John A. & Immigration

1867-2015
Women's dormitory, Immigration Building, St John, NB circa 1920-1930. Source: Library and Archives Canada.Pinterest
Women's dormitory, Immigration Building, St John, NB circa 1920-1930. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

There can be no defence of Sir John A.'s views on the exclusion of potential immigrants on biological, cultural or religious grounds other than, yet again, to argue that he was a man of his times. And consider what came after him: the Immigration Act of 1910 that prohibited the entry of "immigrants belonging to any race deemed unsuited to the climate or requirements of Canada"; the Railway Agreement of 1925 that categorized potential immigrants as "preferred," assigned quotas to "non-preferred," and excluded "others." Canada's failure to accept Jewish refugees in the 1940s and its current fears of difference in the light of international terrorism should give us a different perspective when critiquing Macdonald's 19th century immigration policy.