Aaron Carr (Project Director),
Canada’s Immigrant Cultures (Multiculturalism in Canada Series)
Weigl Educational Publishers, 2012..
Canada’s Immigrant Cultures looks at how immigration trends have changed in Canada over the course of our history. In the early days most immigrants came from France or Britain and then over time immigrants began to arrive from other countries first in small numbers and then in great waves. Events such as the American Revolution, the Potato Famine in Ireland, the Underground Railroad and the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway are discussed as they brought many immigrants to Canada in the 18th and 19th centuries. While some groups have chosen to assimilate, some have chosen to remain separate and a case study discussing Canada’s Hutterite population is included in the book. William Lyon Mackenzie King’s government brought a change to immigration policies in the 1940s which gave special consideration to the relatives of Canadians and became known as the sponsorship system and gave refugees and displaced persons special consideration. Finally the book discusses our current immigration law which recognizes six categories of immigrants and came into effect in 2001.
Although this is a brief discussion of immigration in Canada questions are asked in each section to get students thinking about the material they are reading which will hopefully initiate classroom conversations. The book also includes five different viewpoints on immigration for students to consider and discuss, an activity section leading to further research, a skill building activity, and a question and answer section covering the main points discussed in the book. A glossary of terms and an index are also included.
What was lacking in this book was a discussion of moments in Canada’s history when we did not open our doors to immigrants or refugees arriving from other countries. Only one such event is mentioned in the book - 376 people from India were denied admission to Canada in 1914 when they arrived on board the Komagata Maru - but events such as this have happened on other occasions and would have made an interesting chapter in the book. Events such as the denial of the St. Louis to dock in 1939 with Jewish refugees and the current plight of Afghan translators would have made thought-provoking additions. This is a resource book that teachers of history will find useful but students will find the material rather dry.
Canadian History; Immigration; Multiculturalism
Vol. 17, number 3
E - Excellent, enduring, everyone should see it!
G - Good, even great at times, generally useful!
A - Average, all right, has its applications.
P - Problematic, puzzling, poorly presented.