(The following is a political cartoon Illustrating Canadian Identity/discrimination and Canada’s past using metaphors)
My drawing represents how through Canadian history we have discriminated against many groups of people and how only in the last 100 years we have been accepting these groups of people.
The leaking drum of “oil” or, as it is labeled, prejudice, ignorance and unfairness pours into the lake and becomes discrimination. This represents how in Canada’s past, we discriminated against a multitude of different groups and this discrimination is made up of prejudice, ignorance and unfairness. What can also be noted is that there are only 2 people in the picture “Canadian acceptance” and “discriminated groups” so who pushed over the drum? Was it Canadian acceptance to begin with?
The setting represents Canadian landscape (the mountains represent the Rockies and the northern territories, the trees represent the a large amount of trees Canada has, the meadows represent the prairies and the lake represents the large amount of fresh water Canada has).
To not exclude any discriminated groups I didn’t put any specific groups in my drawing and instead I put a person that represents all discriminated groups. The main groups that Canada has discriminated against, in the past, that are represented by this person include: Chinese people, Indian people, First Nations people, Woman, and LGBTQ2 people. The fact that this person that represents discrimination is being pulled out by Canadian acceptance is trying to show that we are starting to accept all previously discriminated groups.
Chinese immigrants came to build the CPR from 1880-1885. These workers were expected to work longer hours for lower pay than their non-Chinese co-workers. After the railway was built cheap labour wasn’t needed anymore so people thought the Chinese would take their jobs. This made people think to pressure the government to put a tax on Chinese immigrants which went from $50 to $500. And for the time $500 was equal to 2 years pay! This Chinese head tax caused many difficulties for Chinese immigrants. And I think this tax showed directly that people just wanted the Chinese for their cheap labour and then they wanted them to leave. As Canada started to accept the Chinese people the tax was lifted in 1923.
Here is a primary source talking about anti-Asian riots
Indian immigrants were discriminated in the Komagata Maru incident when 340 Sikhs, 24 Muslims and 12 Hindus boarded the Komagata Maru to go from Hong Kong to Vancouver. These immigrants were not allowed to get off their boat once they reached Vancouver because a racist policy called the continuous passage act made it so Indian immigration was legal as long as they came directly from India. This law obviously was meant to prevent Indian immigration because considering the distance from India it would be very hard to be on a ship for that long.
Here is a primary source in the form of a political cartoon
Since these two incidents of racism against immigrants, Canada has made multiple apologies and we allow all immigration based on a point system which lets in immigrants that have good education, speak English or French etc. But you don’t have to meet all the requirements you only have to get a 67% score.
Our First Nations peoples were discriminated against using the Indian act which was put in place in 1876. In this act it basically makes First Nations people into “wards of the state” which is basically saying they are below us and we need to give them extra support. But this support wasn’t a good kind of support. It put many First Nations people’s kids in residential schools to try to “kill the Indian in the child” and in these schools they tried to rip away their culture by forbidding them from speaking their language and practicing their traditions. They also under fed these children and abused them heavily. Although many amendments were made to the Indian act we are still trying to reconcile and apologize to our first nations people today.
Here is a website with some videos of First Nations people talking about their experiences at residential schools
Throughout the 19th century woman were seen as inferior to men and thus were forced to be caretakers of children and of home. At this time woman also had no right to vote or deal with government. Soon people realized that woman should have the right to vote and this was especially the case after a woman’s movement to prohibit alcohol succeeded in 1917. After this woman started to get more rights such as the ability to run for MP, be appointed to senate, etc until eventually woman had the same rights as men.
Here is a primary source to show thoughts on woman at the time
The last main discriminated group is LGBTQ2 people. Until one of Canada’s omnibus bills legalized homosexuality, homosexuality was illegal but this really started to change after a gay man called Everett Klippert was jailed indefinably just for being gay. They said that he was a dangerous sexual offender and that he had to be jailed to protect the public but people soon realized that he was actually not a sexual offender and just had a different sexual orientation and 4 years later Canada’s omnibus bill legalized homosexuality.
Here is the website with the news story on Klippert
To conclude, Canadian Identity, I found, is really about accepting others differences and letting that make us who we are and letting that make us stronger as a country. Because of our history of having many immigrants it forced us to accept each others differences in nationality, sexuality, and/or racially. With my project I really wanted to show that nature of acceptance using someone helping someone out. Because now that has become what it really means to be Canadian.