Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Adventures from the Archives Part II

Hello blog world!

Sorry for the delay on sending this one out but I have finally gotten around to uploading part II :)

Today's latest treasure from the archives is a draft of a public statement made by Prime Minister Trudeau.
Page 1 of the draft (click on the image to zoom)

Who: Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau
What: Submission to the Cabinet of a draft statement to be made on August 24th 1972 (The draft is very similar to the final version)
When: August 22nd, 1972
Where: Ottawa
Why: This would officially mark the formal launch of the resettlement initiative by the Canadian government.

As you read through the statement you will notice some very interesting details. The first is that the Prime Minister explains Canada's involvement is based on humanitarian grounds. The second reason is that the Canadian government sought to aid the British.


Prime Minister Trudeau also outlines that Canada is willing to accept Ugandan Asians on an emergency basis. What I believe is meant by this is a relaxing of the points system of admission. Currently, and even back in 1972, immigrants who apply to Canada must receive a passing grade in the application system. Points are awarded based on one's language abilities (read, write, and speak English and or French), education (more points for higher levels ie. college, bachelor's, master's etc.), and other factors including work experience, family in Canada, and age. These same criteria were used to evaluate whether Ugandan Asians qualified to come to Canada. In reality, there were several instances where these criteria were relaxed as alluded to by the PM, however, since Canada had not established a separate refugee policy they were forced to operate within the existing immigration act (1952 Immigration Act).
Page 2 (click on image to zoom)

The conclusion of the statement is quite powerful as PM Trudeau says, "Asian immigrants have already added to the cultural richness and variety of our country, and I am sure that those from Uganda will, by their abilities and industry, make an equally important contribution to Canadian society". Here it is clear that the government of Canada saw great utility in providing humanitarian assistance not only because of the past contributions of other South Asian communities in Canada but also the government's belief in Ugandan Asian refugees to "make an equally important contribution to Canadian society".

So what? Plain and simple, this document outlines that Canada is getting involved and sending a team to speed up the process of accepting refugees to Canada. Reasons for the involvement: humanitarian aid, and helping Britain. It showcases the relatively speedy response considering the expulsion decree was made 17 days earlier.

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