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Aftermath of War

After six years of terrible war, in which millions of people were killed, there were strong movements towards promoting understanding among the people of the world. In 1945 Canada signed the UNITED NATIONS Charter and in 1948 the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As Canadians gradually became more tolerant, Asians were finally given the vote (South Asians and Chinese in 1947 and Japanese in 1949). The bans on Chinese and South Asians were repealed. In the 1950s and 1960s a new tolerance was shown in the passage of human-rights bills in the provinces and the CANADIAN BILL OF RIGHTS in 1960.

The reasons for this increase in tolerance are as complex as the reasons for why it existed in the first place. New immigration laws in 1962 and 1967 allowed large numbers of non-whites to enter Canada from Hong Kong, India, and the West Indies. Again this immigration caused some Canadians to vent hostility, especially towards South Asians, and in particular, Sikhs. In 1989 the Canadian government paid reparations to the Japanese Canadians for their unfair treatment during World War II.

The post-World War II period also led to new developments in relations between whites and Aboriginal people. Aboriginal people gradually became more educated and better organized. Their spokesmen began to challenge their second-class status. In 1960 the government ended the discrimination that kept Indians from voting in federal elections. Instead of trying to assimilate the Aboriginal people, the government encouraged programs to retain their languages and culture.

Aboriginal people, like many non-British and non-French groups, still encounter prejudice and discrimination, but it is diminished. The effects of the long-standing treatment of these people as second-class citizens may take longer to pass.

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