§ Immigration Branch – File No. 81066. Ottawa, August 25th, 1953:
o 4. The territories covered by the two Trade Commissioners concerned are as follows:
§ Port of Spain – Trinidad:
· “Trinidad, the Barbados, Windward and Leeward Islands, British, French and Dutch Guiana and the French West Indies.”
o BWIs must put their “racial origin” on their Citizenship and Immigration form
o By August 1953, Trade Commissioners of Trinidad (Barbados) and Jamaica were relieved of “responsibility for administering Canadian immigration regulations in the territory under their jurisdiction, in so far as it is at all possible.” The Immigrant Branch Headquartres would receive the applications from the prospective migrants and make decisions and “advice direct (to applicant) as to admissibility.
§ Letter from P.T. Baldwin, Chief, Admissions Division of the Department of Citizenship and Immigration to Mr. R.R. Parlour, Asst. Canadian Trade Commissioner, Port of Spain. August 17th, 1953.
o Racial Discrimination in Canadian immigration policy and practice towards BWIs. Children of Canadian citizens, if not of the same racial and national origin due to spouse, must be admitted through immigration. This is even if one parent is White Canadian.
o “[Name blanked out] is a Canadian citizen and therefore admissible as a matter of right, but her children would have the citizenship (and racial) status of her late husband and would therefore be seeking admission to Canada as immigrants. They would be admissible to or with wither mother, but difficulty might arise when they are examined at the Canadian port of entry, if the mother does not have in her possession evidence of satisfactory arrangements for their reception and support.”
§ Minutes of Meeting Held in Conference Room, East Block, Friday, June 19, 1953, 11:00am:
o Known and conflicting racism in Canadian immigration practise.
o “Some immigrant enquiries are received in the Trinidad Office by mail from residents of other British West Indian islands but the bulk of the applications are over-the-counter-enquiries. A large percentage of these enquirers, although British subjects, are of coloured blood, and when these applicants are turned down by Immigration, it creates embarrassment for the Trade Commissioner who must deal with the same people in his trade activities.”
o “In reply to a specific question, Mr. Fortier (Laval Fortier, Deputy Minister of the Department of Citizenship and Immigration) said that only close relatives of ‘coloured’ British West Indians are admissible as immigrants to Canada. He admitted that the term ‘coloured’ has not been fully defined.” If it is not defined, it is an arbitrary exclusion of people on an undefined classification of race. There was no guideline to who could actually emigrate from the BWIs because ‘coloured’ was not a defined term. Exclusion based on an idea by an arbitrary law.
o Guesstimate that 250-300 White persons admitted each year from the BWIs. What is White, really?
§ Note from the Canadian Embassy, Caracas, Venezuela to the Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs, Canada. June 1st, 1953.
o “Immigrant Entry to Canada of Coloured Persons Bearing British Passports”:
§ “We are under the impression that the entry to Canada of British subjects who are coloured is discouraged, but we are unable to find any reference to this in the various documents relating to immigration.”
§ Letter from (Sgd.) L.D. Wilgress to Laval Fortier, June 16th, 1953:
o Trade Commissioner in Trinidad (who worked for Barbados as previously mentioned) unable to handle immigration matters and having difficulty dealing with Coloured West Indians.
o “…there is, of course, a serious question of policy in dealing with requests for immigration from many British West Indians of coloured blood.”
§ Department of Trade and Commerce: Inter-Office Correspondence, Mr. M. B. Palmer to Mr. F. L. Casserly, May 22nd, 1953.
o Immigration Office Procedure (specifically on Black/Coloured West Indians):
o “The colour question and the Asiatic question are difficult; but in our experience the former has never arisen in the case of sponsored applicants – i.e. persons going to near relatives in Canada or to marry. In regard to other (i.e. unsponsored) applicants the criterion of the Department of Citizenship and Immigration is not rigidly ethnic – perhaps necessarily so because a rigidly ethnic criterion would be most difficult if not impossible to apply. An applicant who looks like a Latin American or an Israelite evidently passes muster.”
o “The Department of Citizenship & Immigration advised us in their letter of November 30, 1949, file 185402, that a person of pure Asiatic origin, irrespective of place of birth of residence, was Asiatic in an immigration sense, and that the racial origin of a partly Asiatic person was determined by the father’s race.”
o “Perhaps Brazil will in the near future absorb appreciable numbers of these peoples. If this should happen, the attractiveness of North America may weaken.”
