GENDER, RACE AND IMMIGRATION (PART 2)
The development of Canadian citizenship and naturalisation laws reflect the legacy of British
legal tradition of the subject, British imperial policies and the imperatives of a white settler
—Enkashi (Ena) Dua
1. Segue From Aboriginal Peoples to Immigration: Welcome letter from Jason Kenney, 2011 (then-
Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism)
a) It’s a widely held belief that Canada values immigrants, however the lived experience of
immigrants contrasts this belief.
2. Immigration and the Social/Legal Construction of “White Canada”
a. British North America (BNA) Act (1867)
• A citizen was “a male British subject aged 21+ being a householder”
A man who was born in Canada or Britain was a Canadian Citizen.
• Who is a desired immigrant and how is not
• White, British and French and demand for labor: desired immigrants
• Canada is a white nation: in theory 1960’s we had no longer had any explicit
racist immigration laws.
• Immigration as an employment strategy
• Canadian birth rate has always been too low to fulfill the demands of the
Canadian labor market. So if we are not producing enough people how will we
fulfill these spots? IMMIGRATION. Immigrants also fulfill jobs that Canadians
doesn’t want. And they will work in conditions that Canadian would not want to
b. Naturalisation Act (1881)
• Stipulated who was and who was not qualified for citizenship
• Elaborated on the previous BNAAct. Said everything the BNA act said but
added that disabled British people were not citizens
• What does disabled mean? “Status of being an infant, lunatic, idiot or married
woman” A WOMAN WHO WAS MARRIED? WTF
c. Chinese Immigration Act (aka “Chinese head tax”) (1885)
• Chinese men started to arrive in Canada in the later half of 1800’s
• Many of these men hoped to make their fortune in the Gold Mining industry.
However when this industry went down, they were all repositioned to CPR
(Canadian pacific Railway). They were treated poorly, wages were very poor
(half of what the white male workers were paid) and hundreds of them died as a
result of their working conditions. If there were a dangerous thing, they would
send in a Chinese man instead of a white man (dynamite etc.). When the CPR
was completed, the chines men that survived, they could not find any other
work and many racist organizations were formed Asiatic Exclusion League.
There was a lot of pressure on the government to cut down Chinese
• Head Tax: very difficult to immigrate to Canada. Originally it was 50$ *lots of
money in 1885 and then rose to 100$ in the 1900 and in 1903 it was 500$) This
made it very hard for Chinese men to immigrate, let alone bringing over
families, wives. 1923: some Chinese people were still able to come to Canada
so the government was like “Okay never mind, no more Chinese people
allowed in Canada” d. Chinese Exclusion Act (1923)
e. “Gentlemen’s Agreement” (1907)
• Canadian Government and Japanese Government
• Pearl Harbor: after this, there was a lot of racism and put into interment camps.
These Japanese people around 80% were Canadian Citizens. David Suzuki
was a survivor of the internment camps even though he was 3 generation
f. Continuous Journey Stipulation (1908)
• At this point Canada was still part of the British Empire
• Canadian government was in a weird position because they could not
completely abolish Indian immigrants to Canada cause that would piss Britain
off. So they were sneaky about it, they said if you want to come to Canada, you
would have to do a continuous journey to get here. From point A to point B
alone. No stops overnight, no switching boats etc. Literally, a Continuous,
g. Gurdit Singh and the Komagata Maru (1914)
Film clip: “………..White Canada Forever,” Continuous Journey (Canada, 2004)
• Singh got a huge boat and brought over 300 Indians. However upon arrival, the
ship and everyone on it was denied entry.
• He was attempting to challenge the law by doing this and bringing over 300
• Malcolm Reid: Canada’s west Coast Gatekeeper: hold enormous power. Reid
and Singh start to get into an argument. Singh challenges Reid.
• H.H Stevens: was against immigration. Said bad things about Hindus. He was
a member of conservative parliament.
• Song “White Canada Forever”
• The boat was sent back and sent to Bangladesh
h. “Voyage of the Damned” (1939)
• Holocaust time.
• Frederick Charles Blair: in charge of enforcing immigration policy, specifically
banning Jewish people.
• SS St. Louis: 907 Jewish refugees denied entry from several countries. Last
stop was Canada, and they were denied, and were sent back to Europe and
many died as a result of the Gas Chambers
i. Japanese internment during WW II
2. Contemporary “Points System” and Supposed