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Racism/Diversity — Racisme

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Mort héroïque de quelques pères de la communauté de Jésus en Nouvelle-France, 1642-49, LAC C-004462
This engraving portrays ten martyrdoms which took place in various places between 1646 and 1650. It was used to solicit funding to support the missions.
• Anne de Nouë de Champagne (1587-1646) was frozen to death while trying to
  administer the sacrament to soldiers at Sorel.
• Isaac Joques (1607-1646) was killed by a hatchet blow to the head by Iroquois at
  Ossernenon (Auriesville, New York).
• Two young Frenchmen who were killed.
• Antoine Daniel (1601-1648) was slain at the Saint-Joseph Mission II.
• Jean de Brébeuf (1593-1649) and Gabriel Lalemant (1610-1649).
• Charles Garnier (1605-1649) was slain by the Iroquois at Saint-Jean in the Huron
• Noël Chabanel (1613-1649) died at the hands of a former convert.
• Joseph Onahare (d.1650) was a young Algonquin who was killed for refusing to
  abandon Christianity.

[1793 - slavery abolished in Canada]

"It was the 18th of October 1830, in the morning, when my feet first touched the Canada shore. I threw myself on the ground, rolled in the sand, seized a handfuls of it and kissed them, and danced around till, in the eyes of several who were present, passed for a madman."
                                                          Josiah Hanson, A liberated slave [Uncle Tom]

Barbarism and Civilization, 1870, MTPL 

"The Love of the World or the Lover of Mankind."
HEATHEN CHINEE: "Why you sendee me offee?"
A. D. C.: "Because you can't or won't 'assimilate' with us."
HEATHEN CHINEE: "What is datee?"
A. D. C.: "You won't drink whiskey, and talk politics and vote like us."
LAC, C-072064 J. Weston, Canadian Illustrated News, 26 April 1879


The $10 head tax was imposed on all Chinese immigrants except diplomats, students, tourists, and merchants.]
                                                                      Chinese Immigration Act of 1885

"Discrimination based on race, colour, creed or sex [was] contrary to the spirit of Christianity."
                                                                                           George Monro Grant

"A 'Person' is a male person, including an Indian and excluding a person of Mongolian or Chinese race."
              Electoral Francise Act, 1885, Statutes of Canada, 47/48 Vic. C.40, s.2


"The Chinese are foreigners. If they come to this country, after three years' residence, they may, if they choose, be naturalized. But still we know that when the Chinaman comes here he intends to return to his own country; he does not bring his family with him; he is a stranger, a sojourner in a strange land, for his own purposes for a while; he has no common interest with us, and while he gives us his labor and is paid for it, and is valuable, the same as a threshing machine or any other agricultural implement… a Chinaman gives us his labor and gets his money, but… he does not invest it here, but takes it with him and returns to China… he has no British instincts or British feelings or aspirations, and therefore ought not to have a vote. 
                                               Sir John A. Macdonald, Commons Debate, 4 May 1885




1895, BC Sugar, Courtesy of Brent Axelson

"My countrymen are not only those in whose veins runs the blood of France. My countrymen are all those people, no matter what their race or language, whom the fortune of war, the twists and turns of fate, or their own choice, have brought among us."
                                                                      Wifrid Laurier, speech, 14 May 1900

To Canada, Minister of the Interior, Ottawa, 1903

"We cherish . . . British institutions which accord equal rights to all, and under which every man, regardless of origin, creed or race, is sure to find an equal share of liberty, justice, equality and sunshine."
          Sir Wilfrid Laurier, November 1905 [comment made on Jewish massacres in Russia]



Damage to property of Japanese residents (Nishimura Masuya, Grocer, at 130 Powell Rd. S.) (Vancouver, B.C.). LAC C-014118, Lyon Mackenzie King,  8-9 September 1907

Sajiro Aoki, 431 Powell Street, Vancouver, B.C. LAC PA-066890, William Lyon Mackenzie King, 8-9 September 1907

