During the 1920s assisted migration from Britain sparked a complex and often bitter debate in Canada. It had long been held that migrants who required assistance were highly unlikely to make desirable new citizens. While the great majority of Anglo-Canadians wished to see increased British immigration in order to strengthen imperial ties and maintain the cultural character of their nation, they feared an influx of 'unfit', unemployed urban workers. In some quarters, these negative attitudes intensified as a result of Empire settlement schemes. Complaints about assisted migrants have been interpreted by some historians as evidence of growing nationalist, anti-imperial feeling in Canada. However, a broader overview of the debate indicates that many observers blamed the problems of Empire settlement on Canadian economic and social conditions, calling for reforms that would help British newcomers to succeed. At the end of the 1920s, even the strongest critics of assisted migration were still eager to encourage British settlement, provided that the immigrants could be drawn from rural areas rather than the cities.

Additional Metadata
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1080/03086530600825977
Journal The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History
Citation
Cavell, J. (2006). The imperial race and the immigration sieve: The Canadian debate on assisted British migration and empire settlement, 1900-30. The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History (Vol. 34, pp. 345–367). doi:10.1080/03086530600825977