, but it had an effect indirectly on the thinking of people in Ottawa. David Crombie was, as I said, the Secretary of State, the lead minister. He had an executive assistant named Ron Doering, D-O-E-R-R-I-N-G, who... I'm conflicted whether I should be generous or not. Who thought he knew a lot about this issue. He didn't know very much about it, but he thought he was knowledgeable. He, in fact, was profoundly ignorant about ethnic relations in Canada, and said, over the course of many discussions, some really stupid things. But he was convinced that Reagan and the Republicans in the United States would not settle anything. No question in his mind, he said he had great ties to people in the Republican party, he spoke to people in the conservative caucus who had great ties to the Republican party. The Prime Minister had a special relationship to Ronald Reagan, and everything they knew said, "Reagan and company are not gonna settle with the American Japanese Americans." I knew a member of Congress, a man named Lloyd Meads from the second district in Washington, and I had spoken to Meads, and Meads told me they were gonna settle and there would be individual compensation. I went back to Crombie and said, "This is going to happen." Doering right in front of me said, "Absolutely not, this will not happen, I don't know where you're getting your information from but it's wrong." I must admit I was not absolutely sure of Lloyd Meads' information, after all, he was a Democrat. But he was a pretty knowledgeable individual and a bright guy. So I kind of had my doubts, but I was inclined to believe what Meads was telling me. Crombie basically accepted Doering's position, and so the instructions to Anne Scotton and company were, "All we're going with is a foundation at the very most with an endowment, and that's it. No individual compensation."

I said something in that meeting, the Deputy Minister was in that meeting, a man named Jean Fournier, myself, Doering, and the minister. And I basically, what Crombie was saying was, "These discussions or negotiations are at an end. This is as far as we're prepared to go. If the NAJC is not prepared to accept that, then that's the end of it. We're cancelling everything." And I looked at the minister and I said that, "If you stop this process in this way, your government will have no moral authority on any other issue again. I thought the Deputy Minister was going to have a heart attack on the spot. You don't talk to a minister like that, but I felt very strongly about it, extremely strongly, that you could not say to the NAJC, who had entered into the negotiations in good faith, laid out their demands, it's not like they were secret or anything. And the government, according to what Crombie said at the time, was prepared to end the negotiations. This was in the fall of '86 or the spring of '87, my memory is a little faulty on this. It was either late fall or late winter/spring of '87. I thought then my role was, I'm dead. I got called to the deputy minister's office after our meeting with the minister and was dressed down, saying, "You never, ever speak to a minister like that." And, in fact, I was told, "You won't be sitting in meeting with the minister anymore on this, and probably any other issue." I was feeling both somewhat despondent, but not overly concerned, because I could always go back to my job in Vancouver. That job was sitting there waiting if I returned, as it turns out, I did. I told the deputy minister some months later that I wanted to return to Vancouver, that I didn't think I could do anything more useful here. And in June of '87, I did return to Vancouver, and not too long after that I went on leave and went to teach at the University of British Columbia.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 15>

TI: But let me just ask this question. So at this point, this was, in some ways, you're thinking, this is a career-ender for you. Your stand on this really kind of ended your career in the bureaucracy there.

OK: In fact, I called my wife after I had, you know, said what I had said to David Crombie, that I was probably not going to survive long. I thought that they, that Fournier, the deputy minister, would send me back to Vancouver, 'cause I was there in an acting capacity. I was not in the job permanently, I had turned the job down. He had asked me to move back to Ottawa permanently and I said no, I didn't want to do that. Basically I thought I could go back to Vancouver, I might survive for a while, and that would be the end of me. And I wasn't worried. Maybe very naively, I wasn't worried, 'cause I thought, "Well, I can always go teach." I always felt that I had that as a default position, and that was naive on my part. There were not exactly a lot of vacancies for professors of political science in Vancouver. 'Cause if I had come home to my wife and said we're moving anywhere other than south from Vancouver, I would have been told to enjoy myself, but it was going to be a move I made on my own. 'Cause she had made very clear to me that we weren't going to be moving back east under any circumstances. I had visited a lot of moves on my family over the years, between going back to Ottawa and coming to Alberta and going back to Ottawa, going to Vancouver. And the time that I went to Vancouver in 1981, I spent a year, close to a year commuting to Toronto as the acting regional director for Ontario. And some months after that ended, I spent six months in Manitoba as the Acting Regional Director for Manitoba at the same time keeping my position in Vancouver. And then I spent that year commuting to Ottawa.

RD: How'd you miss the Maritimes?

