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Lecture 15

Lecture 15: Postwar Immigration Policies, 1946-1957

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Ian Radforth

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Nov. 23, 2010
Lecture 15: Postwar Immigration Policies, 1946-1957
-victory and uncertainty
-the economy
-the Cold War
-Mackenzie King's House of Commons statement, 1947
-wait and see
-absorptive capacity
-"so great a heritage as ours"
-Canadians pleased with the end of WWII, end of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan
-happy soldiers returning home
-life would be back to "normal"
-though some uncertainty
-what about the economy?
-back to the Great Depression? now that the war was over
-very soon the Cold War started
-USSR vs. US
-Communism vs. liberal democracy
-didn't think immigration would start till economy better
-steps taken to screen out Commies, from new immigrants
-PM Mackenzie King, 1947
-been around since 1908, to keep out the Japanese
-wait and see what happens to the economy, then open the doors
-the capacity of the Canadian economy to absorb the immigrants
-enough jobs, work, not a threat in the job market
-the "absorptive capacity" of Canada
-but wouldn't change the fundamental ethnic policy
-to keep the ethnic makeup the same as it had ever been
-with "so great a heritage as ours"
-Brits, French
-so no Asians, in sig. numbers
-cautionary, tentative policy
-Canada enjoyed a period of a good economy, prosperity
-an immigration surge, 1950-1960
-mounting pressure to open the door
-external Euro pressure
-serious eco troubles cause of WWII
-in Great Britain, austerity, rationing, weak economy
-lots of rural poverty
-refugees in temp. camps in western Euro
-didn't want to return to their homelands, occupied by the Soviets
-Jewish refugees from the Holocaust
-Euro gov't eager to have ppl to leave as well
-like Italy, Greece, Portugual
-internal Canadian pressure
-had families in Euro, wanted a brighter future for them
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-wanted a sponsorship system
-backlog of pressure since the 1930s-1940s
-lobbies, groups to help the refugees
-humanitarian obligation to help these ppl, provide homes for some
-like the Canadian National Committee for Refugees, an
umbrella group in Ottawa
-large-scale employers
-don't have enough workers, esp. in heavy industry (esp. in forestry,
mining, small-scale farmers wanted farmhands)
-mid-class Canadian women
-org. to demand domestic service, not enough Canadian girls to work as
nannies, servants
-opened the door slowly, as the eco. seemed good, let more open
-opening the door to:
-war brides and their kids, 1945-1947: 48 000
-first group to get in
-women who had met Canadian soldiers overseas, mainly in Great Britain and
Holland, and gotten married to them
-overseen by Canadian gov't, and paid for as well
-given much assistance, for health and safety
-at the peak, 20 000 trainloads leaving Halifax a day
-mostly young women, the press loved them
-celebratory mood
-Dutch farm families, 1947: 15 000
-second group, in 1947
-the Canadian army had been very involved in the liberation of devastated
Holland, yrs of hardship and near starvation, esp, at the end
-the water dikes, that kept the water back, had flooded the farms
-so Canada very attractive
-ppl had become familiar with them, with the soldiers
-Canada happy to have white farmers
-Polish veterans
-4500 on contract with Canadian farmers
-individual arrangements worked out in England, bound them to a
particular farmer for a 2-yr term, after which they were free as
landed immigrants, free to pursue citizenship and then sponsor families
-a success, pleased the farmers they worked for, became a model system
for the displaced persons, "DPs," later on
-when the Germans occupied Poland at the beginning of the war, many soldiers
fled west to England
-reformed a military body, and fought alongside the Allies against the
-Poles were allies, and they didn't want to live under USSR rule
-and Britain wanted them out of the UK
-also offered to pay the transport
-one of the last ex. of subsidized immigration from Britain
-displaced persons, "DPs"
-one million waiting UN-run camps
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