"The first and most imperative condition is that the immigrant shall give this country his first allegiance . . . unless he is prepared to be a Canadian first . . . he is in this country under false pretence. He should pack his trunk and go back to where he belongs. He is not wanted here."
John W. Dafoe, Winnipeg Free Press, 1913

Link to "Komagata Maru essay" on 1st20.htm

CANADIAN PATRIOTIC FUND, 1916. « Moo-che-we-in-es. Pale Face, My skin is dark but my heart is white for I also give to Canadian patriotic fund »,LAC  no d'acc 1989-378-1

Novel 1921

VPL 88382

"It has been a proud boast of the United Farmer's Organization that in it people of every race, colour and creed can meet on terms of perfect equality."
                                                                                                  Agnes Macphail

Ku Klux Klan, 1927 John Boyd, LAC PA-087900


The Montreal YMHA Minstrel Show "Razin a Racket", Jewish Public Library Archives, February 1934


Google "Fred Christie discrimination" for more information, 1936

The British Commonwealth of Nations Together, The group includes (from left to right): a soldier from India, a soldier from East Africa, a soldier from South Africa, a soldier from New Zealand, an airman from Canada, a soldier from Australia, and a sailor from the Royal Navy. LAC, Acc. No. 1983-28-1523, Luntz, 1941

In 1942 African Americans began to question why they should fight in a war for a country that treated them like second class citizens. They began a Double V Campaign, demanding equality for all at the end of the war. They were fighting for freedom overseas and at home.


"When my people [First Nations] went into Vanderhoof, they were not allowed to go into restaurants, use public toilets, and had to come in the back door of a grocery store to buy groceries. We [Dick Patrick and King George] spoke for a long time about the injustice to my people. He told me he would endeavor to help my people."
                                                      Dick Patrick, awarded the Military Medal in 1944.
 [After the war Dick was arrested, charged with disturbing the peace, and sentenced to six months in prison on nine different occasions for entering a restaurant in Vanderhoof that refused to serve First Nations people.  He was never served a meal. – see Eric Jamieson, The Native Voice, pp.103-05]

"We are not fighting today merely to defeat Germany and Japan; we are fighting in defence of definite principles. We are fighting for a peace based on justice, and justice must be granted to minorities as well as majorities."
                                                                    Victor Quelch, Hansard, 17 July 1944

"I had as comrades in my section, men whose names were: Cameron, Kimora, English, Gleidenstein, de Chapin, O'Shaughnessy. We didn't fall out as Irish Canadians, French Canadians, Dutch Canadians, Japanese Canadians. We wore the same uniform, with the same maple leaf badge."

1945 United Nations e010750129

Mr. Lester B. Pearson addressing one of the committees at the United Nations Conference on International Organization in San Francisco, 1945,  LAC - C-018532

Group of Japanese immigrants who had been interned during WW II, waiting for a train to take them to ships, which will take them to Japan. 1946. Groupe d'immigrants japonais qui ont été internés lors de la Deuxième Guerre mondiale, attendant un train qui les emmènera à des navires en partance pour le Japon, 1946. LAC C-047398, Tak Toyota, 1946

We've Buried the Body...Let's Kill the Spirit! :  propaganda war poster. LAC Acc. No. 1981-32-8 Source: Harry Mayerovitch, Montréal, Québec, 1944-45

Five Chinese-Canadian soldiers who served with the South East Asia Command (SEAC) as guerilla fighters an are awaiting repatriation to Canada, No.1 Repatriation Depot (Canadian Army Miscellaneous Units), Tweedsmuir Camp, Thursley, England, 22 November 1945. Cinq soldats canadien-chinois qui ont servi sous le Commandement d'Asie sud-est (SEAC) comme combattants guérillero et qui attendent leur rapatriement au Canada au dépot de rapatriation no.1 (Unités diverses de l'Armée canadienne), camp Tweedsmuir, Thursley, Angleterre, 22 novembre 1945. LAC PA-211879, Department of National Defence, Karen M. Hermiston, 22 November 1945

