Fairness and Tolerance

In 1957, Douglas Jung became the first Chinese Canadian elected to the federal Parliament of Canada (courtesy "The Province," Vancouver).

After Canadian citizenship was extended to eligible Chinese and Indo-Canadians in 1947, and in 1948 to the Japanese, barriers of discrimination began to fall. With citizenship came the right to work in professions such as law, engineering and pharmacy, and to hold public office. In 1957, the first Asian Canadian was elected to the House of Commons. Lawyer Douglas Jung, named by his father for Douglas Street, Victoria's main thoroughfare, was a veteran of the Second World War like his two brothers. The Jungs, like many Asian families here, had closer ties to Canada than to any other country. Many were by now second or third generation, with English as their first language.

Canada's move to a fair and tolerant society paralleled a growing international respect for individual freedom and human rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948, was drafted by a Canadian, John Humphries. Lester Pearson, later to become prime minister, served a term as president of the United Nations assembly and won the Nobel peace prize in 1957. In 1960, the Canadian Parliament passed Prime Minister John Diefenbaker's Bill of Rights, enshrining basic freedoms he had thought about since his student days.

Canada took the first step towards dismantling its "Whites-only" immigration policy in 1962, when it removed "country of origin" from the selection criteria. However, not until 1967 did Canada finally eliminate all discrimination of race or nationality from its immigration policies. Ever since, prospective immigrants are judged solely on the "points" system instituted then, which evaluates their education, fluency with English or French, age and other personal characteristics, and match of skills to Canada's needs. The year 1967 marked the beginning of a shift in Canada's immigration from European to non-European. At the same time, Europe itself was modernizing and Europeans were less likely to want to emigrate.

Learn more: Universal Declaration of Human Rights