OK: Actually, or Quebec, it's actually really good questions, that... so I had asked a lot of my family, and I was not prepared to... and that's why I turned down being appointed to the position as the Assistant Under-Secretary on a permanent basis. But I really thought that my career was going to be basically over, but I wasn't worried. I really, and that was naive on my part because, as it turns out, I spoke to friends of mine in the Department of Political Science at the University of British Columbia and said, "I'd like to come and teach." And I went to Jean Fournier, the Deputy Minister, and I said, "I did you a favor by commuting to Ottawa for a year as the Acting Under-Secretary of State, Assistant Under-Secretary of State. I want you to give me an Executive Interchange to the University of British Columbia where you pay my salary and I'll teach there." And I kind of, I pushed him on it, he agreed, and so I went to teach at the University of British Columbia with the federal government paying my salary, which was the only way the university could afford to have somebody like me to come in from the outside. And that worked out really well. I mean, I enjoyed my time there, and I was able... when I think back on it, again, I like to think of myself as not being a stupid person, that I'm reasonably intelligent, but when I was teaching, I kind of thought I was a free spirit. That I was cutting my ties to the bureaucracy so I could say what I wanted to say, conveniently forgetting they were paying my salary. I was still a federal public servant on an Executive Interchange assignment. And so I wrote papers for example about the Meech Lake Accord denouncing the accord saying that what the government of Canada was agreeing to was just wrong. Of course, I was then denounced as being a Trudeauite, as a spokesman for the Trudeau position who had come out strongly opposed to the Meech Lake Accord.

David Crombie came to the university to give a speech, and so we spent some time together, and I talked to him about the Japanese Canadian negotiations and where they were going, and they were coming to a successful fruition with the announcement in 1988 of a settlement. He was, he said to me that he never ever forgot what I said to him about what his position was in terms of not willing to carry on a meaningful negotiation. Basically I guess I said not only was the government without any moral authority if they took that position, he was without any moral authority. David Crombie is an incredibly decent man; an incredibly decent man and a very enlightened individual. And he allowed to me that what I had said to him at the time had an effect on him, and I always appreciated the fact that he -- and for all I know, he may have stood in my defense, I don't know that. Because I know Fournier was very, very unhappy with me, extremely unhappy with me. Basically what I had done is denounced the minister and denounced the government, and you don't do that as a bureaucrat and survive. You have a choice. If you can't agree with the government, you resign. And I didn't do that. I said what I said, but I had made pretty clear I was prepared to go back to Vancouver immediately and be not involved in any sense in any of the meetings or discussions, or anything to do with the NAJC and the negotiations. So I don't know whether David Crombie ever said anything to anybody else, but I never suffered any repercussions, none whatsoever. And in fact, after I'd... when I mentioned earlier that when I was at the University of British Columbia, Milton Wong, David Lamb and I established the Laurier Institute. And I left my teaching position, continued on Executive Interchange for another year as the Executive Director of the Laurier Institute, and then took leave for another year where the Laurier Institute paid my salary. So I was essentially gone from the department for four years.

This was now 1992, and I got a phone call from Jean Fournier, and he said, "I'm coming to Vancouver and I'd like to talk to you." And I said, "Oh, great, let's have lunch." This is really interesting, I haven't heard a word from him since I left Ottawa in June of '87. Well, that's not quite true. When I was still, I had my discussions with him about going on leave and Executive Interchange. But in the time I was at the university, I had no interaction with him at all. So we had lunch and he said, "I want you to come back as a director, Regional Director for Multiculturalism. We've separated and created a new Department of Multiculturalism, separate from the Department of the Secretary of State, and I want you to be the Director of Multiculturalism." And I thought, well, that's really interesting. I kind of had decided I was going to finish my career in one way in my mind with the Laurier Institute, knowing in the back of my mind that that was not the most secure position in the world in terms of the financing of the foundation and everything. So I agreed to go back as the Director of Multiculturalism. And shortly thereafter, the government, there was an election, the liberals were back in power, and they revamped government and created the Department of Canadian Heritage, eliminated the Department of Multiculturalism, eliminated the Department of the Secretary of State, eliminated the Department of Communications, and put everything into the new Department of Canadian Heritage. A friend of mine became the new Deputy Minister of the Department of Canadian Heritage, and he asked me to be the Regional Director General of the new department. So in the end, from a career point of view, things worked out really well, and I ended up with a promotion because of the added responsibilities of the new department, and was in a kind of nice place. I had a good position, I had a good job, an exciting job, an interesting job. Stepping back a little bit, I did get back involved with the NAJC and redress. When I was asked by the deputy minister to join Roy Miki and Paul Kariya in settling the final claims of mainly residents, Japanese residents in Japan for compensation, individual compensation. So I met a number of times with the two of them in Ottawa where we went over individual cases and said, "Yes, we'll compensate, no, we won't compensate." And there was a lot of pretty heavy discussions, mainly between Roy and myself. Roy wanted to compensate everybody irrespective of what the situation was.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 16>

RD: What were the kinds of issues that would involve compensate or non-compensate? What were the parameters?

