Immigrant Workers in Canadian History

In: Miscellaneous

Submitted By rgrany
Words 3351
Pages 14

Canadian labour history is tainted by hatred, discrimination and fear of immigrant workers and immigration. This stems in part from Government sponsored racism and the capitalistic use of immigration as a means to defy the labour movement. We can start with the stereotyping and discrimination of the Irish in the 1840’s, our first large scale exploitable labour pool and move right through to today’s racial profiling and cultural unacceptance of Arabs and east Indians. Through our history the acceptance of immigrants gradually improve but even today we haven’t achieved an acceptable level of tolerance. Were not perfect but we eventually seem to learn from the mistakes of our past. After Mackenzie King and into the sixties government supported racism through our immigration department seemed on the decline. With the 1982 Charter of Rights and Freedoms Act being signed into the constitution we took a huge leap forward. However, this doesn’t erase a past full of discrimination and exploitation of immigrants by government, employers and labour. In Canadian history immigrant workers have been racially stereotyped, discriminated against and subjected to differing levels of acceptance within Canadian culture and the working class society. Immigrant workers found themselves in varying levels of distress upon arrival to Canada, being exploited by employers, shunned by labour and oppressed as second class citizens by government. This may be considered a product of the times but the slow, gradual change to tolerance is unacceptable, and not the image Canada wants to project to the rest of the world. The exploitation of immigrants started long before the first industrial revolution but when land became less accessible around the early to mid 1800s a pool of labour began to appear. In the 1830s and 1840s Irish immigrants fleeing…...

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