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Lecture 20

Lecture 20: Refugees and Refugee Policy


Department
History
Course Code
HIS312H1
Professor
Ian Radforth
Lecture
20

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Lecture 20: Refugees and Refugee Policy
-from policy gap to legal commitment
-ad hoc measures
-self-serving approach: political and economic advantages to Canada
-refugees in the past
-Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany, 1930s
-Canada didn't have a real refugee policy for a long time, relied on ad hoc measures, taking action
in particular situations if advantageous, such as if had skills
-not till 1960s did Canada become focused on having an actual refugee policy
-1976, Refugee Policy written into the Immigration Act
-ON basically founded by refugees, by the Loyalists fleeing from the States, assisted by the Brit
gov't
-Jewish refugees in the 1930s, vast numbers fled, eager to come to Canada
-but Canada lacking guidelines/policies under Mackenzie King's gov't avoided taking
them in
-in the midst of the Great Depression, and with anti-Semitism across Canada,
esp. in QC
-so low-profile approach, hoped it went away, and did with the Holocaust
-DP's, displaced persons, from the UN-run camps out of WWII, 1947-1952, 65 000 ppl
-didn't want to return home, Soviet-occupied
-Canada as a safe haven
-Canada's focus was not humanitarian, but what can the refugees do for Canada
-jobs like forestry, mining, logging, heavy industry
-Cold War, disliked the Soviets
-for both political and economic reasons
-Hungarian 56'ers, refugees who fled Hungary after the revolt against the Soviets in Nov. 1956
-USSR sharply suppressed the Revolution
-200 000 ppl fled, mainly into Austria, esp. Vienna
-tremendous sympathy in Canada, seen as victims of Soviet aggression,
as allies in the Cold War
-in French-Canada, particular appeal, cause many were Roman-
Catholic, like Quebecers
-white ppl who would fit in
-small Canadian embassy in Vienna, overwhelmed, liberal gov't
was pressured to do something
-Ottawa sent over Jack Pickersgill, top-level official,
given authority to make on the spot decisions
-arranged for very quick processing of
Hungarian refugees, arranged for an airlift, a
novelty at the time, with chartered flights
-wanted professionals for Canadian eco.
-Canadians proud of the prompt response of the gov't
-many of these Hungarians contributed to the
arts and sciences in Canada
-40 000 in 1956-1957
-refugees trickled in the 1950s-1960s
-Red Chinese refugees, 1962
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