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The Canadian Immigration Policy and the Racial Discrimination it Induced The laissez faire approach to immigration that Canada had inherited over its lifetime began to fade away in 1884 British Columbia had become very concerned with the number of single male Chinese that had emigrated to the province since the 1860s when the American gold fields dried up Thus the provincial government took political action over the next year to finally impose a head tax of 50 on each Chinese immigrant who flocked to the region In addition Clifford Sifton a struggling young lawyer from Winnipeg and the youngest member of the Cabinet of Sir Wilfrid Laurier was obsessed by a dream of promoting Canadas prosperity by developing the prairies with pioneer farmers Siftons plans when unveiled were daring unorthodox and in many ways ruthless He had a vision of the ideal farmer for the Canadian prairies and he thought that a stalwart peasant in a sheepskin coat born on the soil whose forebears have been farmers for ten generations with a stout wife and a half dozen children is good quality But not everyone in Canada was as quick to welcome the Ukrainian newcomers in sheepskin coats as Sifton was So to add to the crisis of trying to develop western Canada the new settlers were not welcomed warmly by established Canadians who derisively referred to the Ukrainians as Siftons Sheepskins and Scum of the Empire These events were the birth of racial discrimination within the context of Canadas immigration policy and the immigrant fiasco it fueled from 1896 to 1914 But there were three other forthcoming events that would create and shape the Canadian immigration and discrimination fiasco The White Canada policy and the ignorant racial discrimination of Chinese immigrants were the heart and soul of racial discrimination in regards to Canadas immigration policy The White Canada immigration policy abandoned only in 1962 has its roots in the mid-nineteenth century
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