Introducing the Concept of “Middle Stock” into the Social-Political Discourse

Changes in immigration regulations in 1967 resulted in the adoption of a universal point system in assessing prospective immigrants, irrespective of country of origin or racial background (P.C. 1967-1616). The 1967 immigration regulations reflected Canada’s attempt to compete for skilled labour around the world, although other factors were also influencing the change of policy (Li, 1992a).

In the 1940s and 1950s, immigration to Canada was made up almost exclusively of immigrants from Europe. For example, in the post-war years from 1946 to 1953, Canada admitted slightly less than 1 million immigrants into Canada, about 96 percent of whom came from Europe; British immigrants alone accounted for 35 percent of this stream of immigration (Statistics Canada, 1965).[i]

Both sets of my grandparents immigrated to Canada in the late1940s, after the World War destroyed much of central Italy. The concept I am introducing of ‘Middle Stock’ is meant to distinguish and provide much needed nuance to those European immigrants who came before the 1967 change to the immigration policy, like my grandparents, whose descendants do not necessarily feel themselves to be either “Old Stock,” representing the founding nations of the English and French, nor as being represented or belonging to the mostly non-European “New Stock” who arrived mostly after the change in the nation’s immigration system. Like the “White Australia” policy, the pre-67 immigration system was based on the idea of place of origin and commonsense assimilation,  whereas the post-67 immigration necessitated a change in social policy to the adoption of an official policy of multiculturalism in 1971, resulted in a change in the very character of the nation, as well as demographics. This group of ‘Middle Stock,’ corresponds to Novak’s notion of PIGS, ‘an acronym for Polish, Italian, Greeks, and Slavs, with the Irish as somewhere in-between. The idea of labeling this vast group of heterogeneous European immigrants, as “Middle Stock” may include a kind of psychological dimension – “Middle Stock Syndrome” – recalling the notion of “middle child syndrome” developed by Jewish psychologist Alfred Adler.  Alder, himself a middle child, devised the theory that:

“Middle children often feel left out and invisible, a contrast from their older and younger siblings. While older children get the benefits of all of the ‘firsts’ a child accomplishes, younger children benefit from the emotional impact of being the baby of the family, often being spoiled and coddled. Middle children, however, often feel as though they have nothing special that is just ‘theirs.’”[ii]

My contention is that this psychological dimension can be suitably applied to the idea of ‘Middle Stock Canadians.’ While the ‘Old Stock’ are assured of their place as “founding nations,” codified in the British North America Act, and the ‘New Stock’ is babied by an aggressive assertion of the values of multiculturalism and policies like minority hiring practices in both private and public sector, as well as an overrepresentation in the news media, the ‘Middle Stock,’ like the middle child in a family, is left marginalized and neglected by the parent.

“Privileged” Italian immigrant workers constructing a sewer in Toronto.

Unlike ‘New Stock Canadians,’ Middle Stock often faced explicitly hostile forms of discrimination. The road for Italian ‘Middle Stock’ specifically was especially harsh, in so far as “the southern Italians, by virtue of their darker skin colouring, were at times virtually ascribed the status of a visible minority,”[iii] without any of the contemporary benefits of such stigmatization. Although the term “visible minorities” only “received official recognition in 1984 when Commissioner Rosalie S. Abella identified this group as constituting one of the four designated categories in the Royal Commission Report on Equality in Employment, in accordance with the terms of reference of the commission (Canada, Royal Commission on Equality of Employment, 1984).”[iv] One would almost except that Rosalie S. Abella, the first Jewish woman to sit on the Canadian Supreme Court bench, who coined the term ‘employment equity,’ to disadvantage white males in favor of women, visible minorities, people with disabilities and aboriginals, if one held onto a view that Jews represent a hostile elite.[v] “The introduction of the term ‘employment equity’ is no mere practice in social justice neologism but instead designates an action oriented shift from the emphasis on access called ‘equal opportunity’ and process called ‘affirmative action’ to results,”[vi] this essentially means that even woefully under qualified minorities and recent immigrants from an official visible minority background would be given preference in hiring practices in order to fill ‘race quotas.’ This kind of aggressive results based affirmative action was skillfully lampooned as absurdity as late as 1970 in a short Horatian satirical essay by Daniel Boorstin. Boorstin describes how the New Left proposes to enact the “New Equality” ensured by ‘Ethnic Proportionalism’ based on the ‘Ethnic Quotient’ and the ‘Merit Quotient,’ “which translates into mathematical symbols ‘all the satisfactions, privileges, pleasures, sufferings, and punishments enjoyed or undergone by anybody’s ancestors’ so that these historical imbalances can be redressed with scientific precision.”[vii] Of course when the time for addressing historical grievances finally arrived the ‘Ethnic Quotient’ was transformed to a racial one and ‘white ethnics’ who had real historical grievances of exploitation and discrimination, were sidelined and assimilated into the same camp of their exploiters in favor mostly of hypothetical future disadvantages of newly arriving immigrant groups with no historical beef with the nation:
“The share of visible minorities has increased among immigrants who came in the more recent decades. The 2011 NHS data showed that visible minorities accounted for 78.0% of the immigrants who arrived between 2006 and 2011, 76.7% of those who arrived in the previous five-year period and 74.8% of immigrants who arrived in the 1990s. In contrast, visible minorities made up 12.4% of immigrants who arrived before 1971. During the 1970s, this proportion more than quadrupled to 53.0% and further increased to 67.4% of those who arrived in the 1980s.”

