The Canadian identity has always been difficult to define. We, as
Canadians, have continued to define ourselves by reference to what we are not -
American - rather than in terms of our own national history and tradition. This
is ironic since the United States is continuing to be allowed by Canadians to
take over our economy and literally buy our country. Culturally Canada has its
own distinct government and institutions which differ and are better from those
in the United States, but economically the country has been all but sold out to
America. The major cultural differences to be examined are that of Canada's
strong government, institutions such as welfare and universal healthcare, and
our profound respect for law and authority. These establishments make Canada a
separate nation from the USA. Economically, it will be examined how Canada has
become a victim to Americanization through the purchase of Canada with our own
money, the shocking statistics of Canada's foreign ownership, and the final
payment for our country, free trade. All in all we have our own government, our
own flag, our own anthem; but are we really Canadian or a not quite United State
In Canada, strong government involvement plays an immense role in
determining the destiny of its people for the good of the society.
In Canada you are reminded of the government every day. It parades before you.
It is not content to be the servant, but will be the master...
Henry David Thoreau, 18861
Although slightly outdated, as of 1982 47.3 percent of Canada's GNP was
in government hands, compared with 38% in the United States. Government
spending in Canada was 24.4% greater than in the U.S. and if you subtract the
U.S.'s excessive national defense spending, the gap between the two countries
considerable widens.2 The United States has adopted a more Freudian "survival
of the fittest" concept towards government where the rights of the individual
are predominant and industry is publicly owned and run with little help from the
government. Although there is some government control and ownership of industry
in both countries it is much more common in Canada where "the state has always
dominated and shaped the ... economy."3
Of 400 top industrial firms, 25 were controlled by federal or provincial
governments. Of the top 50 industrialists, all ranked by sales, 7 were either
wholly owned or controlled by the federal or provincial governments. For
financial institutions, 9 of the top 25 were federally or provincially owned or
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Although Quebec is in Canada, a majority of Quebecers do not identify with the national identity of Canada. Both societies create a sense of identity as well as nationalism (Hiller, 295). Hiller mentions two approaches to assessing Canadian identity; the unitary approach and the segmentalist approach (Hiller, 277). The unitary approach suggests that society consists of people who regardless of their ethnic back ground, identify as belonging to the national society, while the segmentalist approach concentrates on groups and communities that share racial, linguistic, occupational, or cultural similarities (Hiller, 28). While most Anglophones are more unitary or pan-Canadian, Quebec heavily identifies with the segmentalist approach. This dissimilarity of identity perspective may be problematic for the country, at the same time however, it can also be viewed as a struggle where contradictory parties find a way to compromise and reshape Canadian society together (Hiller, 277). Canada’s former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau made it his objective to unite Quebec with the rest of Canada. In 1969 Trudeau’s government implemented Bill C-120, otherwise known as the Official Language act, which made French an...
Is Canada a nation or has its control just switched empirical hands? As Professor Hutcheson asked, did Canada go from "Colony to Nation or Empire to Empire?" This question has greatly influenced Canada's changing identity since her birth as a British colony with Confederation in 1867 to the present day. The purpose of this essay is to critically analyse the shifting Canadian identities between the years 1890 to 1960. The objective is to illustrate Canada's transforming identity by using the novels The Imperialist by Sara Jeanette Duncan, Barometer Rising by Hugh MacLennan, and Fifth Business by Robertson Davies and to connect the stories of each of these works of fiction to the varying political, economic, and social issues of their times. Each book is written by a prominent author, and portrays an accurate reflection of the demanding political, economic, and social concerns throughout the late nineteen and first half of the twentieth century of Canadian history. All of the novels reflect Canada's peripheral view of the world, as opposed to a central point of view, because throughout its history Canada has always been perceived as a secondary player. As George Grant says in his literary piece Lament for a Nation, Canada is "a branch plant society" , meaning Canada is controlled by another power. The essential question is where has Canada's loyalties traditionally lay and how has this shaped the Canadian identity. The Imperialist by Sara Jeanette Duncan, written in 1904 reflects a very British influenced Canada. At this time, Canada is still a British colony under British rule, and the people of Canada are very content to consider themselves British. The novel predominately ill...
To draw a conclusion it is inevitable to highlight the significance change not only to Canada´s self-understanding, but also in the world´s appearance that the Statute of Westminster caused. It was the last of the Imperial Acts of the Parliament of Great Britain applicable to all dominions and therefore it marks the end of the great, superordinate British Empire which was one of the major forces throughout many centuries in history. Even though the Commonwealth technically remains, new autonomous countries were finally able to be more than just an extension of the the mother-country. Thus, many of them became remarkable powers with an own identity and own intentions on the world stage themselves, such as the country we live in, Canada.
Today Canada and the United States are major trading partners, allies, and two neighboring countries with a long history of cooperation with each other. But is it possible for Canada to protect its independence and culture living next door to the country so powerful and rich as the United States. Since the Canadian confederation, Canada started developing relations with the U.S. As the years passed by, Canada began to relay on the United States in the national defense. Many Canadians think that the military, political and economical dependence would not make a difference to their daily life. But today more then even Canadian culture is affected by the American influence. Media, American artists, economic dependence, American propaganda and political pressure from the United States is making Canada too Americanized. All of these factors reflect on the social life of ordinary Canadians threatening the heritage and the traditions that define Canada as independent country.
