Canada Migrations During the Vietnam War

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During the conflict against Vietnam, emigration reached its highest point in American history. People did immigrate to Canada prior to the Vietnam War, but the numbers were never as high as they are now. Different people fled the USA for a variety of causes. Opposition to the Vietnam War, the possibility of committing a draft offense, and others' assumption that they had already done so were a few of the justifications given. Many women also moved in great numbers because they followed their spouses. Unpopularity of the war was one of the major causes of draft evasion and resistance. The unpopularity of the Vietnam war justified avoidance and resilience of people which was catalyzed through Canada's social and political stand illustrated through the fair treatment, given to Americans who fled to Canada.

Records from Canadian Immigration and Citizenship, applications for Americans to acquire Canadian citizenship have become more than the usual ones. This is because U.S.A and Canada did not look at the intentions of the people who wanted to be citizens of the country which has tripled in the last twenty years. More than four hundred Americans who took up Canadian placement between 1968 and 1978, an estimated fifty thousand were draft-age males, and others, including members of the family of draft resisters, emigrated due to a direct reaction to foreign policy at the time. Some politicians had done some illegal activities in the military, for example, having strings pulled to receive some favors regarding treatment from the military officials, to secure safe posting. Most of the migrants were women. The women fled because of relationship, but there was another group that was in a resistance movement.They were against the Vietnam war because they did not understand the reason behind it. These activists were doing something regarding gender discrimination. Lara Campbell, the chair of the gender sexuality and women's in her university confirmed that half the number of people who had fled were women who make the Vietnam war to be remembered most. The U.S. represented the second most significant source of immigrants during that decade, accounting for about 20 percent of all immigrants to Canada. During the peak years of 1971 and 1972, nearly 50,000 individuals moved across the northern border.

In America for the government to get people who would join the forces they had to conduct a draft. A draft was a selective system of the United States that performed lotteries to determine the order to which they would call people to the military for the Vietnam War. These people were supposed to be born between the ages1944-1950.Draft evaders are the people who were required to sign to join the military forces in the Vietnam War. These people through intentional methods such as college, marriage and pretending to be sick tried to evade going to the war. There was also another group of people who were called the draft resisters and these are the people who had real reasons why they the war. These publicly showed disinterest in participating in the war. They did not want to join the forces through the following ways; trying not to register, not showing up for induction or even not taking the oath. There was yet another group that was called the draft dodgers who migrated to Canada because they were in opposition to the war, anticipating a draft fault or even assumed they had committed a draft offense. Most of the draft dodgers were in the military before refuting their duties.

Most of the US citizens did not believe that the war was with good intentions. This was evident from the way the Americans reacted to the war. Media played a significant role in telling lies to the government which caused a lot of confusion hence they lost in the war. The other ways that showed that the war was unpopular were the way most people escaped the country and went to Canada. Canada has been known for a long time to have social, political freedom. Canada on the other side did not resist emigrations showing its disapproval for the war. This has been traced down to the era when the loyalists left during the revolutionary war of supporting the British empire. Most of the Americans found refugee when there was slavery on the Underground Railroad, and the pioneers went to the north to search for soil which was rich. Also during the war against Vietnam, the Canadians welcomed the Americans who were fleeing their country. The fight against Vietnam brought about very high tensions, and mostly the causalities went high.

Canada socially played a huge role in the immigration of the Americans from the USA to Canada. The church, social activists, civil liberties groups, students and media participated in the influence of the fair treatment the Americans received from Canadians. The Canadian church for was involved in talking to the government to make laws that will enable the Americans to enter the country with a lot of ease. In Canada, there was freedom for religious practices. Religion has a lot of influence in the way people think. Canada is one of the spiritual countries with churches such as seventh day Adventists, the Catholics, and other world religions had a lot of influence on the people. Even after the Americans came to Canada, they got jobs like journalism, teaching in schools colleges and even universities without discrimination. Canada was also among the countries that joined the international commission of control and supervision but later refuted because they found it frustrating. This showed that the Canadians did not support the Americans on the war against Vietnam. However, they socially supported the Americans because of some people almost thirty thousand, although it was against the law to join the forces of America in the Vietnam war volunteered.

The Canadians also socially supported the war through media. The CBC radio and television covered what was happening in the battle for the Americans who had fled their country. This ensured that once the war was over, they would be able to return to their homeland or choose to remain in the state. Most of the people who fled decided to stay in the country. Through the coverage of the war by the Canadians, it showed that they had accepted them and chooses to help them.

