The Canadian Bill of Rights

Orders-in-Council Threaten Your Citizenship!

  • The join opposition of an alert public and Parliament compelled the Government[sic] to re-draft Bill 15 and drop the infamous Clause “g.”
  • Despite this, the Government, flouting public and Parliament, resorted to Orders-in-Council to carry out its previous plan.
  • The legality of the Orders-in-Council is being tested in the Supreme Court, and that is therefore not open to public discussion at present, But the principle underlying these Orders and the public policies based upon them demand your attention now.
  • Clause “g” of Bill 15 threatened the liberty of every Canadian citizen, but its immediate purpose was to make legally possible the revocation of citizenship and the deportation of Canadian citizens of Japanese origin.  When the clause was rejected by public and Parliament, the Government passed Orders-in-Council authorizing the very action which parliament has refused to sanction.

Order-in-Council re Deportation of Japanese

P.C. 7355

The preamble to this Order provokes comment.

It begins:

“Whereas during the course of the war with Japan certain Japanese nationals manifested their sympathy with or support of Japan by making requests for repatriation to Japan and otherwise;
“And whereas other persons of the Japanese race have requested or may request that they be sent to Japan;
“And whereas it is deemed desirable that provisions be made to deport the classes of persons referred to above;
“And whereas it is considered necessary by reason of the war, for the security, defence, peace, order and welfare of Canada, that provision be made accordingly. . . .”

Following the preamble, are the operative terms of the Order. It lists those categories of persons who can be sent to Japan:

  1. Every person 16 years of age or over, other than a Canadian national, who is a national of Japan resident in Canada and who, since December 8, 1941, has made a request for repatriation or who has been interned for any reason since the beginning of the war with Japan.
  2. Every naturalized Japanese, 16 years or over, living in Canada who has request repatriation: provided that he has not revoked his request in writing prior to midnight of September 1, 1945.
  3. Every Canadian-born person of Japanese origin, 16 years or over who has requested “repatriation”: provided that he has not revoked in writing such request prior to the making by the Minster of an order for deportation.
  4. “The wife and children under 16 years of age of any person for whom the Minister makes an order for deportation to Japan may be included in such order and deported with such person.”

The remainder of the Order sets out in considerable detail the powers and duties of the Minister of Labor, in carrying out the deportations. In contrast one recalls Prime Minister King’s speech in the House of Commons on August 4, 1944 and particularly this sentence:

Why were the “repatriation” forms signed? From a number of statutory declarations is selected a typical one which reads:

“Tashme, B.C.,
November 14, 1945.

“I, Kameo Kumano, do hereby submit the following statement: I was willing to go east but my wife is confined in the New Denver Sanatorium and at that time I was told to go east and work on a farm. I have three small children with no one to look after them. I refused to sign at first but Placement Officer Mr. E.F. Roberts threatened to cut me off the Department of Labor, Japanese Division, Payroll and also refused to give me maintenance. With no other alternative I had to sign for repatriation.

“This statement is given voluntarily and is true to the best of my knowledge and belief.

(Signed) “K. Kumano.”

This Order and the other two which follow were dated “December 15, 1945” – more than four months after VJ-Day. The War Measures Act itself expired on December 31, 1945.

Hundreds of persons of various other nationalities have been interned in Canada during the war. None, as far as we know, have been deported because of being interned, nor has the government proposed to deport them.

Speaking in Parliament on December 17, 1945, the day the three Orders were tabled, Prime Minister King said:

“The circumstances of war and the peculiar character of the present problem require more expeditious and broader action than the present statutes allow. (Naturalization and Immigration Acts). But the Orders that have been passed to permit effective action raise no new principles, nor do they depart from any established principles.”

Under what Canadian statute or established principle of law can the government deport to a foreign country the wife and Canadian-born children of a person, for no other reason than that they are his wife and children?

“We must not permit in Canada the hateful doctrine of racialism which is the basis of the Nazi system everywhere.”

These three Orders-in-Council are based solely on racial considerations.

