“None is too many”

The sentiment expressed by the director of the Government of Canada’s Immigration Branch, Frederick Blair, when he was asked, during the Second World War, how many of Europe’s persecuted Jews should be allowed to emigrate to Canada following the war.

The phrase has become a terse summation of Canada’s minimal efforts to save or provide haven to European Jews in the years leading to the Holocaust, and it encapsulates the anti-Semitism prevalent in the country at the time.1

The historians Irving Abella and Harold Tropper used Blair’s phrase as the title of their 1983 book on this shameful episode.

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  1. CBC Digital Archives, Auschwitz: Jews not welcome in wartime Canada.

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