Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Notes from the Gorilliphant Cage - Part III


Immigration from the West Indies - Part 3 to follow (p.13)

§  Department of Citizenship and Immigration, Immigration Branch, Intradepartmental Correspondence; to Chief Operations Division, Ottawa; from A/Director, United Kingdom.  February 28th, 1955.
o   “Emigration from Barbados, B.W.I.”
o   “The Barbados authorities propose to establish a training scheme, in co-operation with the British authorities, with a view to transporting to the United Kingdom a number of female domestic workers who have been partly trained in household duties in Barbados; the final training would be completed in the United Kingdom under the National Institute of House Workers, and at the completion of this training, they would be considered efficient for placement in British households and institutions, etc. for domestic duties.”
o   “It is anticipated that arrangements would be made, as a start, to ship some 200 female domestic workers to the United Kingdom, and it was felt that they could be readily absorbed into this country.  The question was raised as to whether the Canadian government had any scheme comparable to the one now proposed by the United Kingdom, and if not, would the Canadian government favourably entertain a similar scheme.”
§  Colonial Office, The Church House, Gt. Smith Street, London, S.W.1. Letter from Frederick Hudd, Esq., C.B.E. February 24th, 1955
o   “I would like to emphasize that the Barbados Government fully realize that other people also have their employment problems and do not wish to suggest anything in the way of a mass migration, or indeed anything that would cause difficulties in Canada.  However, they would welcome anything in the way of a controlled scheme, either for domestic workers or for any other category of emigrant and, naturally, we in the Colonial Office would be happy to see any such scheme inaugurated.”
o   “The vast majority of the inhabitants are racially negroid but British by three centuries of tradition and culture.”
o   “The need for outlets for emigration from Barbados is acute and the Island can produce a force of many hundreds of domestic servants, and a large number of semi-skilled or unskilled workers, as well as a smaller number of other workers with a secondary education.”
o   Refuting Climate Discrimination
o   “Although Barbados is in the Tropics, its people have shown themselves to be well able to withstand cold climates.”
o   Controlled Emigration (Proposing the Domestic Scheme)
o   “The Barbados Government fully realise that other countries have their own population problems, including housing and employment.  They do not seek in any way to promote a mass emigration which will cause difficulty in the countries to which emigrants go.  They do feel however, that their own problems could be alleviated if schemes could be arranged for the controlled emigration of different classes of persons.  While they would not be unwilling for this controlled emigration to be permanent, they would be equally willing for it to be temporary and they would place no restrictions or obstacles in the way of Barbadians wishing to return to their Island after a period of years.”
o   Barbadian officials willing to compromise with Canadian officials for the emigration of their people.  The proposal was logical and used an employment market that Canadians needed filled (Domestic Service) and used an equally good example of how this scheme worked in the UK for Barbadian female emigrants with the National Institute of House Workers (N.I.H).
o   “It is requested that the Canadian Government should give sympathetic consideration to the above proposals.”

§  A Damning and Hypocritical Statement against Black Immigration
§  A Review of Immigration from the British West Indies.  January 14th, 1955.
o   “While restrictive, our policy with respect to Negroes has never been one of absolute exclusion; for example, Negroes who are British subjects within the meaning of Regulation 20(1) have always been admissible to this country.
o   “Argument Against an Immigration Agreement”:
§  “It is not by accident that coloured British subjects other than the negligible numbers from the United Kingdom are excluded from Canada.  It is from experience, generally speaking, that coloured people in the present state of the white man’s thinking are not a tangible community asset, and as a result are more or less ostracized.  They do not assimilate readily and pretty much vegetate to a low standard of living.  Despite what has been said to the contrary, many cannot adapt themselves to our climatic conditions.  To enter into an agreement which would have the effect of increasing coloured immigration to this country would be an act of misguided generosity since it would not have the effect of bringing about a worthwhile solution to the problem of coloured people and would quite likely intensify our own social and economic problem.  I think that the biggest single argument against increasing coloured immigration to this country is the simple fact that the Canadian public is not prepared to accept them in any significant numbers.”
§  Furthermore, our present programme is one of selective immigration and because it is selective it is regarded by many as being restrictive, thus we are vulnerable to charges of discrimination.  The establishment of an agreement which would provide for a quota of Negroes would have the effect of rendering our restrictive policy more obvious.”
§  The Canadian Government knew their policy towards Black WI immigration was discrimination, but wanted to keep the decision making arbitrary and obfuscated so that no one could actually charge them with discrimination.
o   “Considerations in Favour of an Agreement”
§  “Despite legislation forbidding discrimination, I believe it would be unrealistic to suggest that discrimination is not being practiced in Canada at the present time.  I submit that a possible solution to this problem would be to admit such coloured persons who, because of their qualifications, are likely to become exceptional citizens and thus render the Negro more generally acceptable in Canada.  This would be a long term programme, but one worthy of serious thought and one which adds weight to the suggestion that Negro immigration to this country be increased.”
o   “Considering both sides of the argument, I consider that the disadvantages outweigh the advantages and I would recommend that no action be taken in this regard this year and the matter be reviewed again when considering the 1956 immigration programme.”

