Relations with Aboriginal Peoples
Prejudice in Canada between NATIVE PEOPLES and European colonizers arose in the 17th and 18th centuries. The European view of Aboriginal peoples was complex and ambivalent, ranging from seeing them as "noble savages" to considering them soulless barbarians. While there were significant differences in ABORIGINAL-FRENCH and British-Aboriginal relations in pre-CONFEDERATION Canada, in both cases the economic interests of the FUR TRADE helped to cement a tolerable working relationship between the colonizers and the Aboriginal peoples until large-scale settlement led to a deterioration in relations, as the Aboriginal people became perceived as an impediment rather than an aid to economic development.
As a result of European settlement during the 1700s and 1800s, of the British CONQUEST in 1759-60, and of the geographical isolation of Indigenous populations, NATIVE-WHITE RELATIONS gradually became less important than the relations between the colonizing powers. The economic, political, social and religious co-operation and rivalries between British and French settlers shaped much of Canada's development from the 1750s to the present. Prejudice and discrimination existed on both sides. Because the 2 groups shared a technologically based Western culture, the nature of their relationship and the kinds of prejudice and discrimination that characterized it were considerably different from those that characterized Aboriginal-White relations.
The Blacks and Slavery
By far the largest group of non-British, non-French and non-natives in Canada at the time of Confederation in 1867 were the GERMANS, who had little trouble being accepted in Canadian society.
BLACKS, however, encountered significant prejudice in the pre-Confederation era. Although there were many opponents, SLAVERY existed in NEW FRANCE and BRITISH NORTH AMERICA. By the 1860s, the 40 000 Blacks in Canada included descendants of Black slaves in New France, Black LOYALISTS, Jamaican Maroons, Black American refugees from the WAR OF 1812, and Black fugitives who came to UPPER CANADA to escape slavery.
Many Canadians opposed slavery on moral grounds and assisted refugees from the US, but many others feared the influx of Black settlers, seeing them as backward, ignorant, immoral, criminal and an economic threat. Blacks were treated primarily as a source of cheap labour. Following the final abolition of slavery throughout the British Empire in 1833, Blacks were victims of fewer legal barriers, but nonetheless faced a great deal of social prejudice.
Imperialism and Racism
The numbers of people other than of British, French or Aboriginal origin remained small until the end of the 19th century, when large numbers of immigrants arrived in Canada, settling primarily in the West. Most English-speaking Canadians saw this non-British and non-French immigration primarily as a way of speeding Canada's economic development. Others, however, worried about the social and economic impact of non-British immigration and opposed an open-door IMMIGRATION POLICY. French Canada opposed it on the grounds that such a policy would further erode the status of French Canada within Confederation. Most English-speaking Canadians shared prejudices concerning the comparative desirability of immigrant groups.
During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the belief in progress and White superiority was taken for granted throughout the Western world. Bolstered by pseudo-scientific ideas of race, derived primarily from SOCIAL DARWINISM, English-speaking Canadians believed that the Anglo-Saxon peoples and British principles of government were the apex of biological EVOLUTION and that Canada's greatness depended on its Anglo-Saxon heritage (see IMPERIALISM). Their assessment of a group's desirability therefore varied almost directly with the degree to which its members conformed to British culture and physical type. British and American immigrants were regarded as the most desirable, followed by northern and western Europeans, central and eastern Europeans and then by JEWS and southern Europeans.
Close to the bottom of the pecking order were the pacifist religious sects, the German-speaking HUTTERITES and MENNONITES and the Russian-speaking DOUKHOBORS, who were invariably lumped together by public officials and the general public. Their social SEPARATISM made their assimilation problematic, their thrift and industry made them strong economic competitors, and their PACIFISM raised doubts about their commitment to Canada.
Last were the Blacks and the Asian immigrants - the CHINESE, JAPANESE CANADIANS and SOUTH ASIANS - who were considered inferior and unassimilable. Chinese immigration was curbed by a "head tax" and was stopped altogether by the Chinese Immigration Act of 1923. A "gentlemen's agreement" was made with Japan in 1907, restricting the number of Japanese immigrants. An ORDER-IN-COUNCIL banned immigration from India in 1907. Blacks were informally denied entry from 1910. The government also introduced restrictive immigration laws in 1906, 1910 and 1919 to control European immigration.
