It’s complicated and revealing: colonial Ireland and the making of Canada
The revelation for me in reading Fifty Irish Lives is that the Irish in Canada were a product of colonialism. The distinction is profound. Immigration is a spontaneous, voluntary movement of people from one country to another. Britain’s colonization of Ireland generated a three-centuries long outpouring of people. Immigration was more outcome than cause.
A series of statues in Dublin, titled 'Famine' by Norma Smurfit. The Great Irish Famine of 1845-1851 was a product of imperial rule in Ireland. It provoked a massive exodus of native Irish. In 1847, more than 106,000 fled to Canada, 20 per cent of whom died en route. They were refugees, not immigrants. Photograph courtesy of Flickr/William Murphy