OK: Basically, under the agreement, anybody who was sent back to Japan or who went back voluntarily could be compensated with some restrictions. Basically anybody who went back and served in the Japanese armed forces was not going to be eligible for compensation. There's nothing in the agreement about that, but that was the mandate from the government.

RD: Even if they were drafted.

OK: Even if they were drafted. That the government's mandate was we could not politically accept giving compensation to somebody who had served as an enemy combatant essentially, to Canada, 'cause Canada was at war with Japan. Roy's position, and to a significant degree Paul Kariya's position was, "Hey look, some of these people didn't voluntarily join the Japanese armed forces, they were conscripted, and so they should be eligible for compensation." And we, that's where the debate and the discussion took place. What was their involvement, how heavily were they involved, did they actively engage, in any way, Canadians' armed forces? If they did, absolutely no compensation. Not even going to be discussed. As it turned out, in the end, very, very few people were denied compensation in Japan. Most people in Japan who were eligible under the agreement were compensated. And that is not something that has been well-publicized, it's not well-known in Canada. In fact, I suspect ninety-nine point nine percent, if not higher, of Canadians have no idea whatsoever that we compensated anybody in Japan.

And the... you know, in the end, I mean, I think that what happened in terms of compensation was just. As I said to Roger in earlier discussions that we've had, it would not have happened in Canada in my judgment had it not happened in the United States. That had what Ron Doering and some members of parliament were saying was the true state of Reagan and the Republican party's position, in fact, been true, then I can guarantee you there would have been no individual compensation in Canada, none whatsoever. I mean, once Reagan did what he did, the feet were absolutely cut from under the opponents in Canada. They had no leg to stand on whatsoever because you could not make a distinction of any significant importance between what happened in the United States to Japanese Americans and what happened to Japanese Canadians. In fact, I would argue that what happened to Japanese Canadians was more horrific than what happened to Japanese Americans. That the confiscation of property, the attempt to keep them off the West Coast, the deprivations visited upon Japanese Canadians in the camps was harsher. In all ways, our treatment --

RD: I agree with all of those things, but there's one, one thing Canada didn't do. They didn't kill anybody.

OK: No. Well, we didn't kill anybody intentionally. I think that some people died in the camps that --

RD: No, but I mean --

OK: Intentional killing, I agree with you.

RD: Well, I mean shot.

OK: Shot, no.

RD: And people... for instance, a case I looked into very thoroughly, soldier who shot somebody apparently for fun, was fined a dollar and given a carton of cigarettes.

OK: No, fortunately nothing like that happened in Canada, but other than that incident, or those kinds of incidents, I mean, our treatment, I think, was far harsher. I think the hysteria in Canada --

RD: The other, the other thing, Canada would make no, made no provision to pay for education, no less encourage thousands of people to leave camp and start in colleges. About four thousand Nisei got out of camps and went into colleges. Not on the West Coast.

OK: Yeah, nothing like that happened. In fact, when I think back now on how the children of the Nisei, the Issei, how they, how successful most of them had been in Canada, it's really remarkable. One of my closest associates in Edmonton, friend in Edmonton is a very, very successful plastic surgeon, Henry Shimizu. I mean, he was interned, he came out, the man is absolutely remarkable in that he doesn't have one ounce of animosity in him towards Canadian society, and I've always found that remarkable. I've always said, "How can you not have some measure of bitterness for what you suffered, what your family suffered?" And his response has always been, "Look at what I've got. In spite of what they did to me and to us, I have been able to succeed in this country." But that was all because of him. It wasn't because of any opportunities or advantages that were granted to him by governments. And the number of Henry Shimizus, I mean, the Art Mikis, the Roy Mikis, the Roger Obatas, all of those guys have done remarkably well, and I think... I'm thankful for that. I'm thankful that they have been able to overcome what was visited upon them. I think that... I hope someday some historians in Canada will write a more accurate history of what took place than what has been written to date. I think that what... and I'm, let me quickly correct by saying, correct that by saying from the perspective of who benefitted in Vancouver and British Columbia from the internment. That story hasn't been told. I mean, it's been either deliberately or whatever, submerged. But there are some families in Vancouver who really don't want that story told.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 17>

