Lecture 4 – Canada’s Diasporic History I
Next Week: Read Map to the Doors of No Return
Conversation of role skin tone
Canada does diversity relatively well
According to all measures, there is not much violence in Canada due to racism. Montreal, Toronto,
Vancouver, Ottawa are relatively diverse, but there are places that are un-diverse but are still very
open to diversity compared to places such as France and United States
Brief History of Canada’s Diaspora
Up until 1960s, there were still racist immigration laws on the basis of country, birth and color.
Prior to 1960s, Asian and Blacks cannot assimilate into society
o Anyone who can fit into immigrants from British, more northern and western Europeans
can assimilate into Canada
o In 1947 of the Irish immigration because of potato famine, there were 40 sailing ships
waiting to be processed in Montreal, Quebec. They suffered their share of prejudice
because they were seen as “the other”
o Later, Canada had a very “let it be” immigration in 1970’s because there were many
o In 1859, Hong Kong had a great immigration because of the pacific railway in the west
coast. Later, it was generally agreed that it was simply impossible for the railway to be
o Sir John A. Macdonald did not agree that Chinese were able to assimilate into Canada.
The dispute over Asian immigration is an interesting dispute for Anglo-conformity.
On one hand, there was a contest of industry from railway and extending it into
mining, forestry and canning. On the other hand, the racist “nativists”
(British/European) advocated for a white British Columbia
There was first a head tax for Chinese people. In 1900, the head tax was raised
to $100. In 1907, a legislature restricted the Orientals were overturned because
the person was an industrialists.
Conservatives won the election after a riot because they believed that BC must
remain a white man’s country.
o 1923, Chinese immigration act stopped all Chinese immigration. Canada was echoing the
American immigration act. They believed that Orientals, Mongolians, and Africans
should never have allowed access because they wanted an Anglo Saxon race.
Campaign to settle the Prairies
o Black settlers from America were actively discouraged. This was during the civil war in
America. There were numerous proposals for blacks to settle in the prairies, but were all
rejected because they said that these blacks were not suitable for the climate
o Even people who were from western Europe (Ukrainians) was seen as not Canadian
because they could not assimilate into the Anglo-Saxon world of Canada.
o Political people were the ones speaking, and therefore the perception of racism is much
different from ones today because during that time it was okay
o French Canada was concerned with the balance that was shifting. The more “others”
there was meant that there would be less power for the French Canadiens.
o In early 20 century, immigration policy served the needs of the labor market. In 1907,
20% of the immigrants in Canada were from central and southern Europe. They were
understood as the hoards of foreigners. These people were not very welcomed when they
o Steven Leacock is a very well known professor of Economics and Political Science. He
was the best-known writer outside of French Canada. His argument is that eastern and
southern Europe was spitting out their inferior folks where Canada absorbed. This lessens
the blood/quality of Canada.
World War II o Dec 1938 Crerar – person in charge of refugee wanted refugees to come in. However,
they did not accept this because they believed that it would be anti-Semitic to the Jews.
Even after the war, with the truth of the concentration camp, Canada routinely
did not admit refugees because they were of a different religion. McGill had a
quota for Jewish students to be admitted into the school
o Japanese Canadians were also expelled. They were stripped of their property, and were
forced to remain there until the end of the war. After the war, they were forced to go back
o Canada briefly allowed for Hungarians to be admitted in. At the same time, Canada was
very suspicious of Eastern European refugees to go in because they thought these people
would still have communist beliefs within them.
o 1966, Tom Kent introduced a point system. This is a big step forward. Yo