Between 1896 and the Second World War, French Canadian nationalists charged that large-scale immigration (particularly since little of it was French-speaking) was a British Canadian plot to undermine the status of French Canada. Immigration was not as significant a public issue in Québec as it was in Ontario and the West because so few immigrants settled there. However, by 1914 the Jewish community of Montréal was the victim of strong ANTI-SEMITISM, much of it stemming from the religious bias of FRENCH CANADIAN NATIONALISM. Jews were depicted as exploiters, as threats to Christian morality and civilization, and as symbols of the evils of internationalism, LIBERALISM, bolshevism, materialism and urban life. Public controversies involving both the French and British in Montréal emerged over the Jews' place in the denominationally based school system and over Sunday-closing legislation. Antagonism toward Jews was expressed by occasional cemetery desecrations and street fights. The French Canadian hostility toward Jewish immigration was paralleled by the hostility of ultra-Protestants in English-speaking Canada to Catholic immigrants from Europe, who were regarded as subservient tools of Rome and potential political allies of the French Canadian Catholics.
The ethnic stereotypes of turn-of-the-century Canada emphasized the peasant origins of central, eastern and southern Europeans and Asians, depicting them as poor, illiterate, diseased, morally lax, politically corrupt and religiously deficient. The alleged predilection of central and southern Europeans for drink, violence and CRIME and of the Chinese for drugs, GAMBLING and Caucasian women were powerful and popular images with the dominant society. Ethnic slurs were widely used in the pre-1950s era.
Prior to WW II, extensive patterns of social, economic and political discrimination against non-Anglo-Saxons developed throughout Canada. Northern and western Europeans attracted relatively little discrimination compared with Jews and those from central and southern Europe, while non-Whites, especially in BC, suffered a pervasive pattern of discrimination that affected almost every aspect of their lives. Discrimination was one of the factors that led to the transference of the ethnic "pecking order" of immigration policy to a VERTICAL MOSAIC of occupations and incomes - the British on top and so on down to the Chinese and Blacks who occupied the most menial jobs. Non-British and non-French groups had very little economic power, and they did not begin to make any significant inroads into the middle echelons of politics, education or the PUBLIC SERVICE until after WW II (see ELITES).
The most widespread legalized pattern of discrimination occurred against Asians in BC, where anti-Asian sentiment was endemic from the 1850s to the 1950s. Asians were regarded as alien, inferior and unassimilable. Organized labour claimed that Asians took jobs from Caucasians and lowered living standards for all workers because they were willing to work for less money than White workers. Asians were excluded from most unions, and as a matter of policy employers paid Asian workers less than others.
Because of discriminatory legislation and social practices in BC, Chinese, Japanese and South Asians could not vote, practise law or pharmacy, be elected to public office, serve on juries, or work in public works, education or the civil service. Public opinion on Asian immigration was expressed on several occasions in violent anti-Chinese and anti-Asian riots, the most serious being in Vancouver in 1887 and 1907. Various attempts were also made by anti-Asian groups to exclude Asians from PUBLIC SCHOOLS, to restrict the sale of land to Asians and to limit severely the number of licences issued to Japanese fishermen. In 1892 and 1907 smaller scale anti-Chinese riots occurred in Alberta, Québec, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan when legislation was passed prohibiting White women from working in restaurants, laundries and any other businesses owned by Chinese or Japanese.
Blacks also faced a widespread pattern of discrimination in housing, employment and access to public services during the late 19th century and early to mid-20th century. They had difficulty being served in hotels and restaurants, and in being admitted to theatres and swimming pools, and on occasion were forced into segregated schools, particularly in Nova Scotia and Ontario, where they were most concentrated. The discrimination against Blacks occasionally erupted into violence. In both world wars, armed forces units were reluctant to accept Blacks, Chinese, Japanese and South Asians, although some from each group did eventually serve.
Nationalism and "Enemy Aliens"
The levels of prejudice and discrimination against non-White minorities reached comparable levels for White immigrants only during the periods of intense NATIONALISM generated by war. During WW I, Germans and immigrants from the Austro-Hungarian Empire were victims of intense prejudice and persecution. "Enemy aliens" were dismissed from their jobs. Some were placed under police surveillance or in INTERNMENT CAMPS. Their language schools and many of their churches were closed; their newspapers were first censored and then gradually suppressed; and during the war, rioting soldiers and civilians attacked the premises of German clubs and German-owned businesses. Loyalty and cultural and linguistic uniformity were assumed to be synonymous, and Prairie provincial governments abolished bilingual schools and classes. The UNION GOVERNMENT disenfranchised "enemy aliens" who had become Canadian citizens after March 1902.
