Allowing people from one country to move to another for the purpose of resettlement has consistently been central to Canadian history since ancient times. The story of Canadian immigration to this vast and vast country is not only part of orderly population growth, but also related to economic development as well as Canada’s overall progress. Currently, Canada is committed to contributing to a multicultural society and has seen truly fruitful progress. But immigration in the past has often been shamefully racially or racially discriminatory. The very sad fact is that on one hand, settlers from different countries have been brought by immigration, on the other hand, they have not hesitated to evict the indigenous people from their ancestral land for a long time, as a result, many sad stories can be found on opening the pages of history.
First, France sent some settlers from Paris to colonize the eastern part of Canada, Quebec, who settled in a colony called New France. In addition to the military, there were regular arrivals of people with specific skills, such as agriculture, medicine makers or workers. The subsequent French government named Quebec in 1608 and Montreal in 1642 as New France and sought to increase the population and establish strong colonies.
French colonial authorities carefully and slowly encouraged the expansion of settlement in Canada and achieved considerable prosperity. However, after the British conquest, New France was ceded to Great Britain in 1763 and became a British colony. The British hoped that settlers would guarantee sovereignty over colonial lands and dominate natural resources, favoring European investors. They also tried to convince the settlers to convert the natives to Christianity. Settlements grew slowly but not without crisis. At the time of the British conquest, New France had a population of about 65,000. In Nova Scotia, a transplanted Scottish community was supplemented by German and Swiss settlers. In the late 1700s, Irish settlers bolstered Newfoundland’s population.
Immigration from France was restricted after the British conquest, but they were not immediately able to bring in large numbers of English-speaking immigrants.
Loyalist Immigrants: (1800-1900)
In the mid-eighteenth century, 13 North American provinces broke away from British rule in a bloody uprising to form the United States of America, known in history as the American Revolution.
The new British ruler of Quebec was then forced to immigrate to Canada to thousands of English-speaking and mainly Protestant settlers displaced by the American Revolution. People identified as loyal to the British Empire were essentially political refugees. Many of them migrated to Canada’s north not by choice, but by force. Because many did not want to become citizens of the new American republic or feared reprisals for supporting the British. Canada was a country of second choice for these loyalists. It became a permanent headache for countless would-be immigrants who were unwelcome at home, even restricted from entering the United States.
These loyal immigrants were supported by the Canadian authorities, who provided all kinds of aid and supplies to these new settlers and even organized the distribution of land among them. Although the new settlers had to face many hardships, their plight was alleviated by the intervention of British government agents.
Many black loyalists also left the United States for British North American Canada. But despite siding with the British during the American War of Independence, black loyalists faced racial hostility and considerable inequality in Canada as well. Despite this, blacks built strong communities through persistence and hard work, especially in towns like Shelburne and Birchtown, Nova Scotia.
Irish Immigration (19th Century):
By the middle of the 19th century, the colonies, especially the Canadian West, were suffering from economic instability and depression. Officially, immigration was encouraged from Britain and even the United States, to fill the developed agricultural lands of the Canadian colonies and to fortify new commercial and administrative cities. New immigrants usually set out in coordination with established communities. The notable Irish Potato Famine and a growing European rebellion from 1814 led to many new Irish immigrants to Canada. Many of the approximately ten thousand immigrants who arrived during this period were Irish whose arrival in Canada ushered in major social and economic changes. In many respects, the Irish were the first large group of immigrants to Canada after the English and French. Although the Irish generally speak English, they are socially, culturally or religiously Anglo-Canadians
They did not accept the reflection of values among themselves. They formed a Roman Catholic minority community in the predominantly Protestant Canadian West. Irish Catholics, however, had little contact with French Canadians, sharing their religious beliefs but not adopting their French language. Although many of these Irish immigrants showed loyalty to the British Crown, they were viewed with some suspicion.
Many of the Irish came to Canada with no enthusiasm for farming. Instead, more were interested in seasonal work in the newly expanded river system, the lumber industry, and the expanding railway network. They formed a distinct Irish social presence in major Canadian cities, with their distinct ethnic and religious identities, in addition to being socio-economic pioneers.
