SOSC 1130 Study Guide - Immigration, Chain Migration, Antisemitism

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Published on 25 Nov 2012
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1925 railway act – September 27th 2012 (Creating Canada: national policies, class
inequalities and labour migration [course reading]) & November 8th 2012 (the great
depression, social inequalities, national security and migration [lecture notes])
The railway act was an agreement between Canadian government and the two
transcontinental railways. It allowed the cpr and the cnr to recruit immigrants
marked as undesirables into Canada for the purpose of working on the construction
of railways in the undeveloped regions of western Canada.
Significance of various social groups in shaping immigration policies (Avery);
provide examples – September 27th 2012 (Creating Canada: national policies, class
inequalities and labour migration [course reading]) &
Throughout the readings Canada’s immigration policies changed many times with
the influence of various social groups. Social groups such as 1) nativist 2) business
group 3) government. Policies were often changed to benefit which ever group was
petitioning at time. Business group wanted cheap labour which meant undesirables.
Government wanted agricultural workers. Nativists were just concerned with
preserving Canadian culture, keeping it pure.
Canada as reluctant hostNovember 8th 2012 (the great depression, social
inequalities, national security and migration [course readings]) & November 15th
2012 (Canada and European displaced persons [lecture notes])
At the start of the great depression immigration ceased because of the fear of
communism. Unemployment was also rampant and so immigrants were deported
under the crime of vagrancy. During the reign of Hitler Canada was reluctant to
offer asylum to the Jews. They only took in refugee scientist since they could help
build Canada. Some of the reasons offered as to why Canada rejected the Jews
were: lack of absorptive capacity, anti Semitism, lack of policy frame work.
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European immigrant workers and labour protest in peace and war
1896-1919
The English speaking Canada required cheap unskilled labour for both
the agricultural and industrial industry and looked only to Great Britain and
to north-western Europe as opposed to the open door policy that America
had. Canada took this stance because they believed that the different
cultures which entered America will eventually cause some form of dispute,
so they preferred immigrants from nations with whom there were cultural
similarities
However, immigrants from other parts migrated to Canada and caused
a disruption in the vision that Canada had due to the employment
opportunities Canada had. They worked for extremely low wages that the
ordinary Canadian cannot survive on and where they resided was branded as
the breeding grounds for crime.
Most of the European emigrants came to Canada to escape the
agrarian society in which they lived. The undesired immigrants who returned
to their homeland created a form of chain migration by providing information
about the economic stance in North America. Migration to Canada was
encouraged with pre paid tickets and arranged jobs for the migrants from
southern and eastern European. Both British and European immigrants were
clearly identified due to the cultural difference but the British were treated as
equals because their culture shared similarities with Canada’s and they were
the basis for the formation of trade unions. Italian immigrants were
generally exploited socially and economically. This happened because they
lacked pre migration experience and their concentration in Canada was few.
The Jewish immigrants were in abundance in Canada and were able to set
up trade unions on their behalf and obtain leadership in political forums. The
male immigrants formed a bond that allowed causing the overall
concentration to look bigger as opposed to separate groups. This allowed
them to challenge authority. In 1914 the industrial workers of the world was
formed branding all European immigrants as one. They were no longer seen
by their ethnicity or origin but as wage workers. The iww didn’t last however
because they failed to organise unskilled labour in the 1912 strike.
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When the war of 1914 was on the fore front, the Canadian government
detained, deported and arrested those immigrants who from the enemy
lands. Because in the war a large majority of these immigrants found
themselves unemployed under the grounds of said patriotism from their
employees. An agreement was made that all naturalized married enemy
immigrants were retained, naturalized unmarried immigrants were promised
work and the remainder were interned. This unemployment caused Canada
to look to America for labour and they even decreased the money
qualifications for the immigration act. With the entrance of Americans into
the war Canada had to seek other labour mostly from Asia and the west
indies but the dominion government rejected the idea and so the immigrant
workers began to look desirable. The non dangerous ones were released on
contract to cope with the labour shortage and to cut the cost of running
intern camps.
In early 1919 petitions were signed requesting that hostile immigrants
be deported, however this did not fall through because it will put a strain on
the transportation system at the same that Canadian troops were returning
from Europe. When the troops returned there was a need to find
employment for them and with that immigrant workers were left jobless or
in some cases returned to their old jobs of working the land. Tension
between the returned soldiers and the immigrants rose and the immigrants
were often attacked. The soldiers were not reprimanded and justice for
immigrants was not sought. The response to these attacks was the issue of
registration cards, and without them the immigrants could not work and
deportation followed. To increase the number of deportees, it was said that
the immigrants were armed with machine guns. The strike of 1919 divided
the country into two groups, the citizens committee which comprised of the
Canadian business men and professionals and on the other, the central
strike committee. Raids were carried out across the country on the homes
of agitators and the offices of radical organisations and they were secretly
deported.
Ambiguous decisions of the Government , pressure of Government on
immigration workers make the class and ethnicity become linked for a
common goal of labour protest. Immigration protest were not acknowledged,
while protest against them were recognized.
Longshoremen’s strike of 1923-1935
Canadian labour saw European resistance and strikes as an indication
of incivility and danger brought by semi-civilized immigration.
Gender and labour protest
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