RD: I'd like to read to you a passage from a fine new book by Greg Robinson, A Tragedy of Democracy: Japanese Confinement in North America. He doesn't say much about redress, but he says this: "In 1984, Trudeau resigned and the Conservative government of Brian Mulroney was swept into office by elections shortly afterward. Mulroney was sympathetic to claims by Japanese Canadians (and may also have hoped to use redress as an incentive for Tokyo to sign a free trade treaty), but he hesitated to place a dollar value, a dollar amount on a settlement. The NAJC responded by commissioning a study from the esteemed accounting firm of Price Waterhouse. It estimated that the official actions had cost the Japanese community in Canada some $333 million dollars in revenue and $110 million in property (in 1986 dollars). In addition to the impressive rise of this damage claim, both Japanese Canadians -- and impressive size of this damage claim -- both Japanese Canadians and government officials focused on the progress of redress in the United States. In 1988, even as the United States Congress passed H.R. 442, a final round of negotiations was scheduled between Japanese Canadians and the Mulroney government on a redress package. When the parties became deadlocked, the prime minister named his close collaborator, Secretary of State Lucien Bouchard to lead the government's team. Bouchard used his influence to broker an agreement on a redress package, and the plan was voted into law in September 1988, some six weeks after redress was enacted in Washington." What do think of the accuracy of that?

OK: I think most of it is accurate. I'm not, I don't know much about Bouchard's involvement. He took over from David Crombie as Secretary of State, and he was very, very close to Prime Minister Mulroney at the time. They became bitter enemies, but I think that he, he may be overstating Bouchard's influence. I think that -- I think the person who deserves a great deal of credit for the settlement from the government of Canada's point of view is Anne Scotton. I think Anne, one, she's a very, very, incredibly bright young woman -- she's not a young woman anymore -- but she's very articulate, very persuasive, and she, you know, was, I think, able to prevail within the department that the position of the NAJC was a just position. She may be the one who persuaded Bouchard, and Bouchard went to the Prime Minister. In my view, once the settlement was announced in the United States, it was a fait accompli in Canada. I think anybody who had been there --

RD: But that's not what we get here.

OK: No. I think, I honestly believe very strongly that the U.S. agreement guaranteed the Canadian agreement irrespective of who the Secretary of State was. I think that --

RD: That's my view.

OK: Yeah, and that's certainly my view. I think that that's, that, Robinson is overstating Bouchard's role. I think that, from everything I know and that I've learned from Anne is that she, she had an agreement with the NAJC and she was able to sell that agreement within the department.

RD: She still in government?

OK: Yeah. I think she is. Now, again, I haven't talked to her in probably five years. And the last time I spoke to her she was in the Privy Council Office. I don't know if she's still there.

RD: She'd be a good person to interview, but if she's still in caucus, she probably doesn't, in government, she probably wouldn't want to.

OK: I don't know. I can try and reach and talk to her and see if she... I'm trying to think how many years, she's a lot younger than I am. [Laughs] So she may still... I'll try and talk to her and see if she'd be interested. And she may be not that far from retirement.

RD: Where's she from?

OK: She's from Ottawa.

RD: I mean, she, that's where she'd retire?

OK: She's from Ottawa. That's where she's from. Her mother was... well, her whole family, they were very, very heavily involved with the CCF/NDP, and Anne is what you would term a "raving liberal."

RD: I know you mentioned Ed Broadbent.

OK: In fact, her family was very close to --

RD: Whom I met once. He was head of the NVP, and I think also was involved with the Autoworkers Union, wasn't he? No?

OK: No. He was an academic, professor of political philosophy, and then he came from Oshawa, which was the center of the automobile industry in Ontario. And he, I don't think he... no, he was never involved with the auto workers.

RD: Well, I guess, I guess I associated him with Oshawa and I've seen him at auto plants --

OK: Probably because he was in Oshawa.

TI: So, Orest, I want to go back just in terms of the outcome of the Canadian redress. Is it your sense that this was probably the best possible outcome for the Japanese Canadian community in terms of what finally ended up in terms of a settlement?

OK: Oh, absolutely. I think that certainly from the time when I was involved, up until '87, the position of the government of Canada was absolutely no individual compensation. It was going to be a foundation. In fact, at one point, we thought we had an agreement with the NACJ for seventy-five million dollars, and just as a foundation and no individual compensation. That there was a measure of despondency within the NACJ because of the recalcitrance of the federal government. And I think there were certainly some who were prepared to settle at that. Roy Miki, for example, would have never settled for anything less than individual compensation, but there were others who thought that was the best deal they could get. In Ottawa, Mr. Doering, my dear friend Mr. Doering, was a vocal opponent of providing that kind of level of compensation for the creation of a foundation at that level, and was able to persuade people not to agree to it. At which point the NACJ said, "That's it. You wouldn't go there, we are not bending from our original position. We want individual compensation, we want a foundation." The whole idea of the human rights or the race relations foundation was an add-on that came later, but I think they got as good a deal as they could ever get out of the government of Canada. I think it was... and going back to the passage that Roger read, I think that the U.S. settlement led to that. Had there not been a U.S. settlement, there would not have been that kind of generous settlement in Canada. I don't have any doubt about that at all.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 18>

TI: Coming from the United States, something that sort of stands out is twenty-one thousand, versus in the United States it was twenty thousand. Have you any sense of why that extra one thousand?