Irish “privilege”

In effect Canada was implementing a policy which treated immigrant groups with no or little historical connection to the nation or Western Civilization more favorably than groups who paid the high cost of assimilation. This may be an example of what Charles Dickens called “telescopic philanthropy,” or what Mario Procaccino termed “limousine liberal,” to describe the insulation of elites like John Lindsay from the progressive agendas they shoved down the throats of white ethnics. Lindsay’s career incurred the wrath of ethnic unions – one time IRA member and Transport Workers Union of America leader, Michael Joseph Quill shut down subway and bus services on Lindsay’s first day as mayor.
Thus the subsequent Employment Equity Act of 1986, which would improve employment opportunity for these groups, subsequently left out Southern, Eastern and other Middle Stock Europeans, despite the real and historical disadvantages, discrimination and sacrifices they actually tackled, in favor of mostly hypothetical future disadvantages encountered by ‘New Stock Canadians,’ who had zero or very little connection to the nation. “In the 1986 census, Statistics Canada operationalized membership in a visible minority to include respondents who chose any one of ten origins in the ‘ethnic origin’ question: Black, Indo-Pakistani, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, South East Asian, Filipino, Other Pacific Islanders, West Asian and Arab, and Latin American, excluding, Argentinean and Chilean.”[viii] The conflation of Italians and other Middle Stock with a hegemonic ‘white categorization’ systematically denied historical realities and grossly misrepresents the complex group affiliations of members of these groups. Subsequently, this problematic ‘middle position’ more specific to Southern Europeans, between often being a ‘visible minority,’ but not experiencing the systemic benefits of this marginality conflated with the actual reality of the type of hard labour and discrimination they engaged in, means that their legacy in Canada is one of historic and on-going discrimination, sandwiched between both the Old and New Stock forms of systematic oppression.
“The Italian Fallen Workers’ Memorial project have documented more than 770 names to date” of Italian immigrants who died on the job. “Italian immigrants first arrived in Canada in large numbers in the late 19th century to work in mining, railway construction and other hazardous sectors. Following World War II, 500,000 more arrived to help fuel Canada’s post-war economic boom. This generation of immigrants found similar work as well as jobs in the growing construction industry as labourers and artisans.”[ix] This list of 770 dead is only partially representative of the Italian victims of work related accidents, limited to the province of Ontario and complied largely by individual effort of Marino Toppan without assistance of the Ministry of Labour or the Compensation Board because of the Privacy Act.[x]


Italian Fallen Workers’ Memorial – Empty Honours

Because of the history of ruthless exploitation of Italian and other Middle Stock labourers, interventionist social policies such as the Equity Employment Act, that discriminates against the posterity of such groups who were historically exploited and discriminated against, at times making the ultimate sacrifices for the building of the nation, even fighting and dying against their own ethnic nation during WWII in some cases, constitutes a continued legacy of discrimination against Middle Stock Canadians.

