Open the book You asked about… immigration and citizenship. Turn to page 2. “Immigration Canada aims to contribute to a stronger nation by: … protecting refugees at home and abroad” (Immigration and Citizenship 2). Turn to page 5. “Immigration assesses immigrants… standards that do not discriminate on the basis of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion or sex” (Immigration and Citizenship 5).
Disturbed? Turn to page 28. “Canada encourages the admission of business immigrants… at contribute to the nation’s economic and cultural well-being, and create job opportunities” (Immigration and Citizenship 28). How can a country offer such promise, and then go back on its words? They can, it’s called unfairness, and in theory, many immigrants disapprove of it. In reality, the history of the point system in immigration hasn’t changed considerably. “For much of Canadian history, there was little concern among policy-makers about the discriminatory treatment of immigrants, minorities, native people, French-Canadians, and women” (Ungerleider 1).
The Chinese recipients back in the 19th century came to Canada working in canning factories and lumber mills, as domestic labourers, and as railroad workers. Once the railroad was completed and Chinese labour was no longer needed, the government of Canada passed a series of laws that restricted immigration activity for Chinese immigrants. As well, were there similar treatments given to the people of Indian origin.
The 1908 Act to Amend the Immigration Act allowed the government to prevent entry to Canada of any immigrant if he or she did not come to Canada by continuous journey from the country of origin” (Ungerleider 2). Though it wasn’t stated directly to the people of India, the act did limit the immigration from that point of origin cause the only form of continuous passage from India was “persuaded” (Ungerleider 3) by the Canadian government not to give tickets to Canada. To Webster, “discrimination” is “to make a distinction on the basis of prejudice” (Websters Dictionary 127).
During the 20th century the law on discrimination went into action stating that immigrants will not be discriminated on the basis of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion or sex. Though we may think that this immigration policy is in effect and has changed, it hasn’t changed abundantly. Immigrants everyday, are still being discriminated upon by immigration officers who judge on appearances and opinions. They use the point system to their advantage. It’s a way for them to disapprove of your application without being labelled a “bigot”.
To these, should another category be added: gender? The best defence used, but yet hidden in the system. The point system favours skilled work typically performed by men, most female adult immigrants to Canada come through the family class, as the dependent spouse of a male independent applicant. “The category of “domestic workers,” which is uniquely comprised almost completely of female led migration from the Third World, is actually a separate program not covered by the point system” (Abu-Laban 2).