Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Notes from the Gorilliphant Cage - Part IV

§  Immigration from the West Indies (& Coloured Immigration General) Policy & Instructions. R76; Vol. 830, File 552-1-644 (Part 3)
§  Department of External Affairs, Canada.  Numbered Letter to the Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs, Ottawa, Canada.  From Office of the Commissioner for Canada, Port-of-Spain, R.G.C. Smith.  October 24th, 1961.
o   “The Emigration Problem for the West Indies”:
§  “On page 113 of the overseas edition of The Economist of the 14th of October there is an interesting article on this problem.  In that the absurdity of trying to argue that the restrictions are not aimed at coloured immigration is pointed out.  I am quite sure that this is a correct criticism.  Nobody will be convinced that the proposed restrictions are not based on colour.  To try to make it appear so is an insult to the intelligence of the coloured people.”
§  “From my own experience here, I have found that when talking of Canada’s immigration policy it has always been best to acknowledge the colour problem, to say that it is not Government policy to encourage or acquiesce to racialism in immigration or in anything else, but that public opinion based on years of prejudice cannot be changed over night, that the unfortunate fact remains that in a period of unemployment if two people apply for a job, it will be the white man who will be chosen as a general rule, that it is to avoid pockets of coloured unemployment that we must restrain immigration.”
§  “Should the British restrictions come to pass, inevitably this will increase the pressures on us to allow more West Indians into Canada…We can expect, therefore, that whatever move the British take in this field, almost regardless of whether the restrictions are real or token, this will develop pressures on Canada.

§  Immigration from the West Indies (& Coloured Immigration General) Policy & Instructions. R76; Vol. 830, File 552-1-644 (Part 4)
§  Globe and Mail, Nov. 5, 1963
o   “Questions”:
o   “In February, 1962, the Progressive Conservative Government altered immigration regulations so that admission to Canada depended more on the skills offered by would-be immigrants than on their color or country of origin.  It was admitted at the time that the success of the change would depend on the administration of the regulations.”
o   “In 1961, 1,249 persons came to Canada from British and other West Indian Islands.  In 1962, after the regulations were changed, the figure was 1,586.  So far this year, 1,542 have arrived.  These increases are disappointingly small and raise some questions which Mr. Favreau might ask.”
§  Department of External Affairs, Canada, Numbered Letter to the Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs, Ottawa Canada.  From, Office of the High Commissioner for Canada (G.C. McInnes), Kingston, Jamaica, August 2nd, 1963.
o   “Jamaican Immigration to Canada”:
§  “West Indians have long been unhappy about Canadian immigration restrictions.  This attitude may have been diminished by the new immigration regulations, but the frequency with which the subject is raised with us here is ample evidence that it is far from eliminated.  This can be partly explained by the time it takes for the effect of the changes to become clear.  But many Jamaicans who wish to go to Canada do not meet the requirements of the new regulations, and Jamaicans in general are reluctant to recognize the deficiencies which make them unacceptable as immigrants.
§  “Generally speaking, negro Jamaicans tend to attribute their inability to meet standards accepted in Canada and other countries to racial prejudice, and refuse to recognise that common Jamaican attributes, such as irresponsible parenthood and indolence, are not regarded with indifference elsewhere.”
§  Report on the October 25-27, 1963 Conference on “Commonwealth Partners in the West Indies” sponsored by The Canadian Institute of International Affairs (Fredericton Branch) and the University of New Brunswick.
o   “Two or three of the Canadian speakers insisted that Canada’s immigration door should be opened wide so as to accept all West Indian immigrants who wished to settle in this country. “
o   Overpopulation and Unemployment:
o   “All agreed that population pressure was very great in the islands, especially in Barbados where unemployment averaged close to 15% of the labour force.  Population was increasing so rapidly that a very high rate of economic growth was needed just to provide enough jobs to keep pace with the increase.”
o   Before CIA in Britain in first 6 months of 1962, she accepted 40,000 WI emigrants.  Last 6 months, only 4,000.
o   After regulations relaxed a bit in Canada, Canada accepted 1400 WI IGs in 1962; however, “it was mentioned time and again that Canada should relax its regulations even further”.
o   Most Canadian speakers felt that Canada still discriminated against West Indians because of their colour; this was done not under any law or regulation but by the immigration officer on the spot who for years had been working under the old regulations and so interpreted the new ones in light of his past experiences.”
o   “A strong feeling existed among many of the Canadian delegates that Canada still has two immigration standards, one for whites and another for blacks.”

§  Memorandum to A/Chief of Operations. From Head, Administration Section, February 28th, 1963.
o   “Visit of Immigration Officers to Caribbean and South America”
o   Total Number of Immigration Cases approved in Barbados: 15 cases of 19 persons
o   Total Number of Immigration Cases refused in Barbados: 23 cases of 53 persons
o   Jamaica: 120 cases and 251 persons approved VS. 181 cases and 427 persons refused

