were vandalized in Montreal. The best-known Catholic leader of the day, Abbé GROULX, savagely denounced the Jews.
Much of this hatred of Jews spread to Canada's political leaders. Prime Minister Mackenzie King believed that the Jews would "pollute" Canada's bloodstream. Jews were restricted from entering many industries, the law, teaching, clubs, resorts, and beaches. As a result of this prejudice, Canada provided safety for only a few Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany before the outbreak of World War II.
Since World War II, anti-semitism has been on the decline in Canada. Jews have entered politics, law, medicine, and business. By the 1970s, most barriers preventing Jews from entering Canada were lifted. Nevertheless, many Canadians still have some negative feelings about Jews. In the 1980s, a new group of anti-semites tried to stir up hatred of Jews by claiming that the slaughter of millions of Jews during World War II never happened.
Orientals and South Asians
Asians have suffered the most intense prejudice of any group. Because they were not white, it was thought that they could not become part of the mainstream culture.
The most widespread discrimination took place against Asians in British Columbia. They were regarded as alien, inferior, and unassimilable. Labour groups claimed that Asians lowered standards because they were willing to work for less money. Asians were excluded from most unions. Employers always paid Asians less. In B.C., Chinese, Japanese, and South Asians could not vote, practise law or pharmacy, be elected, serve on juries, or work in the public service or in education. Mobs expressed their contempt in anti-Asian riots, the most serious of which occurred in Vancouver in 1887 and 1907.
The Chinese began arriving in Canada in the 1850s. Large numbers were brought in during the 1880s to help to build the CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY. They worked for poor wages under terrible conditions. They were hated by the white workers. After 1885, Chinese had to pay a "head tax" to enter Canada. In 1902 a government report declared the Chinese "unfit" to be Canadians and a danger to the state. The tax was increased to $500, an impossible sum for most would-be immigrants. On July 1, 1923, a law virtually forbade the Chinese from entering Canada. The Chinese remember it as Humiliation Day. The law was not repealed until 1947.
The Chinese have slowly made their way into Canadian society, though traces of prejudice still exist.
The Japanese began to arrive in Canada in the 1880s and 1890s. As a result of racist feelings, in 1907, Canada persuaded Japan to limit the number of Japanese immigrants to only 400 males per year. In 1928 Canada restricted Japanese immigration to 150 per year. It was stopped altogether in 1940. Restricted immigrations was allowed after 1950, but unrestricted immigration of Japanese was not resumed until 1967.
The Japanese faced massive discrimination before and during World War II. They could not vote. They could only work at menial jobs for less pay than whites. They were forced to live in their own areas.