OK: I really don't know. I've heard stories that it was, "We'll do one better than the Americans" --

RD: Yeah, but given the exchange rate, it was really a little less.

OK: Well, actually not at that time. I think the exchange rate in the late '80s was pretty close.

RD: Yeah, but I think it was a little...

OK: Well, it was a little less than the U.S.

RD: Yeah, so that's --

OK: It may have equaled twenty thousand, I don't know.

RD: It's a funny number.

OK: Oh, it is. But I think it was clearly -- at least in my view -- some people in Ottawa, "We'll go one better than the Americans." There's this thing in Ottawa about, well, in Canada about the U.S. The whole competition is important. But I don't have any doubt. I think that they got a pretty, a pretty good settlement. One of the things that I may have mentioned this to Roger in the past that I've always got a chuckle out of, had we been able to persuade the NACJ to accept the seventy-five million, it was a bargain. 'Cause it ended up costing Canada 388 million. I mean, and I have, I ran into Ron Doering many years later at a meeting in Ottawa, and I took great delight in pointing out the differences between seventy-five million and 388. He was not amused. As you might gather, he's not one of my favorite people.

TI: Well, the other key component of the settlement, too, was the quick payment, the expedited payment. In the United States, we had to go through another whole round before people started getting paid in the early '90s. Do you have any sense of how that came about?

OK: Well, one, it's the difference in, partly it's the difference in the political systems. Once the government decides something in Canada, that's it. You don't have to have a vote in, a separate vote in Congress like you have. You don't have a vote in Canada like you have in Congress. An appropriation was made through the treasury board, the money was assigned to the Department of the Secretary of State, and the checks started to flow rather quickly. The system in Canada is so much simpler in that way, that you don't have to worry about appropriation bills the way you do here. And I'm assuming what happened, if it happened the way it would normally happen, there's a thing called supplementary estimates in Canada. Every year you prepare a budget, that budget's approved in Parliament, and then later in the year, if you need more money, you go to the treasury board, they prepare what are called supplementary estimates, those go before Parliament and they're voted. The government has the majority in the house, bang, it's done. Once Cabinet approves it, it's done. So getting that money out that quickly wasn't a difficulty here, or in Canada.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 19>

TI: I just want to ask about a gentleman, there was a Japanese Canadian during the United States, when redress was first proposed, he came out strongly against redress payments, individual payments, or the whole concept of redress for Japanese Americans, and this was Sam or S.I. Hayakawa. And I was curious, did he ever take a stand about redress or any other issues? Did you have to deal with Mr. Hayakawa?

OK: I never had any knowledge or involvement whatsoever with him in terms of the redress issue. The only involvement or knowledge I had of him was over official languages in Canada, and he was a, he thought that what Canada had done was an absolute travesty. He thought it was one of the stupidest things the government could do was recognizing a second official language. And Keith Spicer, the commissioner, went to California... oh, I'm trying to remember. It was in, I think the mid-'70s. And I think Hayakawa at that time was a senator, or maybe he was still at the University of San Francisco, I can't remember the precise details, but Spicer had, was on a panel with him, and they got into quite a verbal exchange. I think Spicer came out significantly on top, because Hayakawa's position on official languages was just ignorant, just absolutely ignorant. And I must admit, given what I know of his involvement in official languages, his position on Japanese American redress comes as no surprise to me. I've never really... for as learned a man as he was, he could be very ignorant about other issues.

RD: A low, a low ethical threshold as well.

OK: Really?

RD: Oh, yeah. When he was the president of San Francisco State, he was assailed by his faculty and students for all kinds of things. And he resigned in a message sent from an aeroplane about to land at Addis Abba. Hayakawa was chairman of a small committee of the senate of the faculty of San Francisco State trying to find a new president, get a new president, when he was approached by a telephone call from Reagan of would he accept the job, and he took it. Without even, without even mentioning to his colleagues. That's what I call a low ethical standard.

OK: A curious man, a very curious man.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 20>

TI: So changing, kind of, maybe, subjects, in your, in the several years you were negotiating with the Japanese Canadian community, kind of in hindsight, could they have, could they have done things differently that would have improved how the negotiations would have gone for them? Is there anything that, any thoughts about that? Being on the other side of the table, I'm just curious what your thoughts were.

