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PostPosted: Sat Jul 01, 2017 10:12 am
 


I'm writing this on the morning of Canada Day 2017, Canada's 150th anniversary, thinking about all the fascinating things I've read and the people I've met.

One thing that I've come across is how much time and effort we as Canadians spend trying to define exactly what being Canadian means.

Our American neighbours do not usually seem to have much of an issue over this, defining themselves as they do by the U.S. Constitution. The American Civil War was in many ways about whether the idea of equality of all people, regardless of their ancestry, or the idea of "states' rights", both enshrined in the Constitution, would prevail. A large part of the black civil rights movement was about demanding the recognition and respect for black Constitutional rights. Progressive Americans criticizing the actions of the George W. Bush administration say that its actions violated the Constitution.

In Canada, we spend a lot of time trying to figure out exactly what being Canadian means. Canadian governments have invested heavily in "nation-building" policies meant to try and build a national culture and connect different parts of the country together, both physically (through railways and highways) and culturally (through institutions like the CBC and the National Film Board, and policies like health care, multiculturalism and bilingualism). Immigrants from all over the world continue to make Canada more and more diverse. Quebec had two referendums on whether it wanted to stay part of Canada. Indigenous people demand recognition of their rights and identities, rejecting the idea of assimilating into the mainstream.

Different people have tried to answer the question. John Ralston Saul said that we are a "Metis" society, not in the sense that everyone is Metis, but that we are influenced in part by the British, French and Indigenous roots. Richard Gwyn said that Canada is the world's first "post-modern" country, one that is not centred on a particular ethnocultural identity, but whose identity is actually flexible and adaptable. An unknown author claimed that a Canadian was someone who "drank Brazilian coffee from an English teacup, while eating French pastry, sitting on Danish furniture after driving home from an Italian movie in their German car".

All of this led Irving Layton to quip that a Canadian is someone who keeps asking the question, "what is a Canadian?"

That said, there may in fact be a common thread running through all this, a fundamental truth about what Canada is:

Namely, that Canada is a country where many different groups have had to learn together and recognize each other's differences, while building a greater common identity out of it.

Mutual recognition has been part of Canadian history from the beginning. Different First Nations signed Treaties of mutual recognition with each other, then with European fur traders, and with the later French and English colonists who settled here. When Britain acquired New France, it had to balance the desires of its own British citizens with the desires of the French-speaking Canadiens, most notably through the Quebec Act. British Loyalists fleeing the American Revolution fled north into New France. Lord Durham analyzed the 1830s rebellions as "two nations warring in the bosom of a single state", while Robert Baldwin and Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine allied to bring true, responsible democracy to Canada.

Confederation has been described by the "compact theory" of it being an agreement between the provinces. The "two-nations theory" describes it as an agreement between Francophones and Anglophones. Other theories describe it as an attempt to create an entirely new nation. The different approaches of Macdonald and Laurier reflected different ways of seeing the country-either a centralized country, or one that gave more way to local concerns and autonomy.

As Canada expanded, the Indigenous people signed Treaties of with Canada that they considered to be agreements of mutual recognition and respect of each others' rights. The Metis, in the first Riel Resistance, demanded recognition of their religious and language rights by the federal government before becoming part of Canada. These agreements are still seen by the Indigenous people who signed them as legally binding, and requiring fulfillment by non-Indigenous Canadians, and as part of Canada's Constitution.

Many of the people who have immigrated to Canada often did so fleeing famine and persecution in their original homelands. Whether the Irish in the 19th century, blacks fleeing slavery, victims of Communism in the 20th century, or refugees from conflicts in places like Syria and Afghanistan, among others, they have all come seeking new homes and lives, bringing new cultures and influences to Canada.

More recently, there have been debates over how and when immigrants should be expected to conform to Canadian values and what those values are, how and when French- and English-minority communities should be recognized, the place of Indigenous people in Canada and the recognition of their rights, and whether multiculturalism should be replaced by interculturalism.

Other countries have had similar disputes, of course, but they have arguably not been defined by them to the extent that Canada has. Other countries have firmly established identities that have existed for centuries, or have had to forge new ones for themselves after fighting for independence, but the mutual recognition and compromise between different groups has been part of Canada from its start.

At its worst, this has led to violent conflict, and disgusting violations of the values we claim to hold as Canadians. At its best, this has led to our creating something beautiful and proud, that has done great things for the world, and greater than the sum of its parts.

This mutual recognition and compromise is not just part of Canada's past. It is very much a part of Canada's present, and will be part of its future. Continuing to build on our successes, while remembering and addressing our failures, will be a key challenge for Canada in the years to come.

Vive le Canada uni!