Opposition to the pacifist religious sects also intensified during the war, eventually leading to the 1919 order-in-council (rescinded during the 1920s) that specifically barred the entry of members of these groups into the country. From 1919 to 1953 Doukhobors in BC were denied the right to vote, and this prohibition was extended to the federal level from 1934 to 1955. The return of WW I veterans and the postwar economic depression brought hostility toward these pacifist sects to a peak and contributed to anti-radical "nativism," ie, the conviction that immigrant political radicals posed a threat to Canadian national life. Slavic immigrants were no longer perceived as "stolid peasants," but as dangerous revolutionaries.
The connection between immigrants and radicalism in the public's mind was strengthened by the WINNIPEG GENERAL STRIKE. One of the measures passed by the federal government to end the strike was a bill providing for the deportation of foreign-born Canadian citizens under certain circumstances. Veterans and radical Slavic workers clashed in violent labour incidents across western Canada in 1919 as veterans asserted what they saw as their priority right to jobs.
By the early 1920s, central, southern and eastern European immigrants were officially classified among the "non-preferred" and restricted categories of immigrants. In the mid-1920s, however, in response to public pressure, the federal government loosened restrictions on immigration from Europe as a way of promoting economic development. The federal government allowed the railways to import more than 185 000 central and eastern Europeans and Mennonites as farmers, farm labourers and domestics during the late 1920s. The new wave of immigration re-awakened prejudices. Organizations such as the KU KLUX KLAN (KKK), the Native Sons of Canada and the ORANGE ORDER criticized the new immigrants as a threat to Canada's "Anglo-Saxon" character. Several of the organizations, particularly the KKK, also opposed Catholic immigrants.
The Klan began organizing in Montréal, Ontario, BC and Manitoba in the early 1920s, and its membership in Saskatchewan in the late 1920s reached 20 000. The Klan organized boycotts of Catholic businessmen, intimidated politicians who seemed sympathetic to French or Catholic interests, opposed federal immigration policy, opposed Catholic schools and the alleged Catholic influence in public schools, and tried to prevent interracial and Catholic-Protestant marriages. The Klan was sufficiently powerful in Saskatchewan to contribute to the defeat of the Liberals in the 1929 provincial election.
Because Anglo-Saxon workers demanded, and often received, priority in obtaining and keeping jobs, a large number of non-Anglo-Saxons were forced onto relief during the GREAT DEPRESSION. Central and eastern Europeans suffered covert discrimination in the administration of relief, while Chinese were victims of open discrimination in relief administration in BC and Alberta. The Immigration Act provided for deportation of non-Canadian citizens on relief. Government officials took advantage of the law to reduce their relief rolls.
A vicious circle of prejudice and discrimination became further entrenched during the 1930s. The discrimination that non-Anglo-Saxons encountered led them to support radical political movements, eg, communism (see COMMUNIST PARTY) and FASCISM, and this reinforced discrimination against them. Between 1930 and 1935, Prime Minister R.B. BENNETT used deportation as a way of thwarting support for the communists. In labour conflicts in western Canada and Ontario during the Depression, a predominantly non-Anglo-Saxon workforce was frequently pitted against an Anglo-Canadian management that attempted to destroy labour solidarity and discredit the strikers by stressing their foreign origins.
During the 1930s, patterns of social discrimination against Jews (eg, informal residential restrictions, quotas in university professional schools and exclusion from elite social clubs, beaches and holiday resorts in Montréal, Toronto and Winnipeg) were extended by fascist groups into a vicious and virulent anti-Semitism, which also influenced immigration policy. Canada closed its doors to Jewish immigrants at the time when they desperately needed refuge from Nazi persecution in Europe.
During WW II Germans, Italians, and members of pacifist sects encountered hostility. In rural BC during the 1920s and 1930s popular prejudice against the Doukhobors was reinforced by wartime attitudes. In 1942 the Alberta government passed a law banning all land sales to Hutterites for the duration of the war, and from 1947 to 1972 Alberta legislation restricted the amount of land Hutterite colonies could own and the areas of the province in which they could expand.
Hostility toward Japanese Canadians both before and during the Second World War was sustained, widespread and intense, especially in BC. Waves of anti-Japanese sentiment swept BC in 1937-38, 1940 and 1941-42. The assault by Japan's navy on Pearl Harbour ignited the most violent hostility toward Japanese Canadians. Following a federal government order of 24 Feb 1942 that all Japanese must evacuate the Pacific coast area, some 22 000 Japanese Canadians were relocated to the interior of BC and to other provinces, where they continued to encounter racial prejudice. The government sold their property to preclude their return at the end of the war. Toward the end of the war the government also encouraged the Japanese to seek voluntary deportation to Japan, and after the war these deportation plans proceeded. Intense pressure from civil rights groups finally led to the elimination of the deportation orders (1947), a partial compensation for property losses, and an end to the restrictions that prevented Japanese from returning to the coast (1949). (See CIVIL LIBERTIES.)