OK: I think they, overall, they did a very good job. Did they make some tactical blunders? Yes. They, on occasion, went public when it was not to their advantage to do it. You know, you don't ever, in my estimation, push a government into a corner, embarrass a minister. It just doesn't bode well for you. And a couple of times where they, after unsatisfactory discussions, they went public and denounced the government. Well, all that did was get people's backs up. That people who were basically supportive, in the end, didn't hurt them that badly. But I think they... I've always operated on the philosophy that you get more with honey than you do with vinegar. And Art Miki certainly was the one who bought into that philosophy. He was always the person who wanted to be the conciliator, who wanted to understand where the government might be coming from on particular issues. Which isn't to say that he didn't firmly believe in the position of the NAJC, he did. But in contrast, Roy was far more combative. His... and I can remember sitting in meetings where people like Art and Roger Obata and others would say, "Settle down, Roy." Even when we were discussing the individual cases of residents of Japan, a couple of times he threw, got up and stomped and threw papers on the table because I wouldn't agree to compensating a particular individual. Well, that didn't score him any points. I essentially had veto power. If I said, "No," it wasn't going to happen, and he was better off persuading me rather than getting angry. But all in all, I think Roy played a critical role in that he held the NAJC's feet to the fire when there were people in the community who were willing to accept a lot less than eventually was done.

RD: There's a woman who was associated with the Canadian committee, I'm trying to think of her name. I heard her speak.

OK: Oh... from Montreal, I think. See if I might have the name anywhere here. [Looks through papers]

RD: Because there was certainly a good deal of back and forth correspondence and visits and meetings between Canadian and American redress committees. I can't give you chapter and verse, but I know this to be true. And I think the American successes invigorated the Canadians somewhat.

OK: Oh, I don't think there's any question about that.

RD: And one big difference, because of the differences in procedure, was that the Japanese Canadian community never had the experience of redress hearings, which were, I think, very important for many members of that generation.

TI: In terms of just within the community, selling, or getting them comfortable with...

RD: Yeah, and changing their life. I was at a meeting, one of the fiftieth anniversary meetings for people who had, this was at a little college in Missouri called Park College, one of the first to take... little bible school that had been one of the first to take students out of the camps. And they had a Nisei weekend for the fiftieth anniversary, and paid the way of the people back for this thing, and I came down to give a talk. And she gave a little talk and it was wonderful. She said, "You know," she said, "they had trouble here," but she never said a word to anybody about anything. Somebody got her to go to a redress hearing, and then she says, which had just been a few years before, says, "Then I started talking, and I haven't shut my mouth since." [Laughs] And it turned out she was --

OK: It wasn't Cassandra Kobayashi, was it?

RD: In Canada, yes.

<End Segment 20> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 21>

TI: So you've mentioned some names, so Art Miki, Roy Miki, Paul Kariya, is it Roger Obata, Cassandra...

OK: Kobayashi.

TI: Kobayashi.

RD: Is that Kariya any relation to the hockey-playing Kariyas?

OK: Yeah, they're distant cousins.

TI: That's good, that's good.

OK: In fact, Paul's wife, or Paul's sister and my wife worked together at a private lab in Vancouver. But Roger, I first met Roger when he was the president of the Japanese Canadian Centennial Committee in Toronto and they had major celebrations in the late '70s. Then he was intimately involved with the NACJ in the negotiations. In fact, when things on occasion weren't going too well, I would call Roger and bounce things off of him. And he was a very important player in the negotiations.

TI: Oh, interesting. So he was almost like your back channel to this, to do that.

OK: A little bit, yeah.

RD: You have a book in your collection called A Dream of Riches. It was put out about that, about that celebration.

OK: Celebration.

RD: That was, I think, their theme.

OK: Yeah, 1977.

TI: Well, which reminds me, I think Gordon Hirabayashi was pretty involved with that also.

OK: Yeah.

TI: Did you ever come in contact with Gordon?

OK: Uh-huh. In Vancouver, and he lived in, I think, in Kamloops.

RD: No, he was in Edmonton.

OK: Oh, in Edmonton, that's right. There was a...

RD: He was on the faculty there.

OK: Yeah. You're right. No, I'm thinking of somebody else. Gordon, in fact, I had dealings with him long after the, my involvement with the redress issues on multiculturalism issues, he was heavily involved in things in the Edmonton community. And the last time I had any dealings with him was at a conference of multiculturalism in Edmonton sometime in the late '90s or mid-'90s, I can't remember.

TI: And did he play a role in the Canadian redress?

OK: Not to my remembrance.

RD: He was down here, actually, in Seattle during much of that time.

TI: Yeah, he was, like, the honorary chair...

RD: I was here with him for a part of that time, we went to a lot of meetings together.

OK: Now, he may have been somebody that they were talking to in the, within the community. But he certainly wasn't at any meetings that I was at.

TI: Good. Any other, any other Japanese Canadians that sort of come to mind in terms of role, that played a role in this that you had to deal with? I'm not asking you to try to understand all the dynamics of the community, but just in terms of your role.

OK: Those were the main players that I had dealings with. There were others who were on the negotiating committee for the NAJC whose names... you know, I don't know if I can...

TI: Oh, that's okay. You don't have to go into that.

