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After the Second World War, Canadian military authorities helped to permanently resettle a unique movement of ‘preferred’ immigration to Canada: war brides and their children. They represent the single largest contiguous movement of migration to Canada, specifically through Pier 21. The war brides arrived in Canada at a time when the country’s doors remained largely closed to immigrants, due in part to the economic effects of the Great Depression.

In 1968, liberal elements within the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia initiated efforts to reform the communist regime from within. Various sectors of the country’s population increasingly resisted participation in communist-led organizations. On 5 January, Alexander Dubček, a Slovak reformer, replaced Antonín Novotný as First Secretary of the Communist Party. In April, Dubček announced a new political programme, “socialism with a human face,” (“socialismus s lidskou tváří”) which saw the implementation of reforms including the elimination of press censorship, the restoration of civic and individual rights, and the liberalization of the economy. As communist reformers implemented their own form of socialism, this period became known as the Prague Spring (Pražské jaro).

Some of the earliest European agricultural settlers in Canada’s Prairie West were Russian Mennonites. Two disparate political events provided a crucial framework for this movement. In 1870, Tsarist Russia overturned the guarantees and privileges originally granted to the Mennonite settlers, and in that same year, Canada purchased Rupert’s Land and began seeking group settlers to help colonize the territory.[1] The situation in Russia led many Mennonites to consider leaving Russia, and delegates visited both Canada and the United States to appraise the land available for settlement. As a result, about 7500 Mennonites arrived in Manitoba during the 1870s.[2] This movement to Manitoba is notable for scale and for its establishment of a formal and direct relationship with the federal government as a condition of settlement, an agreement called the Privilegium.