We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Whence They Came

Deportation from Canada 1900 - 1935

Barbara Roberts, Foreword by Irving Abella

Publication Year: 1988

Until recently, immigration policy was largely in the hands of a small group of bureaucrats, who strove desperately to fend off “offensive” peoples. Barbara Roberts explores these government officials, showing how they not only kept the doors closed but also managed to find a way to get rid of some of those who managed to break through their carefully guarded barriers. Robert’s important book explores a dark history with an honest and objective style.

Published by: University of Ottawa Press


pdf iconDownload PDF (72.2 KB)
pp. v

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (233.9 KB)
pp. vii-ix

Canada is a peculiar nation. Peopled by immigrants, it is a country, paradoxically, which hates immigration. Every single public opinion survey over the past fifty years indicates that most Canadians - including by the way, most immigrants themselves - do not want any substantial increase in the number of people admitted to this country. This attitude may surprise Canadians, but historically it should not.


pdf iconDownload PDF (95.1 KB)
pp. xi

read more

1 The Functions of Deportation

pdf iconDownload PDF (574.4 KB)
pp. 1-9

This book is a study of deportation of immigrants from Canada to the countries whence they had come, between 1900 and 1935. The first chapter considers the part that deportation played in managing the labour supply and maintaining the social order. The next chapter provides an overview of the legal framework for deportation, looking also at factors that influenced the timing and specific provisions of the pertinent sections of the legislation.

read more

2 The Law and Deportation

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.7 MB)
pp. 11-36

The legal bases for the actions of the Department of Immigration were the Immigration Acts and amendments passed by Parliament, supplemented by various Orders-in-Council. Departmental policies, regulations, and practice were mandated to conform to the decisions of Parliament which, with Cabinet, was responsible for determining and overseeing the Department's activities; such was the continuing judgement of law courts.

read more

3 Incidence and Patterns of Deportation

pdf iconDownload PDF (752.8 KB)
pp. 37-52

The obvious place to look for information about the extent and causes of deportation is in the published annual reports of the Department of Immigration (under its various names over the years). Each annual report gives the number of people deported, and the causes for which they were deported. Yet these seemingly straightforward statistics are at best misleading, and at times deliberately deceptive.

read more

4 Developing the System, 1890s-1920

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.2 MB)
pp. 53-70

Deportation practices of Immigration officials between the early 1890s and the early 1920s can be readily seen to fall into three fairly distinct periods: 1890s-1906; 1906-1914; 1914-1920. During the first period, the Department was deporting so informally and unofficially (and extra-legally) that little can be known beyond the bare outlines of the practices of the time. Some trends are nonetheless clear.

read more

5 The Alien Bolshevik Menace, 1910-1920s

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.7 MB)
pp. 71-97

The Canadian Department of Immigration moved into a new phase of deportation work in the latter stage of the First World War, with the deliberate and systematic deportation of agitators, activists and radicals. Some of these were people who had not done anything illegal, but who were considered undesirable on the basis of their political beliefs and activities. The threat they posed was not to the people of Canada, but to the vested interests such as ...

read more

6 The Bureaucracy Matures, 1920s-1935

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.6 MB)
pp. 99-123

Throughout the 1920s deportation case-building and record-keeping increased in importance. Before the 1920s, the Department's emphasis on constructing solid cases was usually based on its desire to make the transportation companies pay the cost of deportation, and to avoid grave criticism or public uproar for shipping out paupers or the helpless. By the 1920s, it had begun to build legal cases that would demonstrate the fairness and completeness of its work.

read more

7 Troublemakers and Communists, 1930-1935

pdf iconDownload PDF (2.2 MB)
pp. 125-158

Deportation of radicals in the 1930s was made to order by political fiat. It was a logical extension of earlier deportations of similar troublemakers. The techniques used for the political deportations of the 1930s were similar to those developed during the period of the First World War. In both instances, political deportation was made easier by special legal powers to deport radicals overtly for political ...

read more

8 "Shovelling Out" the Redundant, 1930-1935

pdf iconDownload PDF (2.3 MB)
pp. 159-194

The deportation of the unemployed in the 1930s continued well established practice, but at the same time intensified to such a degree that it became a change in kind. The tradition of expelling immigrants who had become public charges had been established some fifty years earlier. The unemployed who had gone on relief were the main target group for the Department of Immigration during the Depression. Just as unemployment became a mass phenomenon, the ...

read more

9 "Purely Administrative Proceedings"

pdf iconDownload PDF (434.7 KB)
pp. 195-201

The Department of Immigration was arbitrary in the management of deportation. Curbs on this arbitrariness were few and ineffective. As J. F. Hodgetts points out, "There is a paradox in the fact that the administrative branch of the government is by far the largest of our public and private institutions and yet, even to the informed members of the general public, it is the least visible."1


pdf iconDownload PDF (2.2 MB)
pp. 203-233

APPENDIX: Ministers Responsible for Immigration, 1867-1936

pdf iconDownload PDF (103.7 KB)
pp. 235-236


pdf iconDownload PDF (496.1 KB)
pp. 237-246

E-ISBN-13: 9780776617428
E-ISBN-10: 0776617427
Print-ISBN-13: 9780776601632
Print-ISBN-10: 0776601636

Page Count: 264
Publication Year: 1988

Research Areas


UPCC logo

Subject Headings

  • Canada -- Emigration and immigration -- Government policy -- History.
  • Deportation -- Canada -- History.
  • You have access to this content
  • Free sample
  • Open Access
  • Restricted Access