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Could you imagine if the twentieth century was erased from Canadian history, how would our Canada today look like. In the twentieth century Canada was not a humanitarian nation. To be a humanitarian nation you have to be open to people of all colour and all beliefs. Canada was far from this in the twentieth century. The people of Canada in the twenty first century would not believe the things that happened in the twentieth century. Some of the major problems for Canada were immigration policies, discrimination and human rights.
Firstly, Canada was not a humanitarian nation because of the immigration policies. Immigration policies were unfair to a lot of kinds of peoples. There were only certain types of immigrants that Canada preferred for example Canada would like American, British and European immigrants. Jewish, black, and Asian immigrants were the least desired type of immigrants. In 1885 the Canadian government also put a head tax on Chinese immigrants in hopes that because of this head tax they would not come to Canada. The head tax reduced the numbers of Chinese that came to Canada because at the time no one had a lot of money however a lot of Chinese still managed to get this money and immigrate to Canada. The Chinese head tax ranged from $50 – $500. “The Canadian federal government collected about $23 million from the Chinese head tax” (Munroe). Canada also made a huge profit from this head tax. 23 million in that time would be near about 300 million today. Also the continuous journey act was an act that meant if you wanted to come to Canada you must come to Canada in one journey, you cannot make any stops what so ever. This act was mostly directed towards south Asians. It would be very difficult to come from India to Canada in one journey without making any stops. “Since no shipping company offered direct services from India to Canada or from Hawaii to Canada both Indian and Japanese immigration were essentially eliminated.”(Bill C-49-Continuous Journeyâ€¦). The Canadian government wanted to reduce the number of south Asian people immigrating to Canada and this was one way they could do that. Japanese people were also not wanted in Canada. There was an agreement between the Canadian government and the Japanese government that only 400 Japanese could immigrate to Canada in a year. This was an attempt to reduce the number of Japanese immigrating to Canada.
Secondly, Canada was not a humanitarian nation because of discrimination. In the 20th century discrimination plagued all of Canada. One of the big events that happened because of discrimination was when, a black woman whose name was Voila Desmond she was from Halifax what happened was that she sat down in a white only section of a theatre even though she was willing to buy a more expensive ticket. After she sat down and was asked to leave she said no, then the police was called and she was thrown out. “The police were summoned immediately and she was dragged out, which injured her hip” (Viola Desmond). Discrimination at this time was horrible, black people were treated horribly. They were treated like animals. Viola Desmond was thrown out so harshly that she ended up injuring her hip. People that were discriminated against were usually black, Japanese and Chinese. These people did not get the same type of opportunities that the Caucasian born citizens of Canada received. These immigrants that were least wanted usually were given dangerous and unwanted jobs. For example the Chinese were brought in from America and china to build the Canadian pacific railway. This was a dangerous and unwanted job but it had to be done so the Chinese were pressured into doing this. “The Chinese workers worked for $1.00 a day, and from this $1.00 the workers had to still pay for their food and their camping and cooking gear” (Building the Canadian Pacificâ€¦). These workers were treated horribly. A lot of workers died building this railway.
Last but not least, Canada has not proven to be a humanitarian nation because of the lack of human rights they gave to certain people. Many people were not given the right to vote, many people were also barred from various professions. An example of this is the Japanese Internment. The Japanese internment is was when Japanese Canadians were confined in British Columbia during world war two. People that were confined could not attend school work or schools outside of the confined space. The property owned by Japanese Canadians was taken away by the government but was promised to be given back however this was a lie and the properties were sold off cheaply in auctions. These people were confined because there was speculation that Japanese Canadians were involved in espionage and sabotage even though the government lacked proof. Muriel Kitigawa was one of the people inside confinement; she was writing to her brother when she said this “We are tightening our belts for the starvation to come. The diseases … the crippling … the twisting of our souls … death would be the easiest to bear” (Kitigawa). People were treated so badly that they would rather die than live in confinement. People were usually living in steel bunks. Before, these steel bunks were used for tethering animals. After months of living in confinement camps families would be shipped on sealed trains, families would be separated. The men would work on roads and the women and children would be sent to shantytowns in B.C. the conditions in the camps were horrible Yukiharu Misuyabu and his family was sent to lemon creek where thousands of Japanese people lived in shacks. “The walls of our shack were one layer of thin wooden board covered with two-ply paper sandwiching a flimsy layer of tar. There was no ceiling below the roof” (Misuyabu). These people were treated inhumanely.
In the twentieth century Canada treated a lot of people wrong. Canada was not a humanitarian nation in the twentieth century. The major problems for Canada were immigration policies, discrimination, and lack of human rights. These three things changed the way people lived in Canada. The government Canada tried to make the people of Canada happy even if it meant that they had to ruin other people’s life.
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