Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

1st Session, 39th Parliament,
Volume 143, Issue 45

Thursday, November 2, 2006
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker

Question:

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: I wish to thank the Honourable Senator Murray for his eloquent speech.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: The time for Senator Murray has expired. Is the honourable senator asking for more time?

Senator Murray: Yes.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: You have five minutes. You may proceed with your question, Senator Jaffer.

Senator Murray: It is not clear to me whether Senator Jaffer wishes to intervene in the debate or whether she is asking a question.

Senator Jaffer: Honourable senators, I am asking a question.

Of course, I did not have the pleasure of knowing Mr. Green so I am keeping my ears open as to what my colleagues say about him. However, I also want to share with honourable senators the pain that my community, a substantial community in British Columbia, feels about the discrimination that existed at that time. I can tell honourable senators that when Prime Minister Mulroney heard the pain and gave redress, there was much healing in my community; so there is the challenge that my community will feel pain when they see this building. I share with you that there is still pain on this issue.

However, I want to ask Senator Murray, given that I regard him to be a statesman in this house, whether he thinks we have learned any lessons from that period, where there was feeling against the Japanese. I believe we are facing some of the same challenges at this time against a certain community. Can the honourable senator share some of the lessons we have learned from that period?

Senator Murray: Senator, with regard to the first point, I do not think, as I suggested and Senator Segal suggested, that it is at all fair to single out one person who happened to be a member of Parliament and supported the position of the government at the time when there were so many others, and when, as Senator Downe has said, it is hardly appropriate or useful to judge these people on the basis of what I hope are our standards today.

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More important, in regard to the second question Senator Jaffer asked as to whether we have learned, sometimes I wonder what we have learned and whether we have learned much. That being said, the fact of the matter is that in today’s climate, there is less chance of hysteria taking over than there was. In the event that it does, we have legal safeguards that were not present in those days. God forgive me, I never thought I would say a word in their defence, but we do have a much more independent and alert media.

 

 

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