In the course of history, we perceive that Canada was not that accepting of different cultures and very discriminatory.  1947 was the year that Prime Minister Mackenzie King passed the first policy of immigration after WWII. This law meant that any immigrants coming to Canada would have abandon their cultural backgrounds, and become part of the English/French-speaking country,which is like a “melting pot”, melting all cultures into one. Canada also had preferred ethnic groups in their mind which where those who looked “white”.  These included British, American, and northwestern European individuals. Canada allowed Canadian citizens to sponsor any immigrant who is ensured to be employed in agriculture, lumbering, or mining. Chinese Canadians and East Indians were allowed to sponsor relatives but were discouraged from entering Canada until the 1960s because they were Asian. Many “anti- inclusion” laws were also placed on immigrants like the Chinese, East Indians and Jews. It wasn’t until the 1960′s that the immigration policy had become less discriminatory. This shows racial and ethnic discrimination that was going on at the time.

Though even after the cabinet approved to the end of the racial selectivity, racial and ethnic discrimination still continue as a product of administrative and procedural arrangements.  We can also argue that Canada was forced into this non-racist immigration policy. Their motivation seemed to be more to cleaning up their international image than to open their country up to the visible minorities or to focus on human rights in public policies in general.

We see from written history itself that there was discrimination. In the past, historians, usually Anglophones, would often ignore the achievements and histories of Aboriginal people and non-English speaking people. The contributions of woman were not even discussed! What does this tell us about how history is recorded? Is it reliable? Some groups are highlighted, yet some are ignored. Though by recognizing these kinds of discrimination, we are able to pay more attention to those who are ignored. We also learn that about the values and attitudes of Europeans who thought they had a duty to “civilize” the world. Ideas such as these were even taught at schools and churches till the 1950s. Discrimination is seen all through Canadian history.

In this graph, “Other” refers Black people, Aboriginals, other Europeans and Asians.


Cranny, Michael William. Horizons: Canada’s Emerging Identity. 2nd ed. Don Mills, ON: aaaaaaaaPearson, 2009. Print.


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