Orders-in-Council Revoking Naturalization
P.C. 7356

The purpose of this Order is to revoke the citizenship of all persons deported under the previous Order. After a preamble of similar import to that of P.C. 7355, Sec. 1 reads:

“1. Any person who, being a British subject by naturalization under the Naturalization Act . . .is deported from Canada under the provisions of Order-in-Council P.C. 7355 of 15th December, 1945, shall, as and from the date upon which he leaves Canada in the course of such deportation, cease to be either a British subject or a Canadian national.”

It would be difficult to imagine anything more sinister than this Order which permits a person to be stripped of every citizenship right in the country of his birth or legal residence. Rights embodied in the constitution of the United States prevent this being done there, and even those persons deported are not deprived of their American citizenship.

Orders-in-Council re Commission to Inquire. . .
P.C. 7357

This Order starts out in similar vein to the two others. Part of its preamble reads:

“And whereas experience during the war in the administration of Order-in-Council P.C. 946 of February 5, 1943, providing for the control of persons of Japanese race has indicated the desirability of determining whether the conduct of such Japanese persons in time of war was such as to make the deportation of any of them desirable in the national interest. . . .”

The most suitable comment here is undoubtedly the statement made by Prime Minister King in the House of Commons on August 4, 1944:

“It is a fact that no person of Japanese race born in Canada has been charged with any act of sabotage or disloyalty during the years of war.”

Nor has any evidence since been given of the need for such measures.

The Order states that “it is deemed advisable to make provision for the appointment of a Commission to institute the investigation referred to above,” and proceeds to set forth its constitution and powers:

“1. A Commission consisting of three persons shall be appointed to make inquiry concerning the activities, loyalty and the extent of co-operation with the Government of Canada during the war of Japanese nationals and naturalized persons of Japanese race in Canada in cases where their names are referred to the commission by the Minister of Labor for investigation with a view to recommending whether in the circumstances of any such case such person should be deported.

The proposed “loyalty tribunal” cast its shadow over the lives of persons of Japanese origin long before it was created, and became part of the pressure that made them sign for “repatriation.” A notice sent out in March, 1945, by T. B. Pickersgill, Commissioner of Japanese placement, included this sentence:

“Failure to agree to re-settlement outside of British Columbia by those evacuated Japanese-Canadians not wanting to sign applications for voluntary repatriation to Japan may be regarded later by the proposed loyalty tribunal, when it is established, as evidence of lack of co-operation with the government of Canada.”

Speaking in the House of Commons on Nov. 21, 1945, the Minister of Labor said:

“Let me say, with all the emphasis at my command, that no coercion was exercised in the taking of requests for repatriation from persons of the Japanese race.”

Clause 2 reads, in part:

“…the Commission may, at the request of the Minister of Labor, inquire into the case of any naturalized British subject of the Japanese race who has made a request for repatriation and which request is final under the said Order-in-Council and may make such recommendations with respect to such cases as it deems advisable.

The foregoing is the gist of the three Orders-in-Council. In the House of Commons, on December 17 last, Prime Minister King referred to the difficulties of settling the Japanese-Canadian question, and summed up his view of the government’s new Orders in these words:

“May I say that we have sought to deal with it (this problem) and in doing so we have followed the ancient precept of doing justly but also loving mercy, and the Orders-in-Council which I now table will give expression to that approach.”

The Issues at Stake. . .

  • The declared policy of the Prime Minister and the will of Parliament is set aside by Order-in-Council.
  • Sufficient power already exist in the Statutes of Canada to revoke naturalization and deport persons under certain specified conditions.
  • This policy would forcibly separate from their Canadian-born families, aliens who have been obedient to Canadian laws.
  • If one group of Canadians can be singled out for deportation, is anyone safe?
  • By these Orders-in-Council Canada adopts the hateful doctrine of racialism which threatens to destroy civilization.

We Must Act NOW...

