Past Prime Ministers & their views on Immigration...

Prime Minister McKenzie King when he said in Parliament in 1947 that Canada should remain a white man's country he knew that diversity would be its weakness. Mackenzie King stated in explicit terms the great value of unity, explaining that to allow immigration by "the races of the Orient", their assimilation into Canada, would bring whites, "face to face at once with the loss of that homogeneity which ought to characterize the people of this country if we are to be a great nation" (source Ninette Kelley, Michael Trebilcock, The Making of the Mosaic. A History of Canadian Immigration Policy, 1998: 206).

Winston Churchill Think of Immigration

Just before he gave up the Premiership in 1955 Mr Churchill told Spectator owner and editor, Ian Gilmour, that immigration “is the most important subject facing this country, but I cannot get any of my ministers to take any notice.”
He was the only major British politician to try to stop it! He attempted to introduce a bill to control immigration in 1955. He also wanted the Conservative Party to adopt the slogan “Keep England White.”

There were no records kept of numbers entering, apparently because the immigrants were, as Commonwealth citizens, British subjects, nor did they give practical support, leaving it to local councils and voluntary organisations.

Throughout the 1950s many delegations from local councils of areas affected went to 10, Downing Street, to ask for practical help and funds. On the 21st of November 1952 the Town Clerk of Brixton asked for regulation of immigration.

Churchill first discussed immigration in Cabinet on 25th November 1952 when he asked if the Post Office employed large numbers of “coloured workers.”

“If so, there was some risk social problems would be created.” The workers were from India, Nigeria, the Gold Coast, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Mauritius, West Indies, Ceylon, British Guiana and Malaya.

Churchill asked his staff to find out about problems in Lambeth, Brixton and Cardiff. B.G.Smallman, PS, to the Colonial Secretary, produced a paper on “The Coloured Population of the UK”. This estimated the numbers to be 40–50,000 which included about 6,000 students.

Churchill’s Private Secretary Montague-Brown to Civil Servant Johnston 2/11/1954 comments on an article in The Telegraph of 19 October in which the Jamaican Minister of Labour said he would not attempt to stop mass immigration. The P.M. thinks this should be brought up in Cabinet.

The Cabinet Secretary’s Notebooks released to the public in August 2007 are the handwritten notes of Cabinet Meetings. They record that on 3 February 1954 under the item “Coloured Workers”, Sir Winston stated, “Problems which will arise if many coloured people settle here. Are we to saddle ourselves with colour problems in the UK?  Immigrants are attracted here by the Welfare State. Public opinion in UK won’t tolerate it once it gets beyond certain limits.”

Florence Horsbrugh, Minister of Education and MP for Manchester (Moss Side), added that the problem was ‘Already becoming serious in Manchester.’ David Maxwell Fyfe, the Home Secretary, gave a figure of 40,000 compared to 7,000 before the Second World War and raised the possibility of control.

He said: “There is a case on merits for excluding riff-raff. But politically it would be represented and discussed on basis of colour limitation. That would offend the floating vote viz., the old Liberals. We should be reversing age-long tradition that British Subjects have right of entry to mother-country of Empire. We should offend Liberals, also sentimentalists.”

He added: ‘The colonial populations are resented in Liverpool, Paddington and other areas by those who come into contact with them. But those who don’t are apt to take a more Liberal view.”
Another referred to an “increasing evil” and principles “laid down 200 yrs. ago are not applicable to-day. See dangers of colour discriminn. But other [Dominions] control entry of B. subjects. Could we present action as coming into line…& securing uniformity?”

Mr Churchill said the question was whether it might be wise “to allow public feeling to develop a little more — before taking action… May be wise to wait … But it would be fatal to let it develop too far.”  Mr Churchill concluded: “Would like also to study possibility of ‘quota’ – no. not to be exceeded.”

 Immigration Under Laurier...

From 1901 to 1911, more than 900 000 foreigners came to Canada. The massive immigration, basically targeting the Prairies, increased farming production and national harvests. With greater available manpower, farming activities grew. The country’s economy benefited greatly from this massive immigration.

From 1897 to 1914, more than 3 million newcomers arrived in a Canada with a population of just 3.5 million inhabitants during the census of 1871. People came from Great Britain for the most part,  but also Poland, Russia, the Ukraine, Germany, Italy, China, Japan and Finland.