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The Effects Of Mass Immigration On Canadian Living Standards And Society

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. The Loyalist migration was neither uncontrolled nor unassisted, however. Imperial authorities and military personnel offered supplies to the new settlers and organized the distribution of land. Despite the hardships the settlers endured, their plight was undeniably made less severe by the intervention of government agents, a practice to be repeated in Canada many times.

Throughout the midth century, the colonies — Canada West in particular — returned to a pattern of painfully slow and erratic economic growth. Officially encouraged immigration from England , Scotland and even the US gradually filled the better agricultural lands in the colony and bolstered new commercial or administrative towns. The new immigrants were generally similar to that of the established community. But the great Irish potato famine and to a lesser degree a series of abortive European rebellions in sent new waves of immigrants to North America. Of these tens of thousands, many were Irish settlers, whose arrival in Canada initiated major social and economic changes.

In many respects the Irish were Canada's first enormous wave of foreign immigrants. Although they generally spoke English, they did not mirror the social, cultural or religious values of the majority. Roman Catholic intruders in a Protestant domain, their loyalty to the Crown appeared suspect in a Canada where ardent loyalty was demanded as insurance against the threat of American republicanism.

Furthermore, after escaping a life in which farm tenancy and capricious nature made agriculture synonymous with poverty and dependency, some of the famine-stricken Irish had little or no enthusiasm for farm life see History of Agriculture. Canadian cities and larger towns quickly developed Irish sections or wards.

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The Anglo-Protestant majority measured the Irish contribution economically and the Irish deficiencies socially, religiously and racially. On the one hand, many of the Irish created a labour force ready and able to fill the seasonal employment demands of a newly expanded canal system, lumber industry and burgeoning railway network ; on the other hand, because of their low income, their Catholicism, the seasonal separation from their families and differences in their way of life, they were a visible minority group.

They filled working-class neighbourhoods and inflated majority fears of social evils previously dismissed as peculiar to the US. For some years the Irish supplied the base of a working-class labour force necessary for the slow advance of communication , commerce and industry. But they remained an adjunct to, rather than a central component of, mainstream North American economic and social life — the basis of which was commerce and agricultural activity.

Gradual commercial and industrial development usually serviced the agricultural sector, and, because many Irish were not farmers, Irish labourers were consequently seen as rootless. If agricultural roots and commitment were measured, in part, by land tenure, Canada underwent a shock when arable land began to disappear from the market. Without a large industrial base, with a relatively low death rate, a high birthrate and a small but continual inflow of immigration largely from the British Isles, the immediate post- Confederation era had its overpopulation problems see Population.

The US, with its seemingly boundless supply of free, fertile land, attracted thousands of new immigrants and Anglo-Canadians, while French Canadians were drawn to jobs in the factories of New England see Franco-Americans. In the late 19th century, Canada's future Prairie provinces were opened to settlement, although it was not until a market developed for the prairie agricultural output that serious settlement began. The demand for farm goods, especially hard wheat, coincided with the election of Wilfrid Laurier 's government, which immediately encouraged the settlement of the West with large-scale immigration.

Canada's new and aggressive minister of the interior, Clifford Sifton , organized a revamped and far-reaching program and was prepared, if reluctantly, to admit agricultural settlers from places other than the British Isles, Northern Europe and the US, explaining, "A stalwart peasant in a sheepskin coat, born on the soil, whose forefathers have been farmers for ten generations, and a stout wife and a half-dozen children is good quality. The Sifton comment, however, no matter how often repeated, is not an accurate reflection of government policy. From to the s, Canadians, their politicians and immigration officials were not receptive to peasants in sheepskin coats.

Immigration policy did not involve just an aggressive peopling of the Prairies. It was enacted within the framework of the British Empire, in which Sifton, the Canadian government and most English-speaking Canadians believed.

The Effects of Mass Immigration on Canadian Liv – Relations industrielles – Érudit

For English-speaking Canadians the traditional definition of ideal immigrants may have been modified but was not radically altered. Unabashedly colonial, the government defined immigrants who did not originate from the British Isles as foreign; and, unabashedly North American, excluded white, English-speaking immigrants from the US from this category.

The ideal immigrants were still British or American independent farmers who would settle in the West. Sifton and the government may only have reflected their times, but Canadian immigration policy and public opinion were nevertheless racist see Racism. Pressed to increase immigration by business and railway interests with visions of an insatiable world demand for Canadian resources, Sifton and his immigration authorities balanced their ethnic anxieties against a frantic search for settlers. They listed ideal settlers in a descending preference. Close to the bottom of the list came those who were, in both the public and the government's minds, less assimilable and less desirable, e.

At the very bottom came Jews , Asians, Roma people and Black persons. Ottawa, however, did not have the only voice when it came to immigration. The British North America Act also gave the provinces a voice in immigration if they chose to run it. In co-operation with federal authorities, immigration agents were sent into New England to encourage French Canadians to return home to recently opened and marginal agricultural lands.

In spite of government precautions, not all immigrants committed themselves to resource exploitation or agriculture. Like the Irish before them, many of the "foreign" immigrants, non-English speaking and largely non-Protestant, rejected a life of rural isolation, choosing to work in cities. Furthermore, many of these foreigners saw themselves as living in Canada or North America only temporarily, earning enough money to buy a piece of land at home, to assemble a dowry for a sister, or to pay off a family debt.

