Good Material: Canada and the Prague Spring Refugees

Laura Madokoro

Abstract


In August 1968, the Soviet Union sent troops into Czechoslovakia to crush the burgeoning spirit of reform known as the “Prague Spring.” The Soviet invasion and the return of oppressive government measures triggered the flight of twenty-seven thousand people, eleven thousand of whom came to Canada.Using newly released archival records, this paper explores how the Canadian government approached the refugee crisis and argues that confident officials, buoyed by a charismatic leader and operating in an era of improved East-West relations, manipulated the conventional definition of a refugee and consciously adopted policies that enabled large numbers of Czechoslovakian refugees to resettle in Canada.


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