Guarding the Gates

The Canadian Labour Movement and Immigration, 1872-1934

David Goutor

  • Published: 2007
  • Subject Listing: Political Science, Canadian History, Labor History
  • Bibliographic information: 288 pp., 6" x 9"
  • Territorial rights: U.S. rights only
  • Distributed for: UBC Press
  • Contents

From the 1870s until the Great Depression, immigration was often the question of the hour in Canada. Politicians, the media, and an array of interest groups viewed it as essential to nation building, developing the economy, and shaping Canada’s social and cultural character. One of the groups most determined to influence public debate and government policy on the issue was organized labour, and unionists were often relentless critics of immigrant recruitment. Guarding the Gates is the first detailed study of Canadian labour leaders’ approach to immigration, a key battleground in struggles between different political factions within the labour movement.

Guarding the Gates provides new insights into labour, immigration, social, and political history. It will be valuable not only to readers interested in the internal politics of social movements, but to everyone concerned with long-standing debates about Canadian national identity, and gender, ethnic, and race relations.

David Goutor is a Canadian historian and an assistant professor in the Labour Studies Programme at McMaster University.

"Guarding the Gates provides intriguing historical insight into one of Canada’s most pressing contemporary social issues. Anyone interested in immigration, the labour market, multiculturalism, or racism will benefit from reading this thought-provoking book."
- Gregory S. Kealey, Founding Editor of Labour/Le Travail and author of Workers and Canadian History

"Essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the history of racism and human rights in Canada. David Goutor perceptively analyses the racialization of various groups, in conjunction with the forging of certain forms of class and gender identities. His informative and sensitive book also sheds light on the history of labour politics, social reform, immigration policy, and the politics of nation-building."
- Ruth A. Frager, co-author of Discounted Labour: Women Workers in Canada, 1870-1939

Part 1: Issues and Arguments
1. Guarding the Gates
2. Setting the Stage: Labour, Industry, and Immigration in Canada, 1872-1934

Part 2: Labour’s Anti-Asian Agitation
3. The Bounds of Unity: Opposition to Chinese Immigration, 1880-87
4. The "Old Time Question": The Campaign for Exclusion, 1888-1934

Part 3: Labour and Atlantic Immigration
5. Superfluous People: Labour’s Construction of Immigrants from Europe and the British Isles
6. Importing Victims: The Assault on the Commerce of Immigration

Part 4: Immigration, Ideology, and Politics
7. Immigration, Joseph Arch, and the Producer Ideology, 1872-79
8. Imported Labour, the Tariff, and Land Reform, 1880-1902
9. Retreat, Corporatism, and Responsible Management, 1903-34