Nevertheless, a number of developments during and after the war undermined certain prejudices against various minority groups. Groups such as the Chinese and UKRAINIANS won a new respectability through their support for the war effort. The involvement of all levels of society in wartime industries undermined social barriers, and revulsion against Hitler and Nazism also eventually extended to a reaction against Hitler's concept of a superior race and against public expressions of anti-Semitism.
Canada's signing of the UNITED NATIONS charter in 1944 and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 brought Canada's discriminatory policies into glaring focus. Following intense lobbying by Asian groups and an increasingly sympathetic White public, Asians were finally given the vote (South Asians and Chinese in 1947, Japanese in 1949) and the ban on Chinese and South Asians was repealed, although only wives and children of Canadian citizens were eligible for immigration.
The New Tolerance
Immigration after 1945 was still biased in favour of Europeans, although the government allowed a small quota of immigrants from India, Pakistan and Ceylon (1951). The post-WW II immigrants were better accepted, partly because many were educated and skilled. Probably the most important factor that accounted for a new tolerance toward immigrants in the 1950s and 1960s (exemplified and encouraged by the passage of provincial HUMAN RIGHTS bills and codes, the passage of the federal CANADIAN BILL OF RIGHTS (1960), and the establishment of both provincial and federal human rights commissions) was the erosion of the intellectual assumptions and social respectability of Anglo-Saxon racism. This resulted from a revulsion against Hitler's racism, the decline of the UK as a world power, and the growth of the American civil rights movement, among other factors. The prosperity of the 1950s and 1960s facilitated the upward socio-economic mobility of second- and third-generation non-Anglo-Saxons and helped weaken the fairly rigid relationship between class and ethnicity.
Treatment of Aboriginal Groups
The attitudes toward Aboriginal peoples in the 19th and 20th centuries paralleled in many ways those toward immigrants and other ethnic groups. The treatment of Aboriginal peoples, however, was tempered by a special standing resulting from their Aboriginal status and by a special legal status embodied in the INDIAN TREATIES and the INDIAN ACT that "protected" Aboriginals from White society and fostered a paternalistic approach by governments that has not yet entirely ended. The pre-Confederation notion of Aboriginal peoples as noble savages, military allies or essential partners in the fur trade was gradually supplanted by the view of Aboriginals as backward stumbling blocks to progress. Governments isolated them on reserves and, in conjunction with the major Christian denominations, attempted to eradicate their culture through the introduction of European agriculture, education and CHRISTIANITY. (See RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS.) The dominant Anglo-Canadian view in the late 19th and early 20th century toward the Aboriginal peoples was that they were at the bottom of the ladder of biological and social evolution.
As with the new immigrants, it was thought that their languages and cultures must be eradicated and that they would have to be assimilated to a new and superior way of life. The Protestant missions to the Aboriginal peoples, Chinese, Jews and Ukrainians in Canada, as well as abroad, were all motivated by the same underlying belief in the superiority of the British-Canadian Protestant way of life. The prevailing belief in the inevitable assimilation of immigrants was paralleled by a belief in either the inevitable assimilation, or extinction, of the Aboriginal peoples.
To the consternation of Indian agents and MISSIONARIES, Aboriginals were occasionally encouraged to display their culture for visiting dignitaries or at local fairs, but these displays were viewed as quaint remnants of the past rather than as an integral part of the developing Canadian society. Ironically, during the First World War, the government, in order to increase enlistments, began to encourage the warrior ethic among Canada's Aboriginal peoples which it had been trying for decades to suppress. But this encouragement ended quickly at war's end as the federal authorities expected the Aboriginal veterans to return to the same inferior legal, political, social and economic status that they had endured before the war. Like most non-White immigrants, the Aboriginals could not vote, were relegated to the bottom rungs of the economic order, were socially stigmatized and encountered a good deal of prejudice and discrimination. As with early central and eastern Europeans, perceptions of POVERTY and alcohol abuse came to play dominant roles in attitudes toward Aboriginal peoples.