Jackie Robinson circles third base all-out, bound for home plate during game, LAC PA-201547




[The inspiration for the Citizenship Act came to Paul Martin from a tour of the military cemetery at Dieppe.] "The racial origins of the dead were so varied . . . It struck me that herein lay the character of Canada, a land of people of diverse national origins."
                                                                             Canadian Citizenship Act, 1946




United Packinghouse Workers of America, CIO

Canadian Labour Reports, Montreal November 1948

"Whereas, recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world; Whereas, disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind. . . Whereas, it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations; . . . The General Assembly Proclaims this Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations. . . Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the General Assembly of the United Nations,
10 December 1948.

"The Charter which was adopted at San Francisco refers to human rights and fundamental freedoms in seven places, including Article I which says that one of the purposes of the United Nations is 'to achieve international promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion.'"
John P. Humphrey, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Journal, Spring, 1949.

"[The Saskatchewan Bill of Rights guarantees] “every person...without discrimination...because of the race, religion, colour or ethnic or national origin of such person” - the right to engage in any occupation or business or enterprise, the right to rent or purchase any property, the right to accommodation in any hotel, victualing house or theatre, the right to education in any school, college, university or other institution or place of learning, and freedom from group libel and slander by way of publication or broadcasting of material which tends to restrict the rights of citizens as set out in the act."
Dr. Morris C. Shumiatcher, “The Saskatchewan Bill of Rights,” Information and Comment, Committee on Social and Economic  Studies of the Canadian Jewish Congress,
March 1949.

             CANADIAN PUBLIC OPINION October 1949

During the first week of July, 1949, the Canadian Institute of Public Opinion (The Gallop Poll of Canada) interviewed a national sample of 2125 people with the following question:


19% of those polled declared themselves "willing to sign."
4% gave "qualified" answers,
9% "undecided", while
68% declared themselves "not willing to sign."

"I think of Canada now as a river. A river is always changing and becoming something else. If you watch what is happening in Toronto you are going to get a picture of what is happening to all Canada and how it will move over the next 50 years."
                                                                                               Morely Callaghan

Avrom Yanovsky, 1950




"Evidence of a 'white supremacy' policy in Canada will inevitably tend to discredit us in the eyes of the non-white peoples of the world, both within the Commonwealth and elsewhere."
                               Resolution, national convention of the CCF, Toronto, August 1952


"To that new conception of an equal partnership of nations and races I shall give myself head and soul, every day of my life."
Queen Elizabeth, Christmas message, Toronto Star Weekly, 16 Jan. 1954


Link to " Robeson Peace Arch Concert Anniversary" website



This book was banned in Toronto schools in 1956.

Prime Minister John G. Diefenbaker with "Bill of Rights", 1958, LAC PA-112659


Dorothy Carvery the Day She Moved. She and Other Africville Residents, were moved using City of Halifax Dump Trucks, 1959-1981, LAC e002283009

Reproduced courtesy of Forestar Syndication Services

Reproduced courtesy of Forestar Syndication Services

Len Norris, The Vancouver Sun, 3 April 1962

"We all drink from the same stream."
                                   Native proverb

"I liken Canada to a garden . . . a garden into which have been transplanted the hardiest and brightest flowers from many lands, each retaining in its new environment the best of the qualities for which it was loved and prized in its native land."
                                                                                             John G. Diefenbaker

"What image of Canada would do justice to the presence of these varied ethnic groups? This question preoccupied western participants especially, and the answer they often gave was 'multiculturalism,' or, more elaborately, 'the Canadian mosaic.' They asked: if two cultures are accepted, why not many? Why should Canada not be a country in which a multitude of cultural groups live side by side yet distinct from one another, all contributing to a richly varied society? Certainly, it was stated, the mosaic idea was infinitely preferable to the 'melting pot.'"
Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism, 1965