§ Memorandum, to Mr. P. V. McLane from Mr. R.R. Parlour, May 6th, 1953:
o Canadian trade officials often embarrassed at dealing with immigration issues in the BWIs. This is mainly due to the fact that when Coloured people (who are discouraged and not outwardly banned from emigrating) or Asiatic peoples (who are excluded from Canadian immigration) are refused entry, but then are high ranking businessmen or political officials and the trade commissioners must still deal with them on a business level. The backwardness of Canadian policy: we want your business, but we don’t you in our country, but please continue doing business with us. This policy creates “bad public relations [and] hinders promotion [of] Canadian trade…[These rejection decisions] require explanation”. It is “embarrassing”, “untenable”, and causes “serious damage [to] Canadian prestige”.
o “The colour question:”
§ “We realize that, as a rule, persons of coloured races are not encouraged to enter Canada unless their background, or settlement arrangements in Canada are exceptionally favourable. However, it seems an unwritten policy of Canada not to mention this partial colour bar, and I find it difficult to advise prospective negro, or partly negro, immigrants whether they should go to the trouble of submitting applications, and then to explain why their application has been rejected.”
§ “This problem becomes much more difficult when the applicant is only 1/4 or 1/8 coloured, and especially if he comes from one of the respected and wealthy families of the island. A trained immigration officer on the spot would be in a much better position to decide on these borderline cases, and then to explain to the applicants the basis for his decisions.”
§ Letter from Donald Moore of the Negro Citizenship Committee to Honourable Walter Harris, House of Commons, Ottawa, May 13th, 1953.
o Moore Claimed that the reason Harris gave at a press conference on May 11th, 1953, was that Black people were denied entry to Canada because of the “difficulty to find employment”. He then gave an example of a Barbadian from Half Moon Forte, St. Lucy, who had a Canadian uncle who was his sponsor and had been promised employment by the Canadian National Railways, but he was still denied entry to Canada.
§ Excerpt from the Annual Report – Work of the Office – 1952 – Port-of-Spain, Trinidad.
o “The amount of time devoted to attempts to sooth ruffled feathers in connection with Canadian immigration decisions seems far too much but appears unavoidable so long as we operate a policy of racial discrimination but do not admit it.”
§ Letter to the Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs, Canada, from C.W. Dier, Esq., Vice Consul, Caracas, Venezuela, May 7th, 1952
o Barbadian annexation in the 1950s as a Canadian province?
o “Union of the British West Indies with Canada”:
o The unfathomable idea/rumor that Barbados and the British West Indies would become a province of Canada. “Most Barbadians feel that the prospect of the British West Indies becoming another province of Canada is so remote that they can afford to be polite and cheerful about the idea, particularly when in conversation with Canadian tourists in possession of hard currency.”
o Mr. Hunte’s (George Hunte, associate editor of Barbados’ Advocate) radio talk on his regular Saturday night program (on rediffusion): “His private view is that the entry of any or all the British West Indies into the Canadian Confederation, now or in the future, is completely impossible because of the racial problems involved. He cites the Canadian Immigration Act as proof of prejudice in Canada against the black race, and feels that the coloured majority of the Islands would never voluntarily agree to become a minority through union with another country.”
§ Memorandum to the Minister (from the Director), Ottawa, September 12th, 1951 (previously confidential).
o “Admission of Coloured or Partly Coloured Persons”:
§ “It has long been the policy of the Department to restrict the admission to Canada of coloured or partly-coloured persons. This policy has been based on unfavourable experience with respect to negro settlements such as we have in Halifax, the generally depressed conditions of the negro in Canada and an understanding that the Canadian public was not willing to accept any significant group of negro immigrants.”
§ P.C. 2856
§ “With the implementation of P.C. 2856 on Jul 1, 1950, we instituted an “open door” policy which was to be restrictive only in the sense that immigrants would be carefully selected as to their suitability and desirability in the light of Canadian social and economic requirements. Under this order Order-in-Council we continued to administer strictly the admission of coloured persons.”
§ “Administratively the admission of negroes is now restricted to the wife or husband and/or unmarried children under 21 years of age.”
§ “I do not feel that in the short run we can place the negro on the same basis as other immigrants under the suitable and desirable sections of P.C. 2856”
§ “Administratively I believe we should coat the pill somewhat by being more specific in rejecting these cases and as I stated at the 36th meeting of DACI, rejections wherever possible should be based on occupational grounds.”
§ Using the idea of a lack of employment for Blacks in Canada (lowering wages for everyone even though it’s the employers that pay them less because they are racist), people don’t want to work or soldiers don’t want to serve them, as an overarching excuse for institutionalized racism and personal bigotry.