Throughout the interwar period, Aboriginal peoples ceased to be major points of public debate. Their powerlessness, lack of economic competition and geographic isolation contributed to their absence from public attention. Unlike Asians and Blacks, who were largely excluded from coming to Canada during this period, Aboriginal peoples could obviously not be targeted by racists for exclusion from the country. Their status as original peoples protected them from some of the intense nativism that faced other non-White groups.
The post-WW II period led to new developments in White-Aboriginal relations that paralleled some of the changing attitudes toward immigrants and non-British and non-French ethnic groups. Aboriginal peoples gradually became more educated and better organized, and a number of Aboriginal spokespeople began to challenge their second-class status. In 1960 the DIEFENBAKER government ended the discriminatory measure that prevented Aboriginals from voting federally. The public became more sensitive to Aboriginal values and culture. Assimilation programs that had previously attempted to eliminate immigrant and Aboriginal culture came into disrepute and government programs began to promote pride of ancestry, social and economic advancement, and language and cultural retention for both immigrant minorities and Aboriginal peoples. One turning point was the strong opposition to the federal government's WHITE PAPER of 1969, which proposed to terminate the Aboriginals' special status. In response to this opposition, the federal government disavowed its assimilationist goal.
As they increasingly moved to urban centres during the post-1950 era, Aboriginal peoples still encountered prejudice and discrimination in housing, restaurants and other public facilities; however, human rights legislation offered some recourse. Governments professed a desire for new approaches in dealing with Aboriginal peoples, and the protracted discussions over LAND CLAIMS and a new constitutional status were accompanied by public support for modest Aboriginal claims. Aboriginal peoples, like many non-British and non-French ethnic groups (particularly non-White "visible minorities"), still encounter prejudice and discrimination, but it is diminished from the past. Though fewer people demonstrate outright prejudice, both immigrant and Indigenous minorities still suffer psychologically and socially from the effects of prejudice and discrimination.
Prejudice and Discrimination Since 1960
The recommendations of the BILINGUALISM AND BICULTURALISM COMMISSION and the introduction of a more just IMMIGRATION POLICY in the 1960s, as well as Pierre Trudeau's emphasis on MULTICULTURALISM in the 1970s, resulted in a shift from largely European immigration to a greater inflow of Asian immigrants during the past several decades. The 1971 census reported that about 95% of the Canadian population comprised those of European heritage, and it was hard to find more than 5% who could be considered non-European. Only 25 years later in 1996, the non-European, non-White visible minority population had doubled to 11%, and projections are that it will likely double again within a few more decades. Such a basic racial change in population has affected attitudes of the largely Caucasian Canadian population.
Changes in Immigration Policy
In 1965 John PORTER published his classic The Vertical Mosaic in which he classified the founding British and French as charter groups, all others who entered Canada later as belonging to the entrance group, and the Aboriginals as belonging to the treaty group. It was the 2 charter groups who comprised more than 90% of the Canadian population at Confederation in 1867. However, over time, their proportionate numbers declined, and the entrance group populations rose.
By 1963 the QUIET REVOLUTION in Québec had escalated to the point that it was deemed necessary to appoint a Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism (1965). The fourth volume of the Commission's report, The Contributions of Other Ethnic Groups (1970), recognized more than the 2 official British and French cultures. By 1971, Prime Minister Pierre TRUDEAU officially declared Canada a BILINGUAL and multicultural nation. Race, however, was not yet an issue - only 5% of Canadians were not White.
The Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism stirred up more than charter group concerns with official languages (see LANGUAGE POLICY). Indeed, Québecers who wanted equal FRENCH LANGUAGE and cultural status soon found that opening up issues of language and culture would also involve other issues. The ferment in the 1960s raised many questions about a preferential immigration policy that favoured Europeans, and also many questions about the unfairness of limiting opportunities to visible minorities from the Third World.
Between 1967 and 1977 new legislation was introduced that favoured independent, sponsored and nominated immigrants. Independent applicants could now apply from anywhere in the world, and this opened up immigration to visible minorities. By the 1990s the visible minority proportion of the Canadian population had increased from 5% to 11% in 25 years; by 2001 the proportion had increased to 13.4%, and by 2006 visible minorities comprised 16.2% of the Canadian population.
