Immigration Into Canada

This paper is concerned with the recent wave of Hong Kong immigrants
into Vancouver. The stage is set for this discussion by first explaining some
background behind Canadian immigration policy and then discussing the history of
Chinese immigrants in Vancouver. From these discussions we are informed that
Canadian immigration policy was historically ethnocentric and only began to
change in the late 1960s. It was at this point that we see a more multicultural
group of immigrants into our nation. The history of Chinese immigration in
Vancouver, and for that matter, Canada is not positive one. The experiences and
prejudices which were developed over 100 years ago still colours the way in
which we view one another.
The recent wave of Hong Kong immigrants began in the 1970s. This group
is different from most others before it because of it\'s scale and the fact that
they tend to be well-educated, affluent people. The result of their immigration
into Vancouver has been a booming economy and social tension. With greater
understanding and awareness on both sides we can alleviate the social tensions.

There is a school in Vancouver which is offering a four year immersion
programme to its students. That in itself is not highly unusual in our bilingual
nation, what is unusual is that the language of choice for the immersion
programme is not French, it is Mandarin. The programme was voted in by parents
who believed the Mandarin language to be more important to their children\'s
futures in Vancouver than French. This situation shows quite effectively the
transition which is taking place in Canada\'s third largest city. Vancouver is a
city which is consistently looking more and more to the Pacific Rim nations,
especially Hong Kong, for its economic and social connections.
Vancouver is the most asian Canadian city in outlook. At $1.3 Billion,
British Columbia accounts for the greatest Asian investment of all the provinces.
As the urban center of the province, Vancouver is the destination for most of
this capital. With an Asian population of over 18%, perhaps it is not so
surprising that so much Asian capital is invested in the city. The draw of
Vancouver for Asians has numerous reasons including, security, an opportunity to
continue business in Asia, and a feeling of welcome. The result is that the city
is being completely rebuilt with asian money. As a consequence of this influx,
all is not well, there are tensions within the city that have recently been
surfacing. Before entering into this discussion, however, it is important to
understand the context of immigration in Canada as well as the history of asian
immigration into our nation.

Policy Jurisdiction
Jurisdiction over immigration is shared between the Federal and
Provincial governments. The Federal government is responsible for establishing
admission requirements while the provinces are becoming increasingly interested
in the selection of applicants and their settlement. The governments set out
numerous controls, including those over the ethnocultural composition of
incoming immigrants, the total number of immigrants admitted, the categories of
immigrants admitted, and the regional settlement of immigrants once they arrive.

History of Immigration in Canada
Historically, Canadian immigration policy has been consistently
ethnocentric. It was only recently that the Canadian government sought to
maintain a ‘white\' society by selectively advertising abroad as well as granting
prospective applicants from Europe, the US, New Zealand, and Australia
preferential treatment. During the 1960s this distinction between preferred and
non-preferred contries was replaced with a points-system. Along with the new
points-system it was hoped that applicants from all countries and of all ethnic
origins were treated equally. The effects of this shift has been significant.

Fig 1

As can be seen in the above table, the majority of the immigrants arriving
before 1967 were of European background. From 1967 onward the flow of immigrants
has been internationalized.
Throughout the 20th Century the Canadian government has set targets for
the number of immigrant entries based upon economic criteria. Periods of
encouragement have included the early decades of this century along with the
reconstruction era of Post World War II. The 30s, 40s and the recession of the
early 80s have been periods during which the national government has discouraged
immigration. At times, economic concerns have given way to humanitarian ones
such as during the Soviet invasions of Hungary and Czechoslovakia, and during
the Vietnamese refugee crisis of the 70s.
Generally, however, Canadian immigration targets have reflected the rate
of economic expansion and employment. An exception to this rule was during the
latter part of the 1980s. Worry over the declining fertility rate and our ageing
population led the federal government to raise its annual targets despite high
unemployment. Most