What Are We Learning Today? 4.6 Examine historical perspectives of Canada as a nation.
Canada & Self-Determination Canada has evolved from a desire for independence, freedom, and self-determination. Step by step, through rebellions, elections, skirmishes, and debates, Canada gained independence from Britain. As this happened, Canada’s citizens conceived many visions of what the country was – and what it could be.
Canada East & West • In the early decades of the 19th century, many colonists in British North America wanted a greater say in their own affairs, which were controlled by Britain. • In 1841, the British gov’t merged Upper Canada, which mostly Anglophone, and Lower Canada, which was mostly Francophone, into a single province called Canada. Upper Canada, which is today southern Ontario, was renamed Canada West, and Lower Canada, which was southern Quebec, was renamed Canada East.
The Plan to Assimilate • The British plan was to assimilate Francophones into Anglophone culture. • The new province had one legislative assembly, made up of an equal # of representatives from Canada West and Canada East. However, the population of Canada East was much higher than that of Canada West, and English was the only language allowed in the legislature. • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Province_of_Canada
An Alliance In response, Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine, a political leader from Canada East, joined forces with Robert Baldwin of Canada West to demand responsible gov’t.
Why do you think alliances between English and French politicians were so important to unify Canadians?
Responsible Government • Responsible gov’t: a gov’t that answers to the ppl rather than to British-appointed governors. • The two knew that they would need to set aside their cultural differences and find a way of cooperating. For example, LaFontaine wanted Francophone culture to survive and Baldwin supported this goal. • Baldwin and LaFontaine’s successful bicultural initiative and their vision of Canada as an Anglophone-Francophone partnership became a model for future generations.
Those Arrogant Americans! When the United States Civil War ended in 1865, some Americans believed that Canada should be annexed (incorporated into the US). In 1866, the American House of Representatives even passed an act proposing that the US take over all Britain’s colonies in North America. (Figure 13-4, Figure 13-5)
Other Threats The economy of British North America was suffering as well due to restrictive trade laws put in place by Britain and the US. Francophones in Canada East were also afraid that their voices were being drowned out by the flood of immigration to Canada West, which had grown so much that Francophones were outnumbered by Anglophones.
A Coalition Formed In order to deal with these issues, a new coalition of political leaders emerged in the 1860s.
The Formation of Canada • Macdonald and Cartier had a common goal, to achieve independence and preserve Canada, including the French language and culture. • Macdonald and Cartier envisioned a union of Britain’s North American colonies and after long negotