When Canada Said No: Anatomy of an Event John J.C. Meyers Ontario Institute for Studies in Education University of Toronto Poster Presentation at NCSS 2012 – Seattle, WA [email protected] THE EVENT VOYAGE OF THE MS ST. LOUIS 1939 Visuals from www.ushmm.org Are the boats surrounding the MS St. Louis in Havana harbour there to welcome refugees or to keep them out? The MS St. Louis was carrying refugees from Nazi Germany and was refused safe harbour in Canada, and the rest of the Americas, with tragic consequences. THE CONTEXT CANADA’S IMMIGRATION POLICY - HOW CAN CANADA’S IMMIGRATION POLICY BE CHARACTERIZED? - DOES CANADA DESERVE ITS REPUTATION AS A WELCOMING PLACE FOR IMMIGRANTS? - ARE THERE PARALLELS TO AMERICAN IMMIGRATION POLICY? - WHAT CHALLENGES IN THE AREA OF IMMIGRATION FACE CANADA AND THE U.S. (NOW AND IN THE FUTURE)? THE RESOURCES The WELCOME TO CANADA? Project The question mark is deliberate and the project consists of: • STUDENT TEXT • TEACHER’S RESOURCE • “WHEN CANADA SAID NO” DVD (with LESSON GUIDE) Contact Sam Eskenasi ([email protected])at B’Nai Brith Canada to obtain a free copy of the DVD and lesson plan. The DVD, “When Canada Said No”, provides a Canadian case study relevant to student investigation of government immigration policy, the role of civil society in influencing policy development, and the importance of personal and social responsibility. The books have been field-tested in many schools throughout Canada and so additional copies may be limited. The Welcome to Canada? student text is organized as follows: • Introduction: Haitian disaster and its refugees: What should we do to help? • PART ONE: Context to the Studies - Chapter One - The Voyage of the Damned, the St. Louis as a “case study” - Chapter Two - Policies and Practices, outlines key terms and ideas raising powerful questions to drive student inquiry. The terms include “migration,” “refugees”, “push-pull factors” as well as a brief overview of government departments and responsibilities under the constitution. • PART TWO: Historical Themes The introduction explains how the events or “case studies” are organized, similar to chapter one, around: - the event and its historical context - its aftermath - persisting questions - case studies which have been selected on the basis of the variety of push and pull factors. • Chapter Three - Colonial Welcomes Past (Explores immigration policy and its effects before 1867) - introduction and questions to consider when examining the cases - United Empire Loyalists - Underground Railroad - Refugees from the Irish famine - Summary and conclusions to be drawn • Chapter Four - Canadian Welcomes Past (Continues to explore immigration policy and its effects after Canada gained control over this area from Britain from 1867 to WW1) - Change and continuity in immigration policies after Confederation - Immigration to the west as an “open door” policy - When doors were closed; e.g., Komogata Maru event - Summary and conclusions to be drawn • Chapter Five - Between the Wars (Looks at a not-so-positive view of Canada’s reputation as a welcoming country. ) This chapter includes a detailed examination of the role of the Canadian government and society in the events surrounding the voyage of the St. Louis indicated as “missing in action” in the account presented in Chapter One. The voyage represents but one example of a sad time in Canada’s history during this period. • PART THREE: Towards the Present and Future (Introduction to issues) • Chapter Six - Recent Welcomes (since 1946), policies and practices, what is our record and why: - introduction and questions to consider when examining events immigration policies and practices “tap off -tap on” the development of “multiculturalism” as a policy and current reality; how colour blind or equitable are we in welcoming people from around the world? Summary and conclusions to be drawn • Chapter Seven - Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow How welcoming should we be? Under what conditions? What responsibilities do citizens and governments have? What lessons, if any, can history teach us? We shall use the events and aftermath of September 11, 2001 as a contributing factor shaping our current concerns and issues. For example: - Why did “X” act the way they did? - Did governments meet their responsibilities? - If there, what would you have thought? What would/could you have done? - Now that we know what we know, what are our responsibilities in this area…for making amends for past wrongs? Or is what is past just over and done and we can’t undo it? Cause and Effect Organizer Stephen Hawking’s cone representation of the relationship between time and space (1988) can be used to examine cause-eventeffect relationships (Hundey, 2007). The example comes from Oshawa’s Central Collegiate history teacher Flora Fung (2008). Note the idea of a “spark” or trigger for the event in question. As students watch the DVD, can they identify a spark that convinced Jews in Germany to leave and take the voyage in the MS St. Louis? While much of the chart can be completed with just the film using the film with Welcome to Canada? provides a deeper level of looking at the causes and effects of the events in the DVD. References • Fung, F. (2008). Personal communication. • Hawking, S.W. (1988). A Brief history of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes. New York: Bantam Books. • Hundey, I. (2007). 9 Habits for Success in Teaching History. Toronto: Emond Montgomery.