The Americans who fled the war had a hard time before the Canadian law changed. The Americans had to pass through a very rigorous exercise before they could be accepted to enter in Canada. In 1967 Canada under Lester Pearson introduced two vital necessities for immigration. As from that October, prospective immigrants began to be assessed under a point coordination that required accomplishment of at least 50 from100 possible points. Points were distributed transversely in nine groupings: 20 for schooling and training, 15 for peculiar assessment, 15 for job-related demand, 10 for occupational skill, 10 for age, 10 for employment, 10 for knowledge of French and English, 5 for a relative, and 5 for employment opportunities in the area of residence.Although this did not eliminate prejudice, it did render the procedure more objective and predictable than it had been. This kind of treatment is still there up to date. To get 10 points for arranged employment one could make an application at the border. Those who got forty points faced a nerve-wracking underground return to the United States, with the possibility of being accused of a draft offense.The second key provision was explicit permission in the 1967 immigration regulations for visitors to Canada to apply for immigrant status. These circumstances that directed to this requirement twenty thousand outstanding visitor applications being detailed in July 1966 by Immigration Minister Jean in the House of Commons.Escalating numbers of on-the-spot immigrants in the end caused by abrupt withdrawal of the visitor application provision in November 1972.There the Americans had to find a way to cheat to be accepted in the country, so some people said they were going to study in Canada, some faked marriage, and medical conditions.

There was a political support also offered to the Americans who were refugees. It was a coincidence that the immigration department of Canada was making changes about the immigrants during the period which the Americans were planning to go to the Vietnam war. Therefore, a law had been passed to allow all the USA immigrants to the country unless they were fleeing their country for different reasons like the deserters who would be punished for breaking the law. The law also brought to an end the discrimination of the Americans against the Canadians. The bill also was made so public through media whereby in America if anyone was not comfortable they could just go to Canada where they could be welcomed without much explanation of why they were migrating. This indicated that Canada was not in support of the war in Vietnam. This to ensure that the immigrants didn’t have a rough time going on with their daily activities, they could access the social amenities like other citizens, they could obtain job opportunities like other people they could enjoy the freedom of movement and could even get married.

Some people although didn’t get a chance to meet the immigration requirements. Several groups tried to intervene without bearing fruits at all. It meant that they would be forced to spend all their years in underground limbo. These people were unlucky since they could not be able to enjoy the freedom their fellow Americans had. Some of them had no choice but to go back to their country but hoping they would not be caught. Most of the people who could not be accepted in Canada could be described as the rebels of the war against Vietnam; therefore, they could receive a strict punishment.

Although the Canadians didn't support the war in Vietnam, they helped in some way. The Canadians for a long time refused to help Americans to test weapons, but later the weapons used in the Vietnam war were tested in Canada. The Canadians also offered a hand in the production and supervision of ceasefires which were used in the battle against Vietnam. Trudeau, the president of the country, was reported that he welcomed the draft dodgers in his country because did not speak anything about the vast migration of the Americans to his country. This implies that he did not approve the battle against Vietnam because most of the people who were fleeing were the ones that could participate in the military service. He also warned the country against military spending for the war. Through the country not spending money on the military; the military could not support the Vietnam War. The women who too had fled had a significant role in the war because they could do some jobs which were less demanding in the war. Through the government of Canada not speaking against the immigration meant they didn’t like the idea of the Vietnam War.

There was a law that was passed that the Canadians should not volunteer to go to the united states of the American war in Vietnam. This indicated that they did not approve the fight. Although there was the law against anyone, who tried to go to help the Americans about thirty thousand citizens of Canada were involved in the battle. Even after the war the government did not punish those people who did break the law and joined the military forces in the war.Canada has been well known for the humanitarian actions it has towards refugees, but for this particular case of the Vietnam war, there was some influence which came through the provisions of the immigration act which mostly favored the most educated and those who had applications regarding the economy.

Also Michael Niren an immigration lawyer who is based in Toronto thinks that the number of immigration is not based on political figures but when you consider the graph of citizenship one will realize that the politically significant years are the one that shows the highest number of application for citizenship. The system favored the independent or economic immigrants who could be independent once they are in Canada. Hence qualities such as being well educated, under the age of forty and speaking English had the best chance to be admitted to Canada.

The unpopularity of Vietnam War justified the draft evasion and resistance because of Canada's political stand on migration and political immigration as illustrated through the fair treatment of the American refugees. More wars have occurred after the Vietnam War and the Canadians due to the enactment of the law that would allow the Americans to migrate to their country without any problems the Americans are still trickling into the country. Most of the people who fled during the Vietnam chose to stay, but a number of them returned after the war. Through this war, it is possible to understand that it is not pleasant for a government to choose to deal with issues without involving the citizens because they might resist cooperating. Even in our daily life, it is essential to learn to pick wisely the kind of wars we engage, seeking advice from reliable sources can save us from many situations.


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July 07, 2023

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