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Canadian Immigration and the Politics of Fear

February 28th, 2011

Once upon a time, about half a century ago, Canadians felt differently about providing safe haven to people fleeing persecution. I can still remember the excitement that permeated my elementary school classroom as we prepared a mid-year welcome for three new students. They were Hungarian kids, whose parents had fled their homeland in the aftermath of a failed revolution and among them not a word of English was spoken or understood. Our teacher cut out and scripted a banner in Hungarian, which translated in English to “Welcome to Canada, your new home.” Taking our cue from her leadership, we students couldn’t do enough to help the newcomers in our midst settle in. I have a strong feeling that similar scenarios played out in classrooms across our country.

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