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2017 12:34 pm
 


I heard a great quip this morning on the subject. With the US, or Europeans, you can name a book or a film or some art that defines them.

Our culture really doesn't have that sort of thing we can point the rest of the world to and say "this is Canadian". As I recall Michael Adams saying; 'Canada's culture isn't for export. You have to live it.'


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2017 1:16 pm
 


JaredMilne wrote:
I'm writing this on the morning of Canada Day 2017, Canada's 150th anniversary, thinking about all the fascinating things I've read and the people I've met.

One thing that I've come across is how much time and effort we as Canadians spend trying to define exactly what being Canadian means.

Our American neighbours do not usually seem to have much of an issue over this, defining themselves as they do by the U.S. Constitution. The American Civil War was in many ways about whether the idea of equality of all people, regardless of their ancestry, or the idea of "states' rights", both enshrined in the Constitution, would prevail. A large part of the black civil rights movement was about demanding the recognition and respect for black Constitutional rights. Progressive Americans criticizing the actions of the George W. Bush administration say that its actions violated the Constitution.

In Canada, we spend a lot of time trying to figure out exactly what being Canadian means. Canadian governments have invested heavily in "nation-building" policies meant to try and build a national culture and connect different parts of the country together, both physically (through railways and highways) and culturally (through institutions like the CBC and the National Film Board, and policies like health care, multiculturalism and bilingualism). Immigrants from all over the world continue to make Canada more and more diverse. Quebec had two referendums on whether it wanted to stay part of Canada. Indigenous people demand recognition of their rights and identities, rejecting the idea of assimilating into the mainstream.

Different people have tried to answer the question. John Ralston Saul said that we are a "Metis" society, not in the sense that everyone is Metis, but that we are influenced in part by the British, French and Indigenous roots. Richard Gwyn said that Canada is the world's first "post-modern" country, one that is not centred on a particular ethnocultural identity, but whose identity is actually flexible and adaptable. An unknown author claimed that a Canadian was someone who "drank Brazilian coffee from an English teacup, while eating French pastry, sitting on Danish furniture after driving home from an Italian movie in their German car".

All of this led Irving Layton to quip that a Canadian is someone who keeps asking the question, "what is a Canadian?"

That said, there may in fact be a common thread running through all this, a fundamental truth about what Canada is:

Namely, that Canada is a country where many different groups have had to learn together and recognize each other's differences, while building a greater common identity out of it.

Mutual recognition has been part of Canadian history from the beginning. Different First Nations signed Treaties of mutual recognition with each other, then with European fur traders, and with the later French and English colonists who settled here. When Britain acquired New France, it had to balance the desires of its own British citizens with the desires of the French-speaking Canadiens, most notably through the Quebec Act. British Loyalists fleeing the American Revolution fled north into New France. Lord Durham analyzed the 1830s rebellions as "two nations warring in the bosom of a single state", while Robert Baldwin and Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine allied to bring true, responsible democracy to Canada.

Confederation has been described by the "compact theory" of it being an agreement between the provinces. The "two-nations theory" describes it as an agreement between Francophones and Anglophones. Other theories describe it as an attempt to create an entirely new nation. The different approaches of Macdonald and Laurier reflected different ways of seeing the country-either a centralized country, or one that gave more way to local concerns and autonomy.

As Canada expanded, the Indigenous people signed Treaties of with Canada that they considered to be agreements of mutual recognition and respect of each others' rights. The Metis, in the first Riel Resistance, demanded recognition of their religious and language rights by the federal government before becoming part of Canada. These agreements are still seen by the Indigenous people who signed them as legally binding, and requiring fulfillment by non-Indigenous Canadians, and as part of Canada's Constitution.

Many of the people who have immigrated to Canada often did so fleeing famine and persecution in their original homelands. Whether the Irish in the 19th century, blacks fleeing slavery, victims of Communism in the 20th century, or refugees from conflicts in places like Syria and Afghanistan, among others, they have all come seeking new homes and lives, bringing new cultures and influences to Canada.

More recently, there have been debates over how and when immigrants should be expected to conform to Canadian values and what those values are, how and when French- and English-minority communities should be recognized, the place of Indigenous people in Canada and the recognition of their rights, and whether multiculturalism should be replaced by interculturalism.

Other countries have had similar disputes, of course, but they have arguably not been defined by them to the extent that Canada has. Other countries have firmly established identities that have existed for centuries, or have had to forge new ones for themselves after fighting for independence, but the mutual recognition and compromise between different groups has been part of Canada from its start.

At its worst, this has led to violent conflict, and disgusting violations of the values we claim to hold as Canadians. At its best, this has led to our creating something beautiful and proud, that has done great things for the world, and greater than the sum of its parts.

