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National minorities, immigration, and responsibility: French Canada as a case study, 1840–1960

From the book Responsibility for Refugee and Migrant Integration

  • Yves Frenette


In some host countries and regions where national minorities coexist, the latter’s relative weight and relations to each other and to the majority may be the most decisive factors in influencing representations of and policies towards immigrants and refugees. This has been the case for French Canadians who generally perceived immigration - especially non-Catholic and non-francophone immigration - as strengthening the anglophone majority, and thus weakening the French Canadians and threatening their very cultural survival in a hostile continent. Up to 1960, French Canadians opposed immigration and categorized immigrants as those who were ideal, i. e., Franco-Catholic immigrants; those who were tolerated, i. e., non-francophone Catholic immigrants; and those who were undesirable, i. e., non-Catholic immigrants, especially Jews.

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