Immigration and Canadian Politics

Published date01 September 1951
Date01 September 1951
DOI10.1177/002070205100600306
IMMIGRATION
AND
CANADIAN
POLITICS
David
Corbet
*
THE
FIRST
OBJECTIVE
of
society is
its
own
survival;
and
if
it
is
possible,
a
society
will
seek
to
grow,
int
order
better to
assure
its
survival.
A nation
seeks
security
through
the
maintenance
of
military
power,
material
wealth,
and the
defence
of
certain
spiritual
or
cultural
principles
which
distinguish
it from
other
nations.
But
more
fundamental
for
its
survival
than
these
defences
is
the
growth,
or
even
the
mere
maintenance
of
its
numbers.
If
a
state
were
totally
cut
off
from
outside
sources
of
population,
and
totally dependent
on
the
balance
of
births
over
deaths,
it
could do
a
certain
amount
by law
and
public
policy
to
maintain or
increase
its
population.
It
could
improve health
standards
in
order
to
reduce
mortality.
It
could
prevent
the
wastage
of
life
in
many
ways.
But
on
the
side
of
the
birth
rate,
the
efficiency
of
state
action
seems
doubtful.
Pro-natalist
policies
ranging
from
simple
tax
exemptions
to
subsidized
housing,
family
allowances,
and
medals
for
parents,
are
of
very
uncertain
value
in
promoting parenthood,
however
strong
may
be
their
justification
on
other grounds.
But
a
state,
or
group
of
states,
which
is
in
the
fortunate
position
of
being
able
to
draw
immigrants from
abroad, and
which
can
feed
and
assimilate
these
additions
to its
numbers,
has
an
opportunity
not
only
to
guarantee
its
survival,
but
to
expand,
through
judicious
application
of
policy.
For
Canada
the
problem
of
survival
as a
separate
political
entity,
and
beyond
that,
the
prospect
of
growth
to
a
stature
commensurate
with
the
physical
endowment
of
the
country,
have
always implied
an
active
con-
cern
with
immigration
and
immigration
policy.
However,
the
economic
problems
involved
have
never
been
so
simple,
nor
the
will
to
expand
so
strong
and unanimous,
as
to
allow a
direct
resort
to
unlimited
mass
immigration,
over
long
enough periods
of
time
to
settle
the
question
of
numbers
out
of
hand.
In
the
early period, for
example,
concern
to
protect
the
fur
trade
implied
restriction
of
settlement.
In
more
recent
times,
shortages
of
capital,
lack
of
markets
for Canadian
products, or
of
trans-
portation
facilities,
or the
late development
of
the
requisite techniques
for harnessing
latent
resources, have
in
turn
played
their
part
in
pre-
venting,
or
retarding for
a
time,
increases
in
population
through
immi-
gration.
From
time
to time
each
of
these
factors,
or
several
of
them
in
combination,
reappear
to
limit
the
frontiers
of
settlement
temporarily,
and
to
restrict the
numbers
of
settlement
within
the frontier.
In
addition
to
these
economic
limitations
there
have
been
certain
political
forces
within
the
Canadian
community
working,
on
the
one
hand
to
*Lecturer
in
Public
Administration,
McGill
University.

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT