CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Barbara Roberts

Ottawa, University of Ottawa Press, 1988. 246pp, paper, $24.95
ISBN 0-7766-0163-6. CIP

Grades 10 and up / Ages 15 and up
Reviewed by Barbara Camfield.

Volume 17 Number 5
1989 September

This book is a serious review of the use of deportation by the Canadian Department of Immigration during the early years of this century. There have been very few studies of deportation from Canada, and Whence They Came fills an important gap in the literature of immigration.

Relying on statistics published by the department, Roberts reports that the numbers of immigrants who were deported from Canada were stagger­ing. Between 1929 and 1930, twenty-seven to thirty-six people were de­ported for every one hundred who entered the country. From April 1929 to April 1935, a total of 17,229 deporta­tions, not including accompanying family members, were affected.

Roberts documents, through discussion of pertinent clauses of the Immigration Act, just how the Department of Immigration did not always follow the letter of the law in deportation cases. It was theoretically possible for an immigrant to be deported many years after arrival in Canada. It would appear that the Department of Immigration used deportation as a means of controlling unemployment, particularly during the Depression. Other grounds for deportation included diseases, like tuberculosis and venereal disease, vagrancy, prostitution, other immoral behaviour, insanity, criminal activities, and unacceptable political beliefs.

Whence They Came is a valuable examination of a poorly known phe­nomenon in Canadian history. The study has been thoroughly researched in archival documents, and the sources consulted are carefully footnoted. It would definitely be improved by the addition of an index. The casual reader would also find this thoughtful book more appealing by the addition of more personal accounts of the experiences of deported immigrants.

Barbara Camfield, Ottawa, Ont.
line indexes


1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


The materials in this archive are copyright © The Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission Copyright information for reviewers

Young Canada Works