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Sir John A. Macdonald's National Policy included elements designed to promote immigration to Canada, but these met with only moderate success. It wasn't until 1896 that Wilfrid Laurier's Liberal government introduced an effective immigration policy to attract emigrants to Canada, primarily to the regions west of Ontario.
The minister responsible for this policy was Clifford Sifton. With this new immigration policy, the Liberals hoped to open up new markets for Eastern Canadian goods, and to encourage the transport of merchandise by train. Populating the Canadian West would also reinforce Canada's right to the territory and would eliminate the possibility that the United States would lay claim to the area.
Hundreds of thousands of new settlers arrived from the British Isles and from Eastern and Central Europe. These emigrants formed the social fabric that was the basis for the cultural diversity found in the Western provinces today.