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2011-11-10.Canadian Immigration Policies During the Great Depression.doc

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York University
Social Science
SOSC 1130
Alina Marquez

2011-11-10 Canadian Immigration Policies during the Great Depression: Political Deportations Context • Political economic considerations in Canada shaped Canadian immigration policies in late 19 century and beginning of the 20h • Intimately connected with national policies • Canada needed workers to participate in labour intensive industries • Canadian government wanted agricultural settlers who raised capital in Canada through wage work • Climate of xenophobia, nativist sentiments, (social anxiety) • Nativist – defender of Canadian culture and ways o British, like British immigrants Great Depression and the Challenge to the Nation State • Collapse of economy and national market in 1920s, investors lost confidence • Resulted in massive unemployment • Two major tasks o Maintain Canada’s economic viability o To organize support for its project of nation building • Nation-building refers to the process of constructing or structuring a national identity using the power of the state. This process aims at the unification of the people within the state so that it remains politically stable and viable in the long run. Nation-building can involve the use of propaganda or major infrastructure development to foster social harmony and economic growth. o Building infrastructures in Canada, settling west, building railways o Chinatown o Building nation and unit while excluding others o Building nation in opposition to other nations o Kamagatu o Japanese o Anything excluding people is an example, trying to keep white Canada • Nation building is crucial to nation states – unifies the country creating economic and political links • Nationalism o Creates myth of common origin o Homogenizes diverse societies o Develops symbols that transcend differences • When ever there is a crisis, nation states become very fragile • Nation States = social constructions • To not fall apart, need a sense of common project and in a crisis this is more difficult • Gramsci’s concept of hegemony o More peaceful way of maintaining control (ideology over physical violence) o Involves organized consensus o Partial concealment of coercion 2011-11-10 o Creates perception that system works • Canadian response to immigration revolves around them needing to maintain control • 1920 – immigration numbers create due to business demands of cheap labour • 1925 – Railways Agreement – allow non-desirable ethnicities to enter Canada • During great depression, door begins to close for immigrants • “Repatriation” – returning to your native land o Immigrants returning voluntarily o Some cases actually returned voluntarily, but in reality most were deported but govern
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