End of Exclusion
- The impetus for change came in 1943 when the United States abandoned its Chinese Exclusion Act. However, in Canada, it would take four more years for the act to be repealed by Ottawa. The events as they unfolded were:
- In 1944 the United Nations Charterwas formulated containing statements about human rights and non-discriminationwhich were contradictory to the 1923 Exclusion Act.
- China became an ally of the United States and Canada, and Chiang Kai-shek made a diplomatic visit to Canada. That same year, Prime Minister Mackenzie King stood up in the House of Commons and announced that Canada’s Chinese immigration policy was a 'mistake' which needed to be corrected. However, little was done until the Chinese communities across Canada launched protest movements in 1946. Reverends Armstrong and Noyes of the Protestant Church offered ecumenical support along with the Catholic church through Father Lyons.
53. Immigrants arriving inCanada, 1960's
- Finally in May 1947, the actwas repealed. That meant, Chinese were once again allowed to immigrate to Canada but only the dependants of Chinese Canadian citizens. The Chinese called this 'half a loaf'. After 25 years of exclusion, it was only a symbolic victory.
- By the early 1950s, the Chinese were a declining, aging population. The 'married bachelors' had been cut off from all contact with their families for almost a decade. The1951 census revealed a decline from 34,627 in 1941 to 32,528 in immigration numbers a decade later. Full immigration did not occur until 1956 when the federal Order in Council P.C. 2115 was repealed. In human terms, this meant that for the first time in the history of the Chinese in Canada, Chinese Canadians could sponsor adult children and aging parents.
- In 1962 Prime Minister John Diefenbaker announced that Canada would accept one hundred refugee families who had fled from Communist China to Hong Kong, and that the federal government would finance their trip and pay the costs of their resettlement to Canada. The same year, the government relaxed its policy towards Chinese immigration, removing the emphasis on the country of origin as a major criterion for admission to Canada.
- Those without the privilege of family connections would have to wait until Pierre Trudeau became prime minister. Under his leadership, a new wave of immigrants arrived after 1967 and added a new demographic class. This group of Chinese were different occupationally and socially from their predecessors who came in the last century. Better educated, more cosmopolitan and upwardly mobile, these immigrants led the vanguard to a new Chinese middle class, working in professional, technical and managerial jobs.