Demand for farm products in Canada, particularly wheat, encouraged large-scale immigration to the western provinces after the election of Wilfrid Laurier’s government. The new Home Secretary, Clifford Sifton, organized a reformed and far-reaching immigration program. He even made special legal arrangements to allow the immigration of agricultural settlers from places other than the British Isles, Northern Europe, and the United States. The Canadian government favored white English-speaking immigrants from within the British Empire and from the United States. At the same time, non-white immigrants were not allowed to enter for racist reasons. The ideal immigrants were British or American independent farmers who wanted to settle in the Canadian West.
Commercial and railway interests, meanwhile, sought to balance racial concerns with the need to increase immigration. Adarsh also made a preferred list of settlers. British and American agriculturalists were followed by French, Belgians, Dutch, Scandinavians, Swiss, Finns, Russians, Austro-Hungarians, Germans, Ukrainians, and Poles. At the very bottom of the list were Jews, Asians and blacks.
Despite government warnings, many immigrants did not participate as the Irish did in dominating farmland and committing themselves to agriculture. Many non-English-speaking and largely non-Protestant immigrants rejected rural isolation, opting for urban work. Those who adopted the North American definition of success or who could not return home due to political upheavals established themselves in Canada. When possible, they brought their wives and children to join them.
During this time, more diverse immigrants began immigrating to Canada, including Macedonian, Russian, and Chinese populations. Many of these new immigrants immigrated to Canada to meet the need for cheap labor or because skilled workers were needed for factory and construction jobs. Some worked in mining or lumbering, while others, like the Chinese, helped finish the Canadian Pacific Railway. Many settled in major cities such as Montreal, Winnipeg, Toronto, Hamilton and Vancouver. However, these migrants also lived amid ethnic and religious anxieties.
The arrival of immigrants from vastly different cultural backgrounds was particularly marked by racist hostility from Canadians. On the other hand, many Canadians reacted with dignified tolerance. They recognized that these foreigners were here to stay, that their labor and skills were essential to Canada, and that Canadians must see their living conditions improve. Immigrants played an important economic role in urban centers, working to lay streetcar tracks, labor in expanding textile factories, and dig sewer systems. Still, many Canadians demanded tighter controls on immigration by race.
Immigration and Racism:
Canadian immigration policy and administration allowed immigrants to come to Canada while also taking responsibility for their economic needs. However, this was only done willingly or unwillingly, but soon established restrictive or immigration control policies, if not stopping immigration along ethnic lines.
Chinese immigration was particularly notable, with measures such as personal taxes for the Chinese, landing taxes, bilateral embargo agreements and travel bans effectively banning Chinese immigration to Canada.
Canadian authorities refused to allow female Chinese immigrants to settle. The government feared that allowing Chinese women to immigrate would encourage Chinese men who would come to Canada temporarily as railway or mining workers to settle permanently. There was a far-reaching widespread racist fear that was believed to threaten the moral fabric of Canadian society at the time.
Ignore Indian Immigration:
In 1914, the Japanese ship Komagata Maru arrived at the port of Vancouver with about 400 Indian passengers (interested in immigrating to Canada) and Canadian authorities ordered them back. Despite the fact that the Indians were then subjects of the British Empire, the passengers asked to be turned back due to Canada’s racist restrictions on South Asian immigration.
Canada’s new navy, for the first time in an inhumane act, escorted the ship back from Canadian waters, without providing any food or drinking water. While many Vancouver residents cheered this approval from the coast. Later the ship was forced to go to the port of Calcutta, India, but many passengers died en route, and the British police in Calcutta even boarded the ship and harassed the passengers.
Anti-German hysteria was rampant in Canada during World War I. This xenophobic hostility was directed mainly against those associated with enemy countries. However, foreigners with ties to countries allied with Canada were also targeted.
As a result of the devastating economic collapse caused by the Great Depression following World War II, the government’s approach to immigration hardened. Immigration authorities were active in preventing immigration to Canada. By 1933, Hitler ruled Germany, and millions of Jews were spared when Canada or other countries accepted offers to house innocent Jews. Many Canadians, however, were in dire straits for lack of adequate government aid. Yet Jews fleeing Germany or political refugees were able to immigrate to Canada despite Canadian immigration restrictions.