Potato was the main crop & staple of the Irish diet
Mid 1840s “potato blight” spread to Ireland & destroyed the crops
Famine set in killing approx. 1 million Irish between 1847-51
In 1847 over 90,000 emigrated to BNA
The Voyage Out
Immigrants arrived at Halifax, St. John, & Quebec
Cargo ships were used to bring the immigrants from Britain to earn extra profits
Cramped conditions, disease, little food, sea sickness, death
Post- Confederation 1880-1914
Aggressive recruiting of immigrants from around the world from China to the Ukraine expanded Canada west.
Also called the Sifton Migration after Clifford Sifton, Minister of the Interior from 1896 to 1905
Clifford Sifton Overview
In the years preceding his appointment many of those homesteading on the prairies had been overwhelmed by the rigours of prairie life, and had packed up and moved to the United States.
Sifton set out to reverse that trend.
Once American immigrants began to move into the west Sifton shifted the focus of the government’s immigration policy to eastern Europe.
Many Canadians were horrified by the influx of Poles, Russians and Ukrainians. One newspaper even referred to Sifton’s immigration policy as a round “of European Freaks and Hobboes.”
Despite this and other criticisms, the campaign was an outstanding success and the number of immigrants entering Canada rose from:
16,835 in 1896 to
141,465 in 1905.
The Last Best West
In 1896, Sir Clifford Sifton became Canada‘s new minister responsible for immigration.
Sifton increased immigration by:
embarking on an extensive promotional campaign, featuring the slogan "Canada: The Last Best West."
reorganizing the immigration department to give it more power in setting immigration policy;
increasing the number of immigration agents and support personnel aboard; freeing up unused land owned by the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) and the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR); offering "free" land to settlers
Sifton's new immigration policy eventually eliminated any threat of American annexation in Canada's West.
However, it would further marginalized French-speaking people in Québec, some of whom felt this policy was excluding them from settling on the Prairies.
Despite general attempts to get people to settle in rural areas in Canada's West, about 50 per cent of people actually settled in Canadian cities where they took labour industry jobs
Including Winnipeg, Edmonton, Montréal and Toronto
Another 30 per cent went to rural farms in the Prairies and
The remaining 20 per cent or so took remote jobs in mines, lumber camps or on the railways.
By 1903, the Chinese head tax was increased to $500 per person to eliminate Chinese immigration.
This fee was roughly equivalent to two years worth of wages for a Chinese labourer living in Canada at the time.
However, some employers in the railway industry needed cheap labour, and were willing to pay this fee for adult men.
That meant that Chinese immigration wasn't eliminated altogether, but that Chinese women and children didn't get the opportunity to join their husbands and fathers.
This created a Chinese bachelor society in Canada.
Anti-Asian Vancouver Riot 1907
In September 1907, there was a serious riot against Asian businesses in downtown Vancouver that was started by members of the racist Asiatic Exclusion League.
A mob of about 9,000 white people riled up by the Asiatic Exclusion League descended upon Oriental businesses in downtown Vancouver, smashing windows and destroying signs. Later that year, a federal government inquiry was held to look at providing compensation to the Oriental community
After 1905, Frank Oliver succeeded Sir Clifford Sifton as Immigration Minister.
Oliver favoured immigrants to Canada's West from certain regions believed to have the settlers best suited to life on the Prairies. He tended to support the immigration of those who came from the following regions in this exact order of preference:
Eager to develop the West, Canadian immigration authorities rated immigrants according to their race, perceived hardiness and farming ability:
white American farmers
Need Not Apply
Gypsies Frank Oliver
As a member of parliament, Oliver had said that settling the West was not "merely a question of filling that country with people who will produce wheat and buy manufactured goods"but also of "building up of a Canadian nationality so that our children may form one of the great civilized nations of the world." He worried that immigration could "deteriorate rather than elevate the conditions of our people."