§  Memorandum to Cabinet. Re: Opening a Canadian Immigration Office in The West Indies. From the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration (No specified date of revisions.  First draft dated November 1962)
o   “Canada’s new Immigration Regulations which came into force on February 1, 1962, provided that anyone in the world could apply to come to Canada without regard to his race or country of nationality, subject only to standards of health, character, education, training, etc.”
o   Paragraph 11 of Memorandum dated October 16, 1961:
§  “The new regulations assume that for all the countries of the world the Canadian Immigration authorities will be able to apply the new criteria of admissibility successfully.  It should however be pointed out that in many of these countries we have no staff of our own: In addition, these tests must inevitably be subjective to a large extent, and this fact places a heavy pressure on our overseas visa officers.  It may well be necessary to open new offices in countries where no Canadian immigration officers presently are operative (e.g., West Indies, Spain, Japan): and to strengthen staff elsewhere, to assume these new and difficult responsibilities.”
o   “Thus far the most noticeable effect of the new Immigration Regulations has been in The West Indies.  Applications from persons in the Caribbean area began to build up as soon as the new regulations were announced and in June of this year an Immigration team was sent from Ottawa to the Caribbean to examine 311 family units which had been tentatively selected on the basis of ‘paper screening’.”
o   Total of 3,025 applications from The West Indies since the new immigration regulations came into effect.
o   Kingston, Jamaica being the logical site for an Immigration Office that would serve the West Indies (including Barbados).  Was not finalized.  Geographical, travel, and logistical issues trying to serve the entire Caribbean.  Traveling Immigration Missions thus served the Caribbean yearly following the new Regulations of 1962 up to and including 1966.
§  Foreign Trade Service.  To Mr. D.A. Reid, Chief of Operations, Immigration Branch, Department of Citizenship & Immigration, Ottawa.  From Roy W. Blake, Canadian Government Trade Commissioner, Kingston, Jamaica.  February 8th, 1962.
o   “The news about the revision of Canada’s immigration laws first appeared in the Jamaican press on Saturday, January 20th, and naturally more emphasis was placed on the lifting of the colour bar than on the necessity for skills.  Today is our fourteenth working day since then and we have now handed out over 1000 forms; in other words there is an average of 70 persons coming to our office each day regarding emigration.”
o   In the Letter of Refusal to those JA IGs, the sentence, “ ‘you do not come within the categories of persons being admitted to Canada’ has been particularly offensive to unsuccessful applicants in this territory.  They understandably feel that ‘category’ refers to colour, and if the use of the same sentence is continued, many will think that there has been no change in Canadian immigration policy.”

§  Immigration from the Caribbean Area. RG76; Volume, 820; File, 552-1-533
§  July 14th, 1966.  Canada-West Indies Conference – Follow-up action.  Assistant Deputy Minister (Immigration).  Director of Policy and Planning.  July 14th, 1966.
o   In general we are committed to dealing with West Indian immigrants on a completely non-discriminatory basis.  This means that special care must be taken to ensure that the criteria applied in Europe are applied by our selection teams visiting the Caribbean having regard to characteristic West Indian sensitivity towards real or imagined discrimination.”
o   “Arising from the Conference and the publicity which has been given to our selection criteria we can expect an increased number of applications from the West Indies.”
§  Commonwealth Caribbean-Canada Conference, Ottawa, July 6-8, 1966. June 1st, 1966.
o   “Immigration to Canada from the Commonwealth Caribbean (Background paper prepared by Canada”:
§  “Immigrants from Commonwealth countries of the Caribbean are admissible to Canada under the broadest of the admissible categories provided for in Canadian immigration law.  The Canadian Immigration Act and Regulations permit the admission of immigrants from the Caribbean area in two separate streams.”
·         Selected Immigrants: education, skills, training, or other special qualifications to “enable them to establish themselves successfully in Canada”.
·         Unsponsored Immigrants: spouses, sons or daughters and their spouses and children if under 21 years of age, brother or sisters and if married with their spouses and children under 21 years of age, parents and grandparents, fiancé or fiancée, “unmarried orphan news or nieces under 21 years of age”
o   The paper states, “Aside from the admission of a few individuals under special authorities, there was little immigration from the Caribbean prior to 1955”.  In 1955 the beginning of the Domestic Scheme.
§  The previous statement is not true because Black WIs attempted to emigrate to Canada but the door was firmly closed and Canadian legislation, specifically that denying Black West Indians were British Subjects, excluded them from migrating.
o   “Allegations of Racial Discrimination”: Canada denies racist immigration policy
§  “Canadian immigration law makes no distinction between the racial origins of immigrants.  The degrees of relationship of persons admissible as sponsored immigrants do at present vary from country to country.”
§  “Normal and necessary criteria with respect to such matters as health, financial responsibility and absence of criminal record are applied impartially to all applicants without distinction to race.”
o   Barbadian Immigrants -1965:
§  Sponsored: 327
§  Unsponsored: 233
§  Total: 560
§  Memorandum to Deputy Minister from Assistant Deputy Minister (Immigration).  January 21, 1966.
o    “Forthcoming Canada – West Indies Conference.”
§  States Canadian immigration law is not “racially biased” but admits that they do concentrate most of their immigration offices in the US and Europe.
§  Since 1962 they have varied the racial selection of immigrants, but “have proceeded with some caution in order to avoid a too-rapid rate of change which might result in adverse reaction by the Canadian public which in turn could weaken the whole concept of a universal non-discriminatory policy.”
§  “The repeated West Indian charge that Canadian immigration policies are racially discriminatory is a convenient screen for their real objective, namely a preferred place in our policies under which we would relax our selection standards and take large numbers of their unskilled and surplus population.  The West Indians must realize that this is out of the question.”
§  Canadians accusing West Indians of using the very real fact of Canadian racialization of their immigration policy.  CDN Gov saying that West Indians simply want Canada to take its unskilled surplus population.  The Deputy Minister must stand down from his defensive stance and not turn and realize that there was substantial legal and legislated evidence substantiating the West Indians claim of racial discrimination in Canadian immigration policy.

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