Challenges at Home
Following the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Canada was perceived internationally as a strong ally in the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms. However, on a national level, Canadians had their own challenges.
"The War Measures Act remains on the statute books of this country. So long as it is on the statute books there is no reason why governments, if they so choose, might not create emergencies, real or apprehended, thereby permitting them to commit arbitrary acts under its powers."
As a Member of Parliament, Diefenbaker led the House Committee on the Defence of Canada Regulations. The Committee investigated instances where arrests and detentions without a trial occurred during the War. Diefenbaker strongly opposed Prime Minister Mackenzie King's decision to displace and intern Japanese Canadians. He argued that such decisions should be made through parliamentary debate, rather than by orders-in-council. In his view, only Parliament - not the Executive - had the right to legislate in a manner that violated civil liberties. (Parlimentary Democracy and the Canadian Bill of Rights - The Diefenbaker Legacy, 101)