Finding Prejudice and Discrimination
By the 1970s Canadian researchers had become more aware of the need for research on visible minorities, prejudice, discrimination, stereotypes and racism, and studies of these topics began to proliferate. By 1976 prejudice had been defined as an illegitimate categorization, and discrimination as unfair treatment. However, the problem is more complex because attitudes and actions that are considered legitimate for all may be based on a society's expectations of what should happen to minorities or immigrants in that society. Assimilationists expect that all people should fuse in a cultural "melting pot." Pluralists, on the other hand, deem differentiation and a multitude of sub-identities as the legitimate right of minorities. Questions arise about the rights of members of a society to extend their political and religious diversity to ethnic pluralism. In Canada such a legal right had been extended to the 2 founding peoples (British and French), and by 1982 the CHARTER OF RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS extended more individual freedoms to others as well.
John Hagan (1977), in reviewing Canadian literature, found that 4 denotations of prejudice and discrimination (differential treatment, prejudicial treatment, disadvantageous treatment and denial of desire) form a useful continuum. The differentiation end of the continuum represents a predisposition to prejudice, while the disadvantageous treatment end represents blatant forms of discrimination. Differential treatment can be a predisposition to discrimination, especially since Canadians hold to the ideal of the right to equal treatment in a democratic society. Prejudicial treatment is viewed as a negative predisposition to behaviour that could lead to discrimination. Prejudice is a prejudgement insofar as preconceived opinions have been assumed to be true before having been put to the test. Denial of desire can be a form of discrimination if it is assumed that all persons should be allowed equal preference and the freedom to choose. Those who seek greater freedom and equality are presumed to be discriminated against if they are denied opportunities such as jobs, housing or access to leisure and institutional activities. Disadvantaged treatment is a clear form of discrimination. Discrimination occurs when the object of prejudice is placed at some disadvantage not merited by his or her own misconduct. Discrimination may be defined as the effective injurious treatment of persons on grounds rationally irrelevant.
Changing Attitudes Toward Minorities
Three national research surveys taken by Berry, Bibby and Reid examined the attitudes of Canadians between the 1970s and 1990s, when visible minorities in Canada doubled from 5% to 10%. In 1976, 5 years after Trudeau pronounced Canada a multicultural nation, John Berry, Rudolf Kalin and Donald Taylor published Multiculturalism and Ethnic Attitudes in Canada, a 3-year study designed to survey the extent of support for multiculturalism.
In 1991 the Angus Reid organization undertook a national poll to learn the extent to which Canadians favoured diversity. They found that a large majority of Canadians favour a federal policy that promotes and ensures equality, eliminates racial discrimination in education, health care and justice systems, and helps police to improve their services and new immigrants to acquire skills to integrate. A large majority also favoured proactive activity such as developing helpful school materials, recognizing that diversity is acceptable and helping organizations reflect Canadian diversity. The Reid survey also asked respondents how comfortable they would feel being around recent immigrants from 13 groups they listed. Some 70-80% felt very comfortable with the 6 White European groups listed, and two-thirds still felt very comfortable with Chinese, Jewish and West Indian Blacks. However, only a small majority felt comfortable around ARABS, MUSLIMS, Indo-Pakistanis and Sikhs, which would clearly be visible religious and ethnic minorities. About 10-20% felt uncomfortable around these 4 groups and the data showed that discomfort clearly increased as respondents formed feelings about European charter groups to Asians and other visible minorities.
Reginald Bibby conducted 5 national surveys in 1975, 1980, 1985, 1990 and 1995. He asked his 1985 national sample of Canadians whether they preferred the mosaic or melting pot models, and found that well over one-half (56%) preferred the mosaic, and one-fourth (27%) the melting pot model. By 1995, however, appeal for the mosaic (44%) had declined, and support for the melting pot (40%) was almost as high. Bibby found that in 1975 a large majority of Canadians felt at ease with Jews, Canadian Aboriginals, Asians and Blacks, and that this had increased slightly by 1995.
National Perceived Discrimination
Reginald Bibby also asked, "Do you feel that racial and cultural groups in your community are discriminated against?" He found that in 1980 about one-half felt that some groups were discriminated against, and by 1995 two-thirds thought so.
Bibby also found a gradual increase in the approval of intermarriage, ranging from a low of 57% in 1975 approving of marriage between Caucasians and Blacks to 81% by 1995. In 1975 three-fourths approved of intermarriage between Caucasians and Aboriginals, rising to 84% in 1995; two-thirds approved of intermarriage between Caucasians and Asians, which also rose to 83% in 1995. By 2006, there were almost 300 000 mixed-race couples, married and common law, which was more than one-third more than in 2001. Approval of religious intermarriage was higher in 1995 than in 1975, ranging from 78 to 86%, and these figures rose even higher to roughly 9 out of 10 approving intermarriage between Catholics, Protestants and Jews.