<End Segment 21> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 22>

TI: But I'm curious, here's maybe a question, and this might not be fair, but how do you think the people, the Japanese Canadians that you dealt with, how would they describe you?

OK: Probably... it depends on who you talk to. I think Roger, people like Roger, Art, would say that I was a strong supporter of a fair settlement. I think Roy would say I was certainly supportive, but I was a bureaucrat. I mean that he, because we had more confrontational sessions than I had with... which isn't to say that we didn't have, I didn't have disagreements with others or they with me, with Roy they were more direct and confrontational. "No, I won't agree to that." "But you got to agree to that." "No, I won't agree to that." It was those kinds of back and forth with him, that I didn't have with most of the other individuals. In terms of other people that I think were important players, Tommy Shoyama, who was a Deputy Minister in Ottawa for many years. He was the first --

RD: He's, I was going to bring him up.

OK: -- Japanese Canadian that ever got that high. No Japanese Canadian has ever been that high in the bureaucracy.

RD: There are no real, no real national politicians of Japanese ancestry, they're very different pattern than here. 'Cause there wasn't that kind of tight community support because they broke up the community.

OK: And Tommy was somebody we talked to to try and get a sense of the community. Now, his involvement with the community was very limited. I mean, he maintained his, certainly his sense of being a Japanese Canadian in, but his organization involvement was very, very limited, partly because of the fact that he occupied the kinds of positions he did. I mean, he rose to the second highest position in the Canadian government, in the bureaucracy, as the Deputy Minister of Finance. There's only one position higher, and that's to be the Clerk of the Privy Council. And so he was such a success as a bureaucrat, but he wasn't involved in the community, but he was very knowledgeable about the community, he knew a lot of people in the community. And he was a figure that was highly, highly regarded in the Japanese Canadian community because of his successes. The other person who was a highly successful Japanese Canadian, who was minimally involved in this whole issue, was David Suzuki.

RD: I was going to ask you about him.

OK: And David really wasn't of the community, but there were some politicians who liked to quote David Suzuki as, "Well, redress isn't that big a deal, redress isn't that critically important. I'm not opposed to redress, but..." and so some people like to latch onto people like David Suzuki. I think in the end, he came around. He came to see the justice of the whole process and of the outcome, but certainly during the '80s, he was not what you would call a strong proponent of this.

<End Segment 22> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 23>

TI: How about the Imai group, you mentioned them earlier. Did they ever reappear?

OK: No. They... once the serious discussion started, and the negotiations started with the NACJ, they just simply fell off the table. That once the government said, "We are negotiating with the NACJ, we think they are the legitimate representatives of the community," George and company simply faded into the background. And George had his own agenda. I think that he really thought that he would benefit individually if he could persuade the government to negotiate with him and get a minimal settlement, that he would be a hero to a lot of the people in the liberal party, and that's where his ties were. But he, he became a non-entity in the whole process, justifiably. I mean, his, some of the meetings I had with him were, he wasn't pleasant about his denunciation of others. And I think that you find that, and it's not unlike what's happening, for example, with the whole First World War situation and the lack of agreement in some communities about the whole issue of what should or shouldn't be done in terms of recognition, remembrance and that. There are a lot of people in the Ukrainian community, "That had nothing to do with me. Why are you bothering me with this? Why are you raising it? Why are you making us visible on this issue? We don't want to be visible on this issue, so go away." So those kinds of disagreements within communities... the Chinese Canadian community over the whole question of the head tax. I mean, strong, strong divisions within the community. A significant number who said, "We don't want this issue raised, there is no issue in terms of the head tax, go away." Others said, "The government had got to acknowledge this."

TI: Well, what's kind of interesting to me, in some ways, NACJ dodged the bullet. Because if they had settled earlier, for, say, the 75 million dollars before the United States had settled with Japanese Americans, they would have come under huge criticism for selling for less than what the Americans did.

OK: Yes and no.

TI: And there, again, the divisions of the community, how that would have all come out, versus the way it played out.

OK: They would have come under severe criticism from some elements of the community who saw anything less than individual compensation as unacceptable. There would have been a significant portion of the community that said, "We didn't get a bad deal. Yes, they got something in the U.S. that we didn't get," but then don't forget, there were the Henry Shimizus in the country who said, "Individual compensation isn't an essential in terms of redress." To them, the most important thing was acknowledgement and an apology, which they never got. They got the acknowledgement, but they didn't get the apology in the way they wanted it. They got the recognition in the House of Commons, which was an important symbolic thing that the government did. I think that certainly people like Roy and others would have been bitterly disappointed, bitterly disappointed at the settlement of a foundation and endowment than accept it and no individual compensation. And it wasn't, from the point of view of Roy and others, the getting the money, that wasn't the issue of getting the check, it was the recognition that this happened to individual people. And the only way you can fully acknowledge what happened is to compensate individuals. It happened to the community and that, there's an element to recognize the compensation to the community, but you had to recognize individuals suffered. And I'm thankful that it happened in the time, the timelines that it did happen. That I'm thankful they didn't accept the 75 million because it would have deeply hurt some people. Deeply hurt some people. Others would have been quite fine with it.

