July 26, 1987: Protesters say immigration laws are too lax

Thirty years ago, protesters at the Alberta legislature called for Canada to tighten its immigration laws.

A dozen Canadians gathered 500 signatures in 2 days for immigration revamp

From the archives: Protest about immigration laws

6 years ago
Duration 1:31
After a boatload of Sikhs arrived in Nova Scotia, Edmontonians voice their concerns over Canadian immigration law.

Thirty years ago, a group of Edmontonians took to the Alberta legislature to protest against Canada's immigration laws which they felt weren't strict enough.

Roughly a dozen citizens picketed the legislature building on July 26, 1987 and spoke to passersby about how those claiming refugee status can bypass the usual channels of entrance to Canada.

Earlier that month, 174 East Indian refugees, mostly Sikhs, landed on Nova Scotia's south shore, sparking national debate about the nation's immigration laws.

Protesters were pushing to get a new immigration law in place quickly and were hopeful the upcoming Bill C-55 would be more stringent about who can claim refugee status.

A woman signs a petition about Canada's immigration laws in 1987. (CBC)

The group may have been small, but in just two days had managed to collect 500 signatures of other Canadians who worried that Canada's immigration laws needed a revamp.

CBC's Rick Boguski went to the legislature to hear picketers' concerns firsthand.

It was obviously a hot day on July 26, 1987 when protesters - several of whom were shirtless - picketed at the Alberta legislature. (CBC)