Chinese Immigrants In Canada

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Throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries the Canadian government developed several racist and discriminatory policies to contest the settlement of Chinese immigrants in Canada. Following the government’s reaction to Chinese immigrants, a Canadian moral panic evolved. In particular, Chinese immigrants faced extreme prejudice socially, physically, and morally. The first Canadian Prime Minister, John A. MacDonald (1867–1873, 1878–1891) had a vision for the ideal “white” European dominant Canada, and his successors continued with this Aryan vision. MacDonald’s initial discriminatory policies would be followed by and continued by Prime Minister Wilfred Laurier (1896-1911) and Prime Minister Lyon Mackenzie King’s (1921-1926, 1926-1930,…show more content…
They depicted the Chinese as the embodiment of the lower class and a menace to society. The Canadian labour leaders argued that the Chinese were stealing jobs. Furthermore, the labour leaders suggested “Chinese standards were not a result of low wages but a cause of them ”. In other words, the appalling conditions Chinese workers were exposed to, was viewed as a reflection of the immorality that was engrained in their way of life. Canadians therefore, needed to be protected from the corrupt toxicity of the Chinese. The Chinese were sojourning in Canada, which contributed to the view that they were mere visitors to Canada and not true citizens. Sojourning was interpreted as being entrenched in Chinese culture, and was seen as consciously refusing Canadian ideology . Particularly, Canadians viewed Chinese migrants as mere parasitic consumers taking money out of the economy and reprehensibly giving it to China . Canadian labour leaders were instrumental in pressuring the federal government to enact anti-Chinese immigration to protect white labour. White Canadians believed the Chinese would ruin Canada financially. Thus, MacDonald sympathized with Canadian labour leaders and politicians. In 1885 upon the completion of the national railway the Chinese Head Tax was…show more content…
The foundation of the legislation was to impede and discourage the entry of new Chinese immigrants into Canada. Therefore, the process of racialization or what John A. Macdonald termed “biological racism” commenced . Anyone entering Canada could be questioned, confined, or refused entry based on color of skin, or other Chinese physical characteristics. Importantly, the definition of Canadian was now defined on racial terms. Canadians from coast to coast agreed the Chinese could never be equivalent to them, therefore large numbers of immigrants were not welcome

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