The Rise of Multiculturalism in Canada and Australia, 1890s–1970s
Taking an historical and political perspective in this book I have explored the move from a monolithic British and white-centred national identity in English-speaking Canada and Australia to one based on multiculturalism and a non-discriminatory immigration policy. These shifts in national identity were the contexts in which migrant policy changed from assimilation to ultimately a multicultural policy in the two countries. This is the first time that any scholar has attempted to explain migrant policy in Canada and Australia in this way in as much depth as I have done, as well as compare the two experiences.
During the nationalist era—that is, from the late nineteenth century down to the 1960s—both English-speaking Canada and the Australian colonies identified themselves as an integral part of a wider British race. However, Britishness was always complicated in Canada by the presence of the French-Canadians. They could not identify with British race patriotism—they even felt excluded by it. Unlike their English-speaking compatriots in Australia, English-speaking Canadians had to share their country with a competing European founding group—one that had arrived before the British: the French-Canadians. This meant that expressions of British race patriotism in English-speaking Canada were more nuanced and problematic. This issue would arise repeatedly and goes a long way ← 223 | 224 → towards explaining the major differences between the English-speaking Canadian and Australian experiences.
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