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Banner: Moving Here, Staying Here. The Canadian Immigrant Experience

The Documentary TrailTraces of the PastFind an Immigrant
Free From Local Prejudice
A National Open-Door Policy
Filling the Promised Land
A Preferred Policy
A Depressing Period

No Refuge

by Paul Stortz, University of Calgary

Throughout the 1930s and early 1940s, Canada was undergoing a time of stress. The Great Depression ground agricultural activity in the "Dustbowl" of the Prairies to a halt. This, combined with international tensions, led to social, economic, and political unrest at home. People were broke and inward looking; they became suspicious of foreigners and ethnic communities seeking better living and working conditions in Canada. This turmoil was reflected in the country's immigration policies. The international gates to Canada were closed almost completely to people wanting a better life, including those seeking refuge from political and racial oppression. Despite the support of a number of individuals and organizations, refugees fleeing Nazism in Europe, many of whom were Jews, were unable to gain entry to Canada.

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