In this lesson I say that it should be clear that the discourse on nationalism is also about ethnicity and ideologies of “race.” If you trace the historical overview of nationalism in Canada in the CanLit guide, you will find many examples of state legislation and policies that excluded and discriminated against certain peoples based on ideas about racial inferiority and capacities to assimilate. – and in turn, state legislation and policies that worked to try to rectify early policies of exclusion and racial discrimination. As the guide points out, the nation is an imagined community, whereas the state is a “governed group of people.” For this blog assignment, I would like you to research and summarize one of the state or governing activities, such as The Royal Proclamation 1763, the Indian Act 1876, Immigration Act 1910, or the Multiculturalism Act 1989 – you choose the legislation or policy or commission you find most interesting. Write a blog about your findings and in your conclusion comment on whether or not your findings support Coleman’s argument about the project of white civility.
The Immigration Act of 1910 was established by the Canadian government in order to control the influx of people entering the country. It was meant to encourage certain types of people into entering the country, while keeping out people who were deemed a nuisance to the well being of the nation. These undesirables were prostitutes, criminals, people with mental illnesses, and others who posed a threat to the social and political well being of Canada. This act allowed for the government to create a set of rules in order to determine who would be able to enter and exit the country. For example, new immigrants must have at least $25 in their possession in order to be considered for entry into Canada. The government took total control of the process of immigration, and they had final say over any immigration cases. Therefore, the supreme courts and other modes of authority did not have the right to overturn any cases. The executive branch of the Canadian government had complete control over who would be permitted residency into Canada. The Immigration Act also brought forward the notion of domicile, which allowed for permanent residency if an was granted stay in Canada for at least three years. It was all in the control of the government to determine whether or not a person would achieve permanent residency, because they had the authority to deport anybody out of the country if they did not fit the government’s standards of what it meant to be a Canadian citizen.
After conducting research on this topic, I believe that my findings do support Coleman’s argument about the project of white civility. A certain type of whiteness and Canadian ideal is portrayed by the Immigration Act, as the government has the inexplicable authority to deem what type of person is ideal to live in the country. They are building a certain type of Canada using their ideals and notions of what a Canadian should act and look like. Racist overtones were present in all of the articles I consulted while researching for this topic. The fact that a group of government executives were allowed to determine which type of people could enter Canada is a deeply concerning issue for me. This act affected generations of different cultures, and I am glad that the Canada I am living in today is diverse with a variety of different races inhabiting this great nation of ours.