  • Write or wire the Prime Minister and your member of Parliament protesting against Order-in-Council legislation; and urge that the civil rights of persons of Japanese origin be restored.
  • Demand that every person whose name appears on the repatriation forms and who has asked for cancellation of his application for deportation be given opportunity to be heard, with counsel, before the loyalty Commission.
  • Arrange public or group protest meetings in your district. Ask for speakers from the local Civil Liberties Union or other organizations which have taken up this cause.
  • Help finance the TEST CASE now before the Supreme Court. Send your contributions to VANCOUVER CONSULTATIVE COUNCIL.

This leaflet is issued by the Vancouver Consultative Council. ADDITIONAL COPIES may be obtained from the secretary, 1806 West 14th Avenue, Vancouver; or from the Co-operative Committee on Japanese-Canadians, 126 Eastbourne Avenue, Toronto; or from the Japanese Defence Committee, 504 Talbot Avenue, Winnipeg. Price: 12 copies for 50c; 100 copies for $4.00.

Broadway Printers, LTD.

Copy of the Canadian Bill of Rights
Canadian Bill of Rights

Media and Document Gallery


Canadian Bill of Rights
John Diefenbaker in Cornwall, Ontario
John and Olive Diefenbaker with a group of Polish children
John Diefenbaker at a Chinese Youth Services banquet
John Diefenbaker in House of Commons office
John Diefenbaker and a delegate to the Progressive Conservative General Meeting – 16


Speech by John Diefenbaker at the Young Progressive Conservative Convention, Ottawa

Creator: Progressive Conservative Party of Canada

Subject: Canada – Head of Government | Canada – Human Rights | Canada Bill of Rights

Description: John Diefenbaker affirms his lifelong championing of human rights and calls upon the youth of the party to take on responsibility for leading Canada into the future

Date Created: 30 November1959


Speech by John Diefenbaker to the Progressive Conservative Women’s Association, Ottawa

Creator: Progressive Conservative Party of Canada

Subject: Canada – Head of Government | Canada – Human Rights | Canada – Bill of Rights

Description: John Diefenbaker declares his desire to have a Bill of Rights voted on by Parliament in the coming session

Date Created: 30 November1959


Speech by John Diefenbaker to a Progressive Conservative banquet, Ottawa

Creator: Progressive Conservative Party of Canada

Subject: Canada – Head of Government | Canada – Human Rights | Canada – Census

Description: John Diefenbaker advocates for a Canadianism which will find expression in the coming census when citizens will, for the first time, be asked whether they are a Canadian

Date Created: 17 March1961



186000-8 Re: Bill of Rights – Amendment to Constitution

Creator: Department of Justice

Subject: Canada – Government | Canada – Human Rights | Canada – Bill of Rights | Canada – Amendment to Constitution

Description: Describes the merit and means of accomplishing the entrenchment of the Bill of Rights through a constitutional amendment

Date Created: 2 November1959

Identifier:MG01/XIV/E/41 Volume 12

Supplementary and Consolidated Suggestions Concerning the Proposed Bill of Rights

Creator: Victor LaRochelle

Subject: Canada – Head of Government | Canada – Human Rights | Canada – Bill of Rights

Description: Victor LaRochelle sends a list of suggestions concerning the basic principles of a proposed Bill of Rights to Diefenbaker

Date Created: 12 August1958

Identifier:MG01/VI/413.1 Volume 365 (285025 – 285027)

Confidential copy of Bill C - An Act for the Recognition and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms

Creator: Queen’s Printer

Subject: Canada – Human Rights | Canada – Bill of Rights

Description: Copy of the first iteration of a proposed Canadian Bill of Rights, for first reading, House of Commons

Date Created: 28 May1958

Identifier:MG01/VI/413.1 Volume 365 (285069 – 285075)

The Bill of Rights of Wrong

Creator: Guy Kroft, The Manitoban

Subject: Canada – Head of Government | Canada – Human Rights | Canada – Bill of Rights

Description: Outlines the author’s contention that the proposed Bill of Rights would be ineffective

Date Created: 28 September1958

Identifier:MG01/VI/413.1 Volume 365 (285298)

