David Cohen’s Blog – Learning from our mistakes
The Canadian government announced last week that it will create a 29 million dollar grant program as redress for various shameful incidents in Canada's history, relating to the way Canada treated prospective and landed immigrants. For example, from 1885-1923 there was a Chinese head tax which was a fee charged for each person wishing to immigrate to Canada from China. There was also the Komagata Maru incident in 1914, when more than 350 prospective immigrants from India were held on a ship in Vancouver harbor because they would not be admitted to Canada. In addition, in 1939 more than 900 Jewish refugees trying to escape Nazi Germany on the steamship St. Louis were denied entry to Canada, among other countries, and were sent back to Nazi Germany, where it is estimated a third of the passengers were executed. Ten million dollars will go the Ukrainian Canadian Foundation of Taras Schevchenko as compensation for discrimination and the internment of Ukrainians and other East European ethnic communities during the First World War.