<End Segment 23> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 24>

RD: To switch just a little, to what degree, if at all, did your experience with Japanese American redress influence your participating in a campaign for Ukrainian Canadian redress later, and did you take any lessons?

OK: Yes. I guess my being involved with the Japanese Canadian redress made me far more sensitive to what happened to Ukrainians and others in the First World War. That when Lubomyr and others first came to Ottawa, I wasn't overly sympathetic, but I was, I became more sympathetic and aware because of my involvement with the Japanese Canadian redress. What had happened to Japanese Canadians in part happened because of what had happened in the First World War. If you could do it once, you could do it a second time. If you could do it a second time without any recognition and apology and acknowledgement of what you had done, then it could happen a third time. I think the only thing that will keep us from doing what we've done on two occasions in a wartime situation is because we have, as a country and as a people, recognized something. And we can stand up and point out that this happened in 1914 and it then again happened in 1941. Now, are we going to let it happen in 2020? Knowing what we know, what we did to those people in those circumstances, the fact that it's now in the history books, it's now in the curricula of schools, that people won't go through an educational process in Canada like I did being totally unaware of this having happened.

I mean, and I think that because I was so heavily involved in the Japanese Canadian redress, when I was called and asked if I would be involved with the endowment committee, I didn't hesitate. I said, "Yes, this is something that I've got to do because it is another building block to see that things like this don't happen again. And anything that we do as a country or countries to raise awareness, to make people knowledgeable about governments doing this to their people, is the only way we're going to prevent it from happening in the future. Can it happen in the future? Absolutely. The capacity to create hysteria is unfortunately real. I mean, when you think back and look at what happened to Japanese Canadians when all kinds of authorities said, "You don't have to, these people are not a threat, they are not a concern. They're loyal to this country." But the hysteria that overtook the politicians and some very selfish individuals who saw a great benefit in what... and I'm probably maybe being unjustly cruel to some people, that I think some people very much sought benefits out of what could happen. And I think back and say, well, if you can override what the security services are saying, what the military is saying, what the police are saying and still persuade politicians that they've got to do what they did, I think that the fact that nobody knew what happened in the First World War, or that so few people knew, and that the government did a very good job, in my judgment, of deliberately covering it up, that is less likely to happen now because more people know about what we did as governments. And we can point to things. We can say, "Look at what we did to Ukrainians and others in the First World War, what we did to Japanese Canadians in the Second World War, and no, we're not gonna do that to Muslims now, and here's why we aren't going to do it." I think there are a great many more people who are aware of all these issues than were in 1941. There were some very prominent people who stood up and argued against what the government was doing, but they were such a small minority that their voices were lost in the wilderness. And I hope that won't be true in the future. I hope there'll be a great many more Roger Daniels standing up and saying things than there were in the past. But can it happen? Yes, it can happen, I mean, and that's, in the last analysis, you can't outline hysteria. You can't outlaw bigotry. I mean, it can raise its ugly head.

RD: And stupidity.

OK: And stupidity. We've all seen it happen, and I despair. And I watch governments, even to this day, I watch my government, the way it's treating Omar Khadr in Guantanamo. I mean, give me a break. I mean, why would you do what you're doing? Unless you're doing it for very crass, short-term political reasons, and if you are, you should be condemned from the highest reaches. And now that's starting to happen. Fortunately, you're seeing things in Canada that you didn't see forty years ago. I mean, The Globe and Mail. When I mention going there to talk to the editorial board and in effect being treated as this, "Why is this person even here? Get him out of here, let's get on to something really important," to where they write editorials condemning the government for what they're doing to Khadr. And that's a change. That's a dramatic, there's been important changes that have happened in Canada, and I don't want to not recognize those. I think that we as a people have become more understanding and I think more accepting of differences. Are we perfect? Absolutely not. And I, the one thing that I will never continue to stop doing is to get Canadians to quit sitting on their high horses of some sort of moral superiority, particularly in comparison to the United States. That's still there, and it's still there in a way it shouldn't be.

RD: Well, it's very difficult to live next to a monster. [Laughs]

OK: Well, I prefer to call it an elephant, and we're the mouse. [Laughs]

RD: But it's... you got anything else? [Addressing TI]

TI: No, this has been fabulous.

RD: Yeah, I thought this was very nice.

OK: Well, I want to thank the both of you for affording me this opportunity.

<End Segment 24> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.