Editor: The mistreatment of immigrants was just “par for the course” since immigrants first came to these shores. Times change and everything stays the same.
Ask the forgotten tribe called the Hurons, slaughtered to extinction by the Iroquois nation. The first peoples to come to this land could not even dwell peacefully with other newcomers from Asia, via the northern land bridge.
Over time, as waves of newcomers arrived on these shores, jealousy, cultures and beliefs clashed time and again. The population continued to grow. By oppression and assimilation, the country became more multicultural with the ever present under current of envy of those new arrivals taking better advantage of the new land.
It is part of the human psyche to begrudge others that succeed by taking advantage of the opportunities they failed to take.
The Irish immigrants were hated for their tenacity to surge ahead and make a better life than was ever possible in their home land. Religion was part of that hatred, born by the Protestant preachings of “papist evils”.
When I arrived in this land in 1968, the immigration officer informed my wife and I that if we “became known” to the Social Services we would be put on the first ship going back to Europe. At church, the third week we were here, I made the error of speaking about the ways of our country to some parishioners from our area, whereupon we were very bluntly told that if we thought it was better “over there”, then we had better hurry up and go back.
Being an immigrant is a (sorry for the pun) cross we have to bear. We were young and strong, and listening to the ignorant and aggressive verbal insults were like water off a duck’s back. We came to make a better life for our future family, taking advantage of the opportunities that were present at that time.
I hold no animosity to any of the Canadians that caused us hurt, but rather it made us stronger, more determined to “show them we were worthy of being Canadian.”
Oh yes, we were born and bred British too. Surprise, surprise eh!