§ Coloured Immigration: Policy & Instructions. R76; Vol. 830, File 552-1-644 (Part 2)
§ Letter to the Deputy Minister at the Department of Citizenship and Immigration from the Director, December 9th, 1958.
o Domestic quota from Barbados for 1959: 40 (total of 200 for all West Indian islands – 100 from Jamaica, 30 from Trinidad, 15 from St. Vincent, 15 from St. Lucia)
§ Deputy Minister to Director, September 12th, 1958
o Immigration to Canada from B.W.I. – Calendar Year 1957 by race
§ Negro ethnic origin – 497 (43%)
§ British ethnic origin – 408 (35%)
§ Other ethnic origin – 257 (22%)
§ Total – 1162 BWI immigrants for 1957
§ ***Deputy Minister (letter signed by C.E.S. Smith – Acting Deputy Minister) to Director, March 10th, 1958***
o Changing Racist immigration policy due to pressure from West Indian officials and the fact that Canadian government cannot justify their exclusionary practise. Arbitrary Racism without justification. West Indians at the forefront push to breaking down this barrier and pressuring government officials.
o “As you are aware it has been our long standing practice to deal favourably with British subjects of white race from the British West Indies provided there are reasonable grounds for assuming the proposed immigrant will become satisfactorily established here and has either sufficient funds for maintenance or evidence of satisfactory settlement arrangements.”
o Not encouraging emigrants outside of domestics, “graduate nurses, qualified stenographers, etc.’
o “We are continually being accused of discrimination against the coloured race in this area and our rebuttal has been that there is no racial discrimination and that only persons accepted are those clearly defined in the admissible classes and those with exceptional merit. The facts do not support the statement.”
o “In discussing immigration matters with representatives of the British West Indies it is difficult to justify our action in extending favourable consideration to a person of white race when a similar application made by a person of coloured race is refused.”
o “In view of the above I am of the opinion we should revise our present practice and that, regardless of race, all persons should be given equal treatment, that is, accept only those cases which come within the admissible classes or which have exceptional merit.”
§ Memorandum for: The Acting Minister – Ottawa, April 17th, 1958. From Laval Fortier to C.E.S. Smith)
o “Please find attached a memorandum from the Director of Immigration concerning the admission of person from the British West Indies. I am inclined to agree with the conclusion reached by Mr. Smith, but I must say that persons of white race would generally be more readily acceptable to Canada and, therefore, would have better opportunities for establishments than the others.”
o Why? What’s the proof, logic, and reasoning for this statement from the Deputy Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Laval Fortier?
§ Immigration from the British West Indies since World War II
o Fiscal Year
o 1945-1946: Total 298
§ British: 193 (65%)
§ Negro: 66 (22%)
§ Others: 39 (13%)
o 1946-1947: Total 420
§ British: 274 (65%)
§ Negro: 89 (21%)
§ Others: 57 (11%)
o 1947-1948: Total 404
§ British: 285 (70%)
§ Negro: 72 (19%)
§ Others: 47 (11%)
o 1948-1949: Total 391
§ British: 220 (56%)
§ Negro: 108 (28%)
§ Others: 63 (16%)
o 1949-1950: Total 384
§ British: 224 (58%)
§ Negro: 105 (28%)
§ Others: 55 (14%)
o 1950-1951: Total 399
§ British: 255 (64%)
§ Negro: 69 (17%)
§ Others: 75 (19%)
o 1951-1952: Total 666
§ British: 414 (62%)
§ Negro: 65 (10%)
§ Others: 187 (28%)
o 1952-1953: Total 717
§ British: 434 (61%)
§ Negro: 80 (11%)
§ Others: 203 (28%)
o 1953-1954: Total 916
§ British: 560 (61%)
§ Negro: 112 (12%)
§ Others: 244 (27%)
o Calendar Year
o 1954: Total 849
§ British: 525 (64%)
§ Negro: 122 (14%)
§ Others: 202 (22%)
o 1955: Total 793
§ British: 325 (41%)
§ Negro: 262 (33%)
§ Others: 206 (26%)
o 1956: Total 1052
§ British: 380 (36%)
§ Negro: 416 (39%)
§ Others: 256 (25%)
o 1957: Total 1168
o 1958 (11 Months): Total 1085
o Total from 1945-1957: 7289
§ British: 4089 (56%)
§ Negro: 1566 (21%)
§ Others: 1634 (23%)
o Total Negro Immigration from BWI from 1938-1955: 1,239
o Total Negro Immigration from BWI from 1946-1960: 4,311 (11,588 Total WI IGs) (Seen in Part 3 of this folder in Archives)
o “The above figures indicate that only 21% of the total number were of negro ethnic origin; however, judging from our experience in dealing with B.W.I applications, many of those claiming ‘British’ or ‘other’ ethnic origin were in fact of mixed race. Some of them were of whit e origin in the paternal line, while others who appeared to be otherwise suitable immigrants were given the benefit of the doubt when their applications were reviewed.”
o “Generally speaking, the domestics, nurses, nurses’ aides, male psychiatric nurses and orderlies are the types of coloured immigrants from the B.W.I. whose services are in demand in Canada.”