There are also marked differences between earlier waves of European immigration constituting Middle Stock compared to newer waves constituting non-European New Stock. The major contention beyond place of origin is the changes in the economy brought about by globalization within that time span. Specifically, the economy during Middle Stock waves of immigration was prospering, Canada was experiencing a post-war economic boom and immigrants were largely expected to perform specific difficult labour tasks that contributed to the economic expansion. Conversely immigrants today are coming at a time when the West is shrinking economically in relative terms to the ascendency of the rest of the world, effectively creating a situation in which competition for jobs, especially good jobs, is fierce. During this timeframe the justifications for immigration has changed from one of fulfilling specific labour needs to one of justification on the basis of itself (immigration for immigrations sake usually justified as a ‘human right,’) rather than an actual societal need. The one statistic that is often offered as the raison d’etre for mass immigration is an aging population and declining birth rates, however in a people concerned with their own self-preservation, possessing a healthy mentality and will to live, this should raise alarms regarding ethno and racial collective suicide and replacement – rather than going gently into that night. Not only has the prosperity of the West and the Anglosphere precipitously diminished in relative terms but also the nature of the economy has itself changed. From one of production (goods-producing) oriented to one of service based industries. “Gradually, the manufacturing jobs that were the economic backbone of cities in the industrial north would be replaced by service industry jobs where not even two wage earners could support a family.”[xi]
This change has been a gradual process; in 1911 about 66% of the working population was employed in the goods-producing sector and 33% in the service industry; by 1987 the ratios were reversed.[xii] According to a study conducted by the Fraser Institute these numbers are a bit off, with 70% of the working population producing services as early as 1981.[xiii] In effect the initial growth of service industries was as ancillaries to goods-producing industries, the negative implications of a service industry based economy is going to be catastrophic in the long run.
This unprecedented form of reverse discrimination compounded by the actual discrimination faced by white ethnic Middle Stock Canadians makes the absurdity of special programs like Employment Equity that much more sickening, as lower middle class white ethnics and their children would also have to foot the bill in the social costs of increased and favorable competition for their livelihoods to outside groups. These non-white economic migrants who are favored than enjoy the benefits of wages that white ethnic solidarity fought to secure. The reality, is that the nation was neither created nor sustained nor built on a foundation of peoples of diverse racial backgrounds but rather of different European groups, many of whom, the Irish and the PIGS, were ruthlessly exploited economically by a ruling class in cities that “were militantly ant-labor and instinctively repressive to the immigrants who were the basis of their wealth in the city.”[xiv] Thus the overwhelmingly vast majority of those who benefit from these discriminatory and in anti-liberal (if we mean classical liberalism rather than the progressivism it has assumed) programs have no legitimate historical grievances or connection with the nation.


Chinese Privilege

The contemporary immigration for immigration’s sake mentality is occurring due to a lack of self-preservation, nativist, nationalist, and racial sentiment, which for various reasons have been vilified as unpopular, marginal, parochial, narrow-minded, xenophobic, bigoted and perhaps the most pernicious contention is that holding these attitudes and opinions were not only unfashionable but against the tide of historical progress itself. Something is seriously amiss while countries such as China and India are growing exponentially economically, the West is rolling out the welcome mat for immigrants from these same countries and giving them and their children priority in ours.



Canada’s new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (bottom row C) poses with his cabinet after their swearing-in ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa November 4, 2015. REUTERS/Chris Wattie – RTX1URF7


Trudeau’s cabinet lauded for its “diversity” has only one member who may be considered Middle Stock, Patty Hajdu, who appears to be of Hungarian background. This compared to 25 Old Stock, and six New Stock, clearly Middle Stock syndrome reflects a real neglect from the parent. Colour coded – Old Stock, Middle Stock, New Stock.

  1. FRONT ROW, from left to right: Ralph Goodale, Jody Wilson-Raybould, Stephane Dion, Chrystia Freeland, Justin Trudeau, David Johnston, John McCallum, Judy Foote, Lawrence MacAulay, Carolyn Bennett, Kent Hehr
  2. MIDDLE ROW, from left to right: Scott Brison, Marie-Claude Bibeau, Navdeep Bains, Diane Lebouthillier, Jean-Yves Duclos, MaryAnn Mihaychuk, Marc Garneau, Catherine McKenna, Bill Morneau, Mélanie Joly, Dominic LeBlanc, Jane Philpott
  3. BACK ROW, from left to right: Carla Qualtrough, Jim Carr, Kirsty Duncan, Amarjeet Sohi, Bardish Chagger, Hunter Tootoo, Patty Hajdu, Harjit S. Sajjan, Maryam Monsef




[iii] 388.
[iv] Lee, Danielle. Social differentiation patterns and processes. Toronto Buffalo: University of Toronto Press, 2003. Print. 128.
[vi] MM Bruce Equal opportunity, affirmative action, employment equity: One city’s experience – Canadian Woman Studies, 1985 – cws.journals.yorku.c

[vii] Boorstin, Daniel. The Sociology of the Absurd: Or: The Application of Professor X. March 1, 1970. Simon and Schuster.
[viii] Lee, Danielle. Social differentiation patterns and processes. Toronto Buffalo: University of Toronto Press, 2003. Print. 129.
[x] Jones, E M. The slaughter of cities : urban renewal as ethnic cleansing. South Bend, Ind: St. Augustine’s Press, 2004. Print. 606.
[xi] Jones, E M. The slaughter of cities : urban renewal as ethnic cleansing. South Bend, Ind: St. Augustine’s Press, 2004. Print. 202.
[xiii] Grubel, Herbert G., and Michael Walker. Service industry growth : causes and effects. Vancouver: Fraser Institute, 1989. Print. 4.
[xiv] Jones, E M. The slaughter of cities : urban renewal as ethnic cleansing. South Bend, Ind: St. Augustine’s Press, 2004. Print.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s