§  Letter from J.W. Pickersgill, to His Excellency Brigadier Sir Robert Duncan Harris Arundel, K.C.M.G., O.B.E., Governor of the Windward Islands, Government House, Barbados, British West Indies.  December 16th, 1954.
o   “At the present time, our immigration policy provides only for the admission from Barbados of close relatives of legal residents of Canada and persons whose circumstances have exceptional merit.  I fear it would not be realistic for me to hold out much hope of any fundamental change in the present policy in the near future.”
§  Letter from the Governor at the Government House Barbados, November, 1954.
o   Trying to sell the British kinship and loyalties of Barbadians and their loyalty to Canada to promote increased emigration to Canada.
o   “It is understood that Canada is presently in need of immigrants.  The loyalty of Barbadians to the British Crown is a historical fact and it is felt that Barbadians could settle as workers, either permanently or temporarily, in Canada, a fellow member of the British Commonwealth of Nations, with profit to Canada and credit to themselves.  Indeed, several Barbadians served with the Canadian forces during the last World War with credit, and many of these have elected to remain in Canada.”
o   “I therefore request you to be so good as to advise this Government on the possibilities of employment of Barbadians in the fields suggested in this letter (domestic servants), and in any others in which there is an unsatisfied demand for man-power.”

§  Negro Citizenship Association – Racist Immigration Policy
§  Memorandum: Brief Presented to the Prime Minister, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Members of the Government of Canada, by the Negro Citizenship Association, Tuesday April 27th, 1954.  Donald W. Moore (Director) and Norman Grizzle, D.C. (Secretary)
o   The Immigration Act since 1923 seems to have been purposely written and revised to deny equal immigration status to those areas of the Commonwealth where coloured peoples constitute a large part of the population.  This is done by creating a rigid definition of British subject:  ‘British subjects by birth or by naturalization in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand or the Union of South Africa and citizens of Ireland’.  This definition excludes from the category of ‘British subject’ those who are in all other senses British subjects, but who come from such areas as the British West Indies, Bermuda, British Guiana, Ceylon, India, Pakistan, Africa, etc.”
o   NCA refutes the Climate Theory saying, “Negroes have for a century and a half moved into Canada from tropical areas, and have taken up life here with no great problems of adjustment to climate”.  Also cited examples of West Indians serving the British army in all parts of the world with no problems.
o   NCA refutes the Non-Assimilation claim: “The customs, habits, modes of life, or methods of holding property in the West Indies are essentially the same as in Canada, and no change is necessary when these people become part of the Canadian way of life.”
o   Conclusions:
o   “The Negro Citizenship Association respectfully requests that the Government of Canada”:
§  “Amend the definition of ‘British Subject’ so as to include all those who are, for all other purposes, regarded as ‘British subjects and citizens of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth.”
§  “Make provision in the Act of the entry of a British West Indian – without regard to racial origin – who has sufficient means to maintain himself until he has secured employment.”
§  “Delete the word ‘orphan’ from the regulation which provides for the entry of nephews and nieces under 21.”
§  “Make specific the term ‘persons of exceptional merit.’
§  “Set up an Immigration Office in an centrally located area of the British West Indies for the handling of prospective immigrants.”

§  “Immigration from Barbados”:
o   “Background of Immigration Movement”:
§  “Until the coming into force of the 1962 Immigration Regulations, admission from the West Indies was restricted to close relatives sponsored by Canadian citizens or residents.  The Department did seek special authority, however, in a fairly substantial number of cases of exceptional merit involving West Indians who were especially well suited.”
o   “Household Services Workers”:
§  1955 Domestic Workers Scheme:
·         75 from Jamaica and 25 from Barbados
·         Extended to other WI countries and totaled 280 by 1960
·         Domestic quota increased to 42 by 1959, remained at that level until the Domestic Scheme ended.
§  Following 1962 De-racialization ofCanadian immigration, Domestic scheme was no longer needed.               
·         Domestic workers could now be accepted through the immigrant stream as long as they met the selection criteria
·         By October 1967 (Points System), “it was felt that the special movement could no longer be justified as it would run counter to the principle of universality embodied in the Regulations.  Consequently, the various governments concerned were informed of our decision to end the special movement in 1968”.
o   “Seasonal Workers”:
§  In 1960, West Indian Government asked Canada if seasonal workers in the US could come to Canada as part of the annual “United States-Canada exchange programme”.  They would harvest potatoes, apples, tobacco, and other crops.
§  Maintained until 1966, until prior to the Caribbean-Canada Conference it was decided that farm workers would come directly from the West Indies to Canada.
§  Programme continued in 1968, where 1,258 West Indians came to Canada, 331 (26%) from Barbados.
o   “Size of Movement”:
§  “There was a gradual increase in the number of West Indians admitted before 1955 and then the rate increased by more than 50 percent and reached 8,387 for the West Indies in 1967.  Of more significance, however, during this period is the change in the racial content of the movement.  In 1950, only 19 percent of the persons admitted form the West Indies were Negroes while in 1963 the figure had jumped to 70 percent.”
§  “With the coming into force of the new Immigration Regulations in 1962, West Indians have been admitted to Canada as unsponsored immigrants.  Immigration selection teams visited the Caribbean area once in 1963 and 1964 and twice in 1965 and 1966.  During 1967, several teams went to specific areas in order to clear up the backlog before the establishment of our two offices in the West Indies.”
o   Before 1962, “there was no need and less incentive for the Department to open an office in the Caribbean”.  Then with the new Regulations in 1962, it was needed.
§  By 1967, two offices were opened.  One in Kingston, Jamaica, and the other in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, which covers Barbados.

§  Letter to J.B. Bissett, Director General, Foreign Service Region from R. Martineau, Chief, Western Hemisphere.  January 29th, 1975.
o   Barbadian emigrants to Canada in 1967: 1181.

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