The Dual Nation Theory took its heading starting in 1960, with the beginning of the sovereignty movement (Gorman, Robert F. 2008. 2018-2020). It truly took off, however, with the Quiet Revolution, where the idea of “maîtres chez nous” and the shift from being a distinct part of Canada to Quebec being a nation in its own right begins to take hold. Québécois nationalism defined Confederation as being an agreement between two peoples: the French and the English. “Quebec constitutes within Canada a distinct society, which includes a French-speaking majority, a unique culture and civil law tradition” (Chotalia, 1993). This is significant to mention because this is the theory that ultimately leads to the Three Nation Theory.
The culture of Canada refers to the shared values, attitudes, standards, and beliefs that are a representative of Canada and Canadians throughout Canada's history, its culture has been influenced by American culture because of a shared language, proximity, television and migration between the two countries. Overtime, Canadian-American relations have helped develop Canada’s identity during the years 1945-1982; thus introducing changing social norms , media and entertainment. In support of this, due to the United States being approximately 9.25 times larger in population and having the dominant cultural and economic influence it played a vital role in establishing Canada’s identity. With Canada being its neighbour, naturally, the United States would influence their way of life upon Canada. In other words,
Many people across the globe argue that nationalism within Canada is simply not feasible. It is said that we as a people, differ so greatly with our diverse cultures, religions, and backgrounds that we cannot come together and exist together as a strong, united nation. In his book, Lament for a Nation, George Grant tells the reader that “…as Canadians we attempted a ridiculous task in trying to build a conservative nation in the age of progress, on a continent we share with the most dynamic nation on earth. The current history is against us.” (1965) Originally directed towards the Bomarc Missile Crisis, the book argues that whatever nationalism Canada had was destroyed by globalization as well as the powerful American sphere of influence. Although it is true that the book was initially written as a response to the events that took place in the late 1950s, many of the points are still valid today.
The first thing we should examine is what exactly is meant by “strong national identity”. A very good example of strong national identity is the U.S.. I doubt there is a man on this planet who is not familiar with the U.S.. People immediately recognize their flag, and most people can tell you quite a bit about them. The same is true of Canada, and what do they know of Canada? In 1995 U.S. President Bill Clinton stated his view of Canada in a speech where he declared, “Canada has shown the world how to balance freedom with compassion and tradition with innovation, in your efforts to provide health care to all your citizens, to treat senior citizens with the dignity and respect they deserve...”(Canada Today 9). We were also rated first in the UN’s 1992 “Human Development Index” (9).
Multiculturalism is a significant fabric of Canadian society that defines its unique identity among the rest of the world. Enactment of the Canadian multicultural policy (1971) affirmed government position and recognition of multiculturalism as a vital element of Canada. It is imperative to understand that multiculturalism is a static concept that keeps changing overtime and has a multidimensional entity. Canadians have always and will continue to revise the concept of multiculturalism to suit the ever expanding needs of Canadian society. In this paper, I will evaluate the reasons behind Canada’s adoption of multicultural policy and assess whether the policy should be maintained or not. I will defend the thesis that Canada’s multiculturalism
Much has been written about the ways in which Canada's state as a nation is, as Peter Harcourt writes, "described" and hence, "imagined" (Harcourt, "The Canadian Nation -- An Unfinished Text", 6) through the cultural products that it produces. Harcourt's terms are justifiably elusive. The familiar concept of "Canadian culture", and hence Canadian cinema, within critical terminology is essentially based on the principle that the ideology of a national identity, supposedly limited by such tangible parameters as lines on a map, emerges from a common geographical and mythological experience among its people. The concept that cultural products produced in Canada will be somehow innately "Canadian" in form and content first presupposes the existence of such things as inherently Canadian qualities that can be observed. Second, it presupposes a certain commonality to all Canadian artists and posits them as vessels through which these said "inherently Canadian qualities" can naturally flow. Third, it also assumes the loosely Lacanian principle that Canadian consumers of culture are predisposed to identify and enjoy the semiotic and mythological systems of their nation, and further connotes that Canadians have fair access to their own cultural products. Since these assumptions are indeed flawed but not altogether false, this paper will deal with the general relationship between the concept of Canada, its cultural texts, and its mythological and critical discourse as an unresolved problematic that should be left "open" in order to maximize the "meaning potential" of films as cultural texts within the context of "national identity," an ideological construct that remains constantly in flux.
The controversy over Canada and America, and who takes after whom has been around for many years. Canada and America are puzzles, two countries that are home to millions of people, living in relative comfort and health. We both have become nations through the help of each other and other nations. Yet, Canada has its own identity as a delightful complexity of cultures and customs, government and heroes. On the other hand, Canadians are simply not Americans by government and technology.
The debate about British Identity has been prominently featured in recent years as a public concern. The foundation of British Identity was based on the act of union in 1801 between England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland that created Great Britain. Heath and Roberts describe this identity as “a relatively recent construct and was gradually superimposed on earlier national identities of English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish” (2008:4). The four nations were unified mainly because of the political and economic project of the British Empire that developed a shared agenda and The Second World War which melted the distinctive differences between the constituent nations (Ward, 2004). According to Colley, the interests that unified the nations do not exist and even if they do” they are less distinctive” (1992). Although there is identification with Britishness, it is noticeable that Britons hold a stronger allegiance to their primary nation. The British Identity is decreasing as many writers suggested, and this is due to many different trends and influences such as globalization, immigration and communication (Heath and Roberts, 2008). This essay highlights some of the reasons of the decline in the British national identity and the rise of the consentient nation’s sentiment. This is approached by firstly considering the internal factors of the devolution of power to Scotland and Wales, and secondly the external factor of immigration and will analyze the relationship between age and identification with a nation.