Letter from T.C. Douglas to John Diefenbaker

Creator: T.C. Douglas

Subject: Canada – Head of Government | Canada – Human Rights | Canada – Bill of Rights | Canada – Amendment to Constitution | Saskatchewan – Premier

Description: T.C. Douglas, Premier of Saskatchewan, outlines his support for John Diefenbaker’s efforts to enact a federal declaration of Canadian civil rights; he also includes a proposed amendment to the British North America Act to protect Canadians’ fundamental rights and freedoms

Date Created: 19 January1959

Identifier:MG01/XIV/E/41 Volume 12

The PM’s Bill of Rights Freedom’s Advocate

Creator: Robert Moon, Saskatoon Star Phoenix

Subject: Canada – Head of Government | Canada – Human Rights | Canada – Bill of Rights

Description: Outlines the history of John Diefenbaker’s stance on human rights and notes that the proposed Bill of Rights legislation is a modified version of Diefenbaker’s human rights goals

Date Created: 24 May1958

Identifier:MG01/VI/413.1 Volume 365 (285089 – 285090)

Letter from Davie Fulton to John Diefenbaker

Creator: Davie Fulton

Subject: Canada – Head of Government | Canada – Human Rights | Canada – Bill of Rights | Canada – Amendment to Constitution | Canada – Minister of Justice

Description: Davie Fulton, Minister of Justice, outlines proposed changes to the bill of rights legislation based on feedback received from various sources

Date Created: 11 May1959

Identifier:MG01/XIV/E/41 Volume 12

Orders-in-Council Threaten Your Citizenship

Creator: Vancouver Consultative Council

Subject: Canada – Government | Canada – Orders-in-Council | Canada – Japanese-Canadians

Description: Examines and decries the Government of Canada’s use of Orders-in-Council and attempted use of legislative initiatives to deport Japanese Canadians and strip them of their citizenship

Date Created:1945

Identifier:MG01/III/719 Volume 59 (047074-A – 047074-D)

Our Bill of Rights

Creator: Financial Post

Subject: Canada – Head of Government | Canada – Human Rights | Canada – Bill of Rights

Description: Editorial which declares only a constitutional amendment could fully and legally establish Canadian civil rights, and that there is unlikely to be the unanimous provincial support required for such an amendment

Date Created:no date

Identifier:MG01/VI/413.1 Volume 365 (285059)

Provincial Bill of Rights Statutes – Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba

Creator: Compiled by The Social and Economic Research Committee, Canadian Jewish Congress

Subject: Canada – Human Rights | Canada – Provincial Statutes

Description: Analyses of human rights legislation of the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba

Date Created:no date

Identifier:MG01/III/29.1 Volume 2 (001162 – 001164)

Letter from Byrne Hope Sanders to John Diefenbaker

Creator: Byrne Hope Sanders

Subject: Canada – Human Rights | Canada – Parliamentarians |Canada – Opinion Polling

Description: Byrne Hope Sanders, Co-Director, Canadian Institute of Public Opinion, writes to Diefenbaker regarding the institute’s first of three news releases on its recent polling on civil liberties, which he includes

Date Created: 29 January1957

Identifier:MG01/IV/413.1 Volume 22 (15379 – 15381)

Should Canada have a Bill of Rights?

Creator: Peterborough Examiner

Subject: Canada – Human Rights | Canada – Bill of Rights | United States – Human Rights | Britain – Human Rights

Description: A selection of Peterborough-area citizens provide their views on whether Canada should have a Bill of Rights

Date Created: 17 May1958

Identifier:MG01/VI/413.1 Volume 365 (285101 – 285102)

What About the Japanese Canadians?

Creator: Howard Norman and The Consultative Council

Subject: Canada – Government | Canada – Human Rights | Canada – Japanese Canadians

Description: Criticizes various untruths used to justify mistreatment of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War; itemizes government actions taken against Japanese Canadians

Date Created: 1 May1945

Identifier:MG01/XIII/163 Volume 20