"For me, this beautiful, rich and energetic country of ours can become a model of the just society, in which every citizen will enjoy his fundamental rights, and in which every individual will find fulfillment. That is Canada."
                                                 Pierre Elliot Trudeau, Liberal convention, 5 April 1968

"There is a strong desire among Canadians not only to make it possible for both language groups and our many cultural communities to co-exist in all parts of the country without assimilation, but to take advantage of our diversity."
                                                           Pierre Elliot Trudeau, telegram, 26 June 1968

"How dull and ordinary Canada would be if it were inhabited by people all alike, with the same tastes and dislikes, the same language even. We are more fortunate than many nations in having escaped such uniformity and we can learn to live in harmony, enjoying richer and more satisfying lives without being pressed into the same mold."
                                                           Editorial, The Sun, Vancouver, 30 June 1970

"Canada has never been a melting pot; more like a tossed salad."
                                     Arnold Edinborough, address, 7 August 1973

"For the past 150 years nationalism has been a retrograde idea. By an accident Canada has found itself approximately seventy-five years ahead of the rest of the world in the formation of a multinational state and I happen to believe that the hope of mankind lies in multinationalism."
                                                                                                      P.E. Trudeau

Japanese Canadian Centennial 1877-1977. LAC, R11274

"One of the blessings of Canadian life is there is no "Canadian way of life," but a unity under allegiance to the Crown, admitting a thousand diversities."
          George Ignatieff, Cultures and Writers: A Cultural Dialogue of Ethnic Writers, 1983

Equality Rights
Equality before and under law and equal protection and benefit of law
• 15. (1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.

"For although there are two official languages, there is no official culture, nor does any ethnic group take precedence over any other. No citizen or group of citizens is other than Canadian, and all should be treated fairly."
                                           Pierre Elliot Trudeau, House of Commons, 8 October 1971

"Our great advantage, over other nations, is our tradition of diversity, which was born of the historic necessity of English- and French-speaking Canadians working together and which blossomed into a basic respect for the multitude of cultures, which make up Canada."
                                                       Joe Clark, address in Saskatoon, 28 August 1976

Copyright; Canadian Post Corporation, 1987, e000008290

"Nearly half a century ago, in the crisis of wartime, the Government of Canada wrongfully incarcerated, seized the property, and disenfranchised thousands of citizens of Japanese ancestry. We cannot change the past. But we must, as a nation, have the courage to face up to these historical facts."
                                                                    Brian Mulroney, 22 September 1988

"We have in Canada the ability to bring together two European peoples, complemented by cultures from all around the world, with an indigenous population that has been here for tens of thousands of years. We have the ability to create a culture that will be different from others because we will take from each other and we will give to each other, but we will not have to crush each other."
                                              George Erasmus, speech after Oka, 29 November 1990

"Canada has an aboriginal past, a biligual present and a multicultural future."
                                                   Garry Filmon, The Financial Post, 13 July 1990

"Canadians, even when they are racist, realize that it's not a nice thing to do."
                                                              Neil Bissonndath, Other Solitudes, 1990

"In a world darkened by ethnic conflicts that literally tear nations apart, Canada has stood for all of us as a model of how people of different cultures can live and work together in peace, prosperity and understanding."
                             Bill Clinton, House of Commons and the Senate, 23 February 1995

"I love Toronto. It's cosmopolitan. There's all sorts of different kinds of people everywhere you go in  Toronto . . . It's a real melting pot in every sense of the word."
                                                           Prince, The Globe and Mail, 29 April 2003

"White, black and yellow men – they all cry salt tears."
                                                             Claude Aveline

"When former B.C. premier Ujjal Dosanjh came to Canada almost 50 years ago, he was among the many newcomers who found the West Coast a "fair and inclusive" place compared to where he had been [India]. . . Dosanjh believes it 's wise to put past incidents of B.C. racism into perspective. 'We have learned in B.C. And we've been moving forward, including on the First Nations file. To not acknowledge the distance we have come is to do an injustice to Canada,' he says."
                                               Douglas Todd, The Vancouver Sun, 5 December 2015