Here's why Canada doesn't have a Caribbean province
Where in Canada can you spot dolphins, palm trees and beach parties in February?
In an alternate universe, the answer is Jamaica — one of a select few Caribbean islands that might have become Canadian provinces if history had unfolded a bit differently.
In the latest episode of The Secret Life of Canada, co-hosts Leah Simone-Bowen and Falen Johnson look at the historic connection between Canada and a number of islands and countries that make up the Caribbean.
In a wide-ranging episode, they revisit the early history of "West Indian" migration to Canada, explain why the Canadian railways relied on Caribbean manpower and connect the dots between a fleet of Sleeping Car Porters and a bustling black labour movement.
What you'll hear this episode
- When and why people from the Caribbean started coming to Canada.
- Canada's discriminatory policies toward black people from the region.
- How Jamaica, Barbados and The Bahamas almost became provinces of Canada, and who was for and against the idea.
- How Rihanna and Leah Simone-Bowen are related, or not. (Spoiler: Leah's working really hard to establish that link.)
- The story of Sleeping Car Porters, their history-chronicling spouses and their battle with CP Rail to form a union.
- How Winnipeg became a hub of the black labour movement
- How today's labour and immigration policies are still impacting people from the Caribbean.
- Interview with Sarah-Jane (Saje) Mathieu, assistant professor of history at the University of Minnesota.
- North of the Color Line: Migration and Black Resistance in Canada, 1870-1955. Book by Sarah-Jane Mathieu.
- Interview with Christopher Stuart Taylor, a historian and teacher at the Department of History at the University of Waterloo.
- Flying Fish in the Great White North: The Autonomous Migration of Black Barbadians. Book by Christopher Stuart Taylor.
- They Call Me George: The Untold Story of The Black Train Porters. Book by Cecil Foster.
- Passport to the Heart: Reflections on Canada Caribbean relations. Book by Trevor A. Carmichael.
- The West Indians in Canada. Book by James W. St. G. Walker.
- Caribbean Immigrants in Canada. Book by Julie Kentner.
- Tomorrow We're All Going to the Harvest: Temporary Foreign Worker Programs and Neoliberal Political Economy. Book by Leigh Binford.
- Caribbean immigrants: a socio-demographic profile by Wolseley W. Anderson
- Jamaica in the Canadian Experience: A Multiculturalizing Presence. A collection edited by Carl E. James and Andrea Davis.
- 'Only my hands are in Canada': A migrant worker's May Day wish. Essay by Gabriel Allahdua.