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In one of the most Draconian movements in the history of emigration, Britain's "surplus children," including orphans were sent to Canada as farm labour. Throughout the 17th and much of the 18th century, European colonial administrations, charged with overseeing what would become Canada, did not consider settlement a priority.
They filled working-class neighbourhoods and inflated majority fears of social evils previously dismissed as peculiar to the US.
For some years the Irish supplied the base of a working-class labour force necessary for the slow advance of communication, commerce and industry.
Nor was migration to the New World popular in France or Britain.
Adventurers, explorers and particularly traders acting for British or French interests feared the interference of settlers in the lucrative trade (Fur Trade).
Most British immigrants were far more inclined to seek out the more temperate climate and familiar social institutions of the British colonies to the south.
Many of Québec's new British rulers, content to leave the colony to languish as a quiet backwater of the Empire, were soon forced to accept many thousands of English-speaking, largely Protestant settlers displaced by the American Revolution.
However, policy eventually changed and colonial authorities carefully and slowly encouraged settlement in Canada.
It was their hope that settlers would guarantee the sovereignty of colonial land claims, Christianize Aboriginal peoples and exploit natural resources often on behalf of European investors.
Of these tens of thousands, many were Irish settlers, whose arrival in Canada initiated major social and economic changes.
In many respects the Irish were Canada's first enormous wave of foreign immigrants.