This mutual recognition and compromise is not just part of Canada's past. It is very much a part of Canada's present, and will be part of its future. Continuing to build on our successes, while remembering and addressing our failures, will be a key challenge for Canada in the years to come.

Vive le Canada uni!

Interesting you mentioning John Ralston Saul! We are up north this week getting ready to sell our house there. I was gathering up read books to donate to community living in Saskatoon. Saul's book where he makes the Metis statement was in the donation pile. It's titleA Fair Country seems to sum up what I like about Canada. Fair to all it's people and peoples!


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2017 2:01 pm
 


Judging by the Prime Minister's Canada Day speech, a big part of what it apparently means to be Canadian is "to not be Albertan."


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2017 2:08 pm
 


Individualist wrote:
Judging by the Prime Minister's Canada Day speech, a big part of what it apparently means to be Canadian is "to not be Albertan."


That's why Scheer's comment last week that the Conservatives will do nothing to further Senate reform cuts so deep. The last vestiges of the "We Want Back In" cry from the Reform Party officially died.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2017 2:11 pm
 


Individualist wrote:
Judging by the Prime Minister's Canada Day speech, a big part of what it apparently means to be Canadian is "to not be Albertan."

Oh good grief, a slip up during a speech and we're gonna hear about it for years. :roll:


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2017 2:21 pm
 


fifeboy wrote:
Individualist wrote:
Judging by the Prime Minister's Canada Day speech, a big part of what it apparently means to be Canadian is "to not be Albertan."

Oh good grief, a slip up during a speech and we're gonna hear about it for years. :roll:

Yeah, a slip up from a former teacher who went from coast to coast with a big blop between B.C and Saskatchewan. Hardly a coincidence but keep rolling your eyes. I can only imagine the stink if Harper missed Quebec. We'd be hearing about for years.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2017 2:33 pm
 


DrCaleb wrote:
That's why Scheer's comment last week that the Conservatives will do nothing to further Senate reform cuts so deep. The last vestiges of the "We Want Back In" cry from the Reform Party officially died.


I was being somewhat facetious, as I don't believe Justin shares his father's and Marc Lalonde's passion for keeping Alberta, or the West in general, down and excluded from national affairs. It's no longer a case of the West being kept out so much as the rural and suburban populations of all regions being frozen out of the national debate. The dense cores of the major cities (including Calgary) are the new St. Lawrence watershed. Simply living in Ontario or Quebec is no longer sufficient to occupy the top tier of citizenship under this Liberal regime. This ain't your dad's Trudeau Liberals.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2017 2:42 pm
 


Individualist wrote:
DrCaleb wrote:
That's why Scheer's comment last week that the Conservatives will do nothing to further Senate reform cuts so deep. The last vestiges of the "We Want Back In" cry from the Reform Party officially died.


I was being somewhat facetious, as I don't believe Justin shares his father's and Marc Lalonde's passion for keeping Alberta, or the West in general, down and excluded from national affairs. It's no longer a case of the West being kept out so much as the rural and suburban populations of all regions being frozen out of the national debate. The dense cores of the major cities (including Calgary) are the new St. Lawrence watershed. Simply living in Ontario or Quebec is no longer sufficient to occupy the top tier of citizenship under this Liberal regime. This ain't your dad's Trudeau Liberals.


At this point, nothing about Trudeau Junior surprises me anymore.

I just facepalm and then start rubbing my temples.

But nobody besides Dr Caleb has any thoughts on this year's Reflection?


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2017 3:28 pm
 


It is much better then being american for sure.

Rej :rock:


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2017 4:03 pm
 


Tman1 wrote:
fifeboy wrote:
Individualist wrote:
Judging by the Prime Minister's Canada Day speech, a big part of what it apparently means to be Canadian is "to not be Albertan."

Oh good grief, a slip up during a speech and we're gonna hear about it for years. :roll:

Yeah, a slip up from a former teacher who went from coast to coast with a big blop between B.C and Saskatchewan. Hardly a coincidence but keep rolling your eyes. I can only imagine the stink if Harper missed Quebec. We'd be hearing about for years.

My God...you really think he planned that. Dude, get a bigger hat...your pickle is getting squeezed ... it needs oxygen.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2017 6:25 pm
 


He had placards.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2017 6:26 pm
 


What it means to be Canadian is watching your tax dollars being used to pay off a Convicted Terrorist.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2017 6:28 pm
 


Don't forget the apology. Wouldn't be Canadian with out it.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2017 8:34 pm
 


fifeboy wrote:
My God...you really think he planned that. Dude, get a bigger hat...your pickle is getting squeezed ... it needs oxygen.



So it seems you favour skipping Alberta on Canada Day, and announcing 10million
for lil Omar on the 4th, is because he really is that stupid.

Wonderful news.


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