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Immigration has been an important factor of population growth in Canada Between the years of 1851 to 1996 over 135 million immigrants entered Canada see Appendix 1 mostly from Western Europe and Great Britain Grindstaff 1998435 The number of immigrants admitted into Canada is regulated by Canadian Immigration Act and its policies which are in turn regulated by federal and provincial governments Jackson Jackson 1998 86 Historically early Canadian immigration policies were largely discriminative thus immigration policies and regulations have changed mostly to eliminate explicit discrimination on the basis of race or nationalityThe first Immigration Act was established in 1869 when the British North American Act gave the responsibility of immigration to federal and provincial governments This immigration act did not have any specific rules and regulations about who can or who cannot enter and live in Canada Thus between the years of 1869 to 1895 15 million people immigrated to Canada Kubat 199325 These new settlers were mostly British labourers eastern European peasants and American farmers Jackson Jackson 1898 86 However between the years of 1881 and 1884 about 15701 Chinese labourers entered Canada most of them as a cheap labourers for the construction of Canadian Pacific Railway CPR Knowles 199750 also points out that without these Chinese labourers the construction and completion of the CPR would have been postponed indefinitely Yet because the Canadian federal government favoured white British American and Northern Europeans immigrants non-white immigrants Chinese particularly were no longer welcomed in Canada Thus upon the completion of the CPR a new act was passed in 1885 to restrict and regulate Chinese immigration Knowles 199750 This new policy did not prohibit the Chinese from entering Canada yet the Chinese immigrants had to pay a 50 head tax in order to be allowed to enter Canada Yet the whites from British Columbia were not satisfied with 50 and so the tax was raised to 100 per person of Chinese origin entering
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