Friday, September 17, 2010

Spin on Immigration 1910

Isle of Lewis Immigrants to Quebec (my husband's kin) Not quite sure who.

Well, well, well. In 1911, the New York Times ran a full page article with an interview with a Bruce Walker, Assistant Superintendant of Canadian Immigration, who was trumpetting Canada's superior Immigration Policies to the paper's readers.

Canada gets the cream of the immigrants, says Walker, and the US gets 'the skim milk" because the Canadian government only selects Northern Europeans to immigrate, brawny healthy people to till the land. No Southern Europeans are wanted, no city dwellers, only hard fisted types.

Indeed, Northern Englanders and Scotsman are desired over the softer Southern Englander. (Apparently, a boatload of Syrians was turned back at the dock.)

Italians are hard workers, Walker concedes when asked point blank by the journalist, but they only come to Canada to save money to go back home 'to their vinyards.' (Editor's note: Can I go?)

It's the weirdest article, full of lies. "There are no city slums in Canada," Walker says because few immigrants come to Montreal. Yea, right.

I assume it is merely a propaganda piece, aimed at the the relations of would be Italian or Eastern European immigrants. Don't come to Canada!! Remember, New York and Montreal accepted similar immigrants, indeed, one brother would go to Montreal, another to New York. That's why both cities have great bagels.

"We want farmers and farm workers. People who will go out on the land and make it productive," Walker says.

He uses the same term as Robertson did, in his 1907 speech to the Commons. Immigrants should be dissuaded from "herding" to the cities... The world "herd" of course suggests that the immigrants can't think for themselves.

Another article on Immigration in an era NYT reveals quite the opposite, that immigrants were savvy and determined to make a good wage whereever they went. In this particular article they are discussing why so many arrivals at Ellis Island don't trust land developers and can't be persuaded to immigrate to the Southern States.

"399 out of 400 new arrivals know exactly what they are doing when they arrive at Ellis Island," a man says. No land developer is going to talk them out of going to Montreal, even if it is 'frozen half the year' if that's where they are set on going.

Of course, I have posted on my tighsolas website another 1910 article from Technical World Magazine, revealing how the Canadian Government was actively seeking Americans to immigrate to Canada. Indeed, Edison's film company made a cross-country trip in 1910, and J. Searle Darley directed a series of films to raise the profile of the Canadian West in the eyes of Americans.