Ninette Kelley and Michael Trebilcock, the Making of the Mosaic: A History of Canadian Immigration Policy (2Nd Edition)

By Werner, Hans | Manitoba History, Winter 2012 | Go to article overview
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Ninette Kelley and Michael Trebilcock, the Making of the Mosaic: A History of Canadian Immigration Policy (2Nd Edition)


Werner, Hans, Manitoba History


Ninette Kelley and Michael Trebilcock, The Making of the Mosaic: A History of Canadian Immigration Policy (2nd edition). Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2010, 672 pages. ISBN 978-0-8020-9536-7, $39.95 (paperback)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Who is and who is not permitted to come to Canada to stay has always been a question for Canadians. In the post-9/11 era and in the context of an aging population the question has again become pressing. Authors Ninette Kelley, a legal and policy analyst for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and Michael Trebilcock, a University of Toronto law professor, give us distinctly legal and policy answers to this question in a large book of almost 700 pages. The Making of the Mosaic is a synthesis of Canadian immigration policy from the beginnings of the French Colony at Quebec in the 17th century to 2002. This edition follows a 1998 edition, adding revisions and a chapter updating the analysis to the immigration policy situation of a post-9/11 world.

The authors' approach seeks to examine "how ideas, interests, and institutions interacted" in the creation and execution of Canada's immigration policies over the span of some 400 years, although the emphasis is on the period after Confederation. In the introductory chapter the authors set out their project in a clear, easily read format. Each of the themes that inform the work is outlined, setting out a framework for the analysis that follows.

The book's organization is essentially chronological. The introductory chapter is followed by an overview of the two centuries of migrants and migrations that culminated in the creation of the Canadian nation in 1867. The next chapters follow the accepted periodization of Canadian immigration history. A chapter on the period of relatively unsuccessful immigration up to 1896 is followed by the subsequent settlement of the Canadian West until the First World War. Here Kelley and Trebilcock suggest that the government responded primarily to entrepreneurial interests, and argue that during this time the principle was established that being admitted to Canada was a privilege. The next three chapters examine themes relating to the subsequent period of low immigration during the wars and the Great Depression. These years mark the height of immigrant deportations and restrictions on admission.

Following Chapter 8, which examines the postwar immigration boom, successive chapters deal with the relaxation of racist policies beginning in 1962, the challenge of refugee migration after the 1976 Immigration Act, and the return to executive discretion in immigration policy from 1995 to 2008. The conclusion revisits the themes of ideas, interests and institutions.

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