In addition to quantitative research, more qualitative and conceptual work was done in the 1980s and 1990s by researchers such as Frances Henry, Wilson Head, Daniel Hill, Subhas Ramcharan, John Hagan, John Berry, and Leo Driedger. Their early investigations escalated into numerous publications on prejudice, discrimination and racism by Frances Henry, Evelyn Kallen, Peter Li, Karl James and many others. Ethnic and racial diversity of the Canadian population has become fertile ground for increased research, as demonstrated by the SOCIAL SCIENCES AND HUMANITIES RESEARCH COUNCIL OF CANADA allocating funds for research on Canadian immigration.
The Ethnic Diversity Survey (2003), conducted by Statistics Canada, studied the ethnic and cultural backgrounds of people in Canada. The study reported that 93% of Canadians had never, or rarely, experienced discrimination or unfair treatment because of their ethno-cultural characteristics. However, of those who reported discrimination, the respondents were more likely to be visible minorities, and were more likely to be recent immigrants rather than second and third generation Canadians.
Prejudice and Discrimination in Contemporary Society
Numerous studies concerning sexual orientation, gender, racism, unequal relations, human rights, Aboriginal rights, ethnicity, antiracism, categorization of "race," and justice have been published since 2000. Before the 1990s, Canadian society was overwhelmingly comprised of individuals of White European descent. During the 1990s, immigrants increasingly came from South Asian and African sources and were more racially "visible." By 2010, the proportion of individuals who could be categorized as "visible minority" had tripled to roughly 15%. (See IMMIGRATION.) This population trend is expected to increase with time.
Of the roughly four million visible minority immigrants who arrived in 2001, more than one-third went to Toronto, and another third to Vancouver, continuing the trend of larger cities as the most common destinations for new immigrants. The Statistics Canada Ethnic Diversity Study (2003), which surveyed more than 42 500 respondents, reported that of the visible minorities who experienced discrimination or unfair treatment, most were likely to believe that the discrimination occurred because of their race or skin colour (71%), but among those who were not visible minorities, language or accent were the characteristics that they perceived as the reason for discrimination. The study found that the workplace presented the most common situations for discrimination or unfair treatment.
In 2007, Satzewich and Liodakis reported on perceived discrimination among Canadians and found that most individuals (86%) reported no experience of discrimination, although only two-thirds of visible minorities (64%) agreed they had not experienced discrimination. When Canadian-born individuals were asked about comfort levels around various groups, most reported being comfortable around the British (85%), followed by Italians (83%), other Europeans (82-76%), Native Canadians (77%), West Indian Blacks (69%), Muslims (59%), and Sikhs (55%).
Author LEO DRIEDGER, HOWARD PALMER
B.S. Bolaria and P.S. Li, Racial Oppression (1988); A.H. Richmond, Global Apartheid (1994); P.S. Li, Race and Ethnic Relations (1999); L. Driedger and S.S. Halli, Race and Racism (2000); A. Fleras and J.L. Elliott, Unequal Relations (2002); E. Kallen, Ethnicity and Human Rights in Canada (2003); L. Driedger, Race and Ethnicity (2003); C.E. James, Seeing Ourselves (2003); J. Frideres and R. Gadacz, Aboriginal Peoples in Canada (2004); F. Henry and C. Tator, The Colour of Democracy (2005); G.F. Johnson and R. Enomoto, eds., Race, Racialization and Antiracism in Canada and Beyond (2007); V. Satzewich and N. Liodakis, "Race" and Ethnicity in Canada (2007); S.P. Hier, D. Lett and B.S. Bolaria, eds., Racism and Justice (2009); A. Fleras, Unequal Relations (2010).
Links to Other Sites
Canadian Human Rights Commission
The official site of the Canadian Human Rights Commission. The Canadian Human Rights Commission administers the Canadian Human Rights Act and is responsible for ensuring compliance with the Employment Equity Act. Both laws ensure that the principles of equal opportunity and non-discrimination are followed in all areas of federal jurisdiction.
The website for the Historica-Dominion Institute, parent organization of The Canadian Encyclopedia and the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada. Check out their extensive online feature about the War of 1812, the "Heritage Minutes" video collection, and many other interactive resources concerning Canadian history, culture, and heritage.
Canadian Multiculturalism Day
Canadian Heritage's guide to celebrating Canadian Multiculturalism Day.
