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Laurier's Immigration Policy: Open and Prosperous for All?

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Laurier's Immigration Policy:

Open and Prosperous for all?

"Let me tell you, my fellow countrymen, that the 20th century shall be the

century of Canada, and of the Canadian development. For the next 75, nay for the next 100 years, Canada shall be the star to which all men who love progress and freedom shall come to thoughts. Sir who have life before

them, let me prayer be this; remember from this day fourth, never simply

look at the horizon, as it may be limited by the limits of the province but

but look aboard, over all of the continent and let your motto be; Canada

first, Canada last and Canada always."

This famous speech by Sir Wilfred Laurier was apparently his vision for the future of Canada, when he was Prime Minister. The question is; was Canada the star to which all men who love progress and freedom come to thoughts? Did he follow up with his promise of an 'open door' policy? Was Laurier open and prosperous? No, No and No!!

Laurier's ' open door' policy did NOT benefit the immigrants like he said it would in his speech.

For starters, A Chinese head tax was brought in by the Canadian government in 1885, $ 50.00 was charged to every Chinese person trying to enter Canada at the time. The majority of people are surprised to hear this after they are aware of the history of the Chinese immigration.

In the early 1880's around 15 000 laborers were brought to Canada from China to do construction work on the Canadian Pacific Railway. These laborers happy to be leaving crushing poverty in China to come and do hard work that involved dangerous tasks in Canada. The Chinese were paid a third or half less then their Canadian co-workers.

Laurier being fully aware of the fact that the Chinese helped our country a lot in the past still agreed to even raise the head tax to $100.00 then to $500.00. Sadly $500.00 was equal to a two-year salary of one of the Chinese. How was this welcoming or open door?

Secondly, While Laurier was in power, the Canadian government felt black farming immigrates should not be allowed into the country because they were not suited for the climate and the requirements of Canada. Also because a lot of Canadians wanted to keep the population of Canada white, when immigration workers turned back black settlers they were rewarded by the Canadian government. Maybe if Laurier wasn't so anti- black in the early 1900's our country wouldn't have dealt with the discrimination problems we did later on.

Last but not least, the Sikhs, who were the first immigrants that came from India to Vancouver and Victoria, were treated unbelievably unfairly. The government OBVIOUSLY did it's best to discourage



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