1930 Depression Hits and Nativism Gives Rise to
German Immigration to Alberta: The shame of WW2
German Place Names: Those that Changed because of WW1
German Place Names: Those that Stayed the same after WW1
A backlash against immigration, nativism is a combination
of ethno-cultural prejudice and nationalism. While it differs from racism
in that it does not necessarily involve ethnicity, it can be based
on race as well as religion, economics or politics. The
prejudices are typically formed by a dominant
culture in regards to the cultural practices and language of minorities.
As discussed in our section on Ontarians as
a "Charter Group,"
until after World War II Albertans of Anglo-Saxon descent dominated the provincial landscape in terms of politics, economics and social
structure. Although Alberta was an immigrant society (including the Anglo-Saxons
was an expectation of newcomers that they would fit into the mould already cast. Immigration policy
still favoured the Anglo-Saxons and the concept of assimilation of minority cultures was still
World War I sparked increased nativist sentiment in Canada and the so-called
threat of "enemy
aliens" living in Canada prompted the federal government to formalize the prejudicial treatment
of minorities. The government used the powers of the War Measures Act to register, restrict, censor
and even intern and deport those whose origins could be found in enemy countries.
Additionally, the interwar period witnessed the height of
restrictive immigration policy in Canada, including the
Immigration Act of 1923, which effectively ended Chinese
immigration until 1947 when the act was repealed.
The economic hardship of the 1930s fostered increased resentment of "foreigners" and it was
during the interwar period that Alberta witnessed the emergence of a
home-grown Ku Klux Klan.
Most of this Klan activity was anti-catholic, anti-French and anti-immigrant
and, as it was
not racially prompted like elsewhere, it was a prime example of
Palmer, Howard. Patterns of Prejudice: A History of Nativism in Alberta. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1982.
This digital collection was
produced with financial assistance from Canada's Digital
Collections initiative, Industry Canada.