Friday, 29 April 2011
The Canadian West
The government was looking to attract settlers to Canada West during Laurier's time as president. During his era, acquiring more money and more people was important in Canada.
The world depression had just ended and there was a great demand for wheat. In the States, the free homestead period had ended. This increased Canada's appeal to immigrants. It was often hard however, to get people to settle in the hard, barren land of the prairies. Many people who did go there ended up travelling down to the States because of the harsh climate.
The government made posters that advertised Canada West's attributes. Clifford Sifton was in charge of the Immigration Department. They made thousands of posters, pamphlets, newspaper ads, and lectures to encourage immigration. Agents were hired to distribute the posters and pamphlets. A very common slogan was "The Last Best West". All depictions of snow and ice were banned for the promotional posters, so that the prairies would lose their reputation as a frozen wasteland. Sifton, as a westerner, was very committed to populating the area.
Government officials were even given a bonus if they convinced someone to settle in Canada West!
The posters were very effective, with their bright colors and promising slogans. But did they always tell the truth? Or did the Canadian government exaggerate?