PASSAGES TO CANADA
Immigrants to Canada from around the world have encountered many hardships, opportunities, and successes as they set out to establish a better life for themselves and their families in their adopted country. Listen to some of their personal stories at the "Passages to Canada" website. From the Historica-Dominion Institute.
Watch the Heritage Minute about Jackie Robinson, the African American who broke Major League Baseball's colour barrier. From the Historica-Dominion Institute. See also related online learning resources.
Colour-coded: a legal history of racism in Canada, 1900-1950
Read the full text of Constance Backhouse's book about the impact of white supremist attitudes on Canada's legal system in the first half of the 20th century. See page 173 for a chapter chronicling Ku Klux Klan activities in Ontario. From Google Books.
Japanese Canadian National Museum
The website for the Japanese Canadian National Museum. Offers information about exhibits, archives, and programs relating to Japanese Canadian history from the 1870s through the present.
Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples
The website for the "Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples." Click on the links for feature articles about Canada's many multicultural communities, access to their extensive digital archives collection, learning modules, and much more. From "Multicultural Canada."
A Letter of Complaint: Discrimination in Second World War Canada
See a copy of a letter written by the commanding officer of Stanley G. Grizzle’s army unit in regard to discrimination Grizzle faced in Toronto during the Second World War. From The Memory Project at the Historica-Dominion Institute.
Owen Sound's Black History
A great resource for information about the Black history of the Owen Sound region of Ontario. Find out about the Underground Railroad, “Songs of Freedom,” the “Underground Railroad Quilt Code,” and much more.
Long Road to Justice - The Viola Desmond Story
View an inspiring documentary about Black Canadian entrepreneur and activist Viola Desmond.
Chinese Canadian Stories
The “Chinese Canadian Stories: Uncommon Histories from a Common Past” web portal, a multi-disciplinary project that offers various perspectives on Chinese Canadian history and heritage. From the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, and partners.
The Voyage of the Komagata Maru
A synopsis of the book "The Voyage of the Komagata Maru." From the website for UBCPress.
The Criminal Code and Hate: A Criminal Law Approach to Combating Hate
This article about combating hate on the Internet provides an explanation of the hate propaganda sections in the Canadian Criminal Code and offers examples of how those sections have been used. From the Canadian Human Rights Commision.
Too Close to Home
An online learning guide that examines the history of anti-semitism and fascism in Canada during the 1930s and 1940s. Scroll down to the "Table of Contents" for key topics. From the Vancouver Holocaust Centre.
Spirit of the Nikkei Fleet
Read a brief excerpt from the book "Spirit of the Nikkei Fleet: BC’s Japanese Canadian Fishermen." From "The Bulletin," a journal of Japanese Canadian community, history and culture.
The School Question in the 1929 Saskatchewan Provincial Election
An article about the the impact of extremist groups on early provincial goverment school policies in Saskatchewan. From St. Paul's College at the University of Manitoba.
Ku Klux Klan
A brief history of the activities of the extemist hate group Ku Klux Klan in Saskatchewan. From the Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan.
Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse
This site concerns the application of the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms in the public and private sector in the Province of Québec.
Undercurrents of Intolerance
This article chronicles the activities of the Ku Klux Klan in Alberta during the first half of the 20th century. From Albertasource.ca.
Canadian Centre for Diversity
This site offers educational resources that focus on celebrating diversity and inclusion in Canadian society.
This site offers an extensive analysis of hate content found on the Internet, related legislation and legal rememdies, and educational strategies for understanding and responding to online hate content. From media-awareness.ca.
In Fear of the Barbed Wire Fence
An extensive document that chronicles events related to Canada's internment of Canadians of Ukrainian origin and other minority groups from 1914 to 1920. With many photographs and related archival material.
'The line must be drawn somewhere': Canada and the Jewish Refuges, 1933-9
An article that details the Canadian government's refusal to receive Jewish refuges fleeing Nazi Germany in the years leading up to the Second World War. From the Canadian Historical Review.
The Memory Project: Hyman “Chud” Chudnovsky
Listen to an interview with a Canadian veteran about his wartime military service. Also check out related digitized artefacts and memorabilia. From the Historica-Dominion Institute.
From C to C: Chinese Canadian Stories of Migration
Explore an interactive timeline that chronicles the multidimensional history of Chinese immigration to Canada. View archival documents, photographs, and videos that focus on the legal and societal obstacles encountered by migrating Chinese, as well as the substantial achievements of Chinese-Canadians through the generations. From Simon Fraser University and S.U.C.C.E.S.S. (a Vancouver multicultural organization).