However, the many who adopted North American definitions of success or who were unable to return home because of political upheavals established themselves in Canada, bringing wives and children to join them. Macedonians , Russians, Finns, Chinese , etc. They had been allowed into Canada to satisfy the need for a cheap labour force or a pool of skilled craftsmen adaptable to factory and construction work. They were prepared to accept seasonal labour in mining or lumbering which forced them to drift back into cities during the off-season , but for many Canadians the sudden influx of strange peoples so recently subject to foreign czars, kaisers and gods seemed to threaten the very fabric of Protestant Canadian society.

Some Canadians responded with a dignified tolerance. They recognized that these foreigners were here to stay, that their labour and skills were necessary, their living conditions subject to improvement and, perhaps most important, that their children would become integrated, given education and time. But in spite of the vital economic role these immigrants played in urban centres — laying streetcar tracks, labouring in the expanding textile factories and digging the sewer systems — many Canadians demanded strict enforcement of immigration regulations and restriction of admission along ethnic or racial lines.

During the First World War , anti-German hysteria erupted in Canada, directed largely against immigrants born in the now enemy countries or those who entered Canada as subjects of enemy monarchs, but also against foreigners who had been born in now allied countries or had come to Canada as subjects of allied monarchs. Despite Canadian military manpower needs, British and Canadian authorities alike felt that, where possible, foreigners belonged in foreign armies.

Dimensionalizing Immigration: Numbers of Immigrants around the World

Groups such as Italians, Serbians , Poles and some Jews were encouraged to return to the armies of their mother country or were recruited into specific British army units reserved for allied foreigners of various origins. Without national armies of their own to join, many Jews, Macedonians and Ukrainians volunteered for the Canadian Army.


In almost East Indians aboard the immigrant ship Komagata Maru languished in Vancouver harbour while Canadian authorities debated what to do with them. Canada's new navy, in action for the first time, escorted the ship from Canadian waters while many Vancouver residents cheered approvingly from shore. In and , rumours had spread that a group of Blacks was preparing to migrate to central Alberta. Descendants of freed slaves, they were being pushed from their land in Oklahoma territory, where they had been granted holdings and hoped to build new lives. Public and political response in Alberta was immediate and predictable.

Federal authorities initiated an ingeniously simple scheme. Nothing in the Immigration Act specifically barred Black Americans, but any immigrant could effectively be denied access to Canada for health reasons under the Act's medical provisions. The government merely instructed immigration inspectors and their medical aides along the American border to reject all Blacks as unfit for admission on medical grounds.

There was no appeal. Blacks were warned they should not waste their time and money by considering immigration to Canada. As a result of the dramatic and devastating economic collapse caused by the Great Depression , the need for the government's selective encouragement of immigration faded. Immigration authorities worked not to stimulate admissions but to prevent them. By Hitler ruled Germany, and millions of political opponents and Jews might have survived if Canada or other countries had offered innocent victims a home. Although many Canadians responded to the refugees with a mixture of sympathy for their desperate plight and embarrassment at the lack of government aid, others, including the federal Cabinet, many in the diplomatic corps, and immigration policymakers, reacted with alarm to any pressure to accept Jews or political refugees escaping Germany.

As a result, few refugees were able to get around Canadian immigration restrictions. At war's end in , Canadian immigration regulations remained unchanged from the restrictive pre-war years. Yet change was not long in coming. Driven by a postwar economic boom, growing job market and a resulting demand for labour, Canada gradually re-opened its doors to European immigration, first to immigrants Canada traditionally preferred — those from the United Kingdom and Western Europe — but eventually to the rest of Europe as well.

With the onset of the Cold War, however, immigration from Eastern Europe came to a halt. Borders to the west were closed by the Soviet Union and its allies. There is no consensus on the net impact of immigration to government finances. Newcomers are also less likely to make use of many social services. Immigrants are less likely than native Canadians to receive employment insurance , social assistance , and subsidized housing.

In The presence within Canada of people representative of many different cultures and nations has also been an important boost to Canada's international trade. Immigrants will often have expertise, linguistic skills, personal connections with their country of origin that can help forge international trade ties. Studies have found that Canada does have greater trade relations with those nations that have provided large numbers of immigrants.

This has been good for the source countries of immigrants to Canada. For many years, expanded markets for trade has been a common rationale and justification for high immigration from the developing world. Data from Statistics Canada in reveals [59] that the trade balances with developing countries from which Canada receives most of its immigrants ameliorates.

Current data, , shows that only India has balanced trade with Canada:. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Overview for Canada. Honorary citizenship Commonwealth citizen. Canadians Population by year Ethnic origins. Main article: Immigration to Canada.

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    The Effects of Mass Immigration on Canadian Living Standards and Society

    Toronto, Ont. CTV News. Retrieved 10 July The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 29 March Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

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    Archived from the original on 12 August Retrieved 2 July Retrieved 5 August Retrieved 31 July Don J. DeVoretz, Policy Study 24 C. Kate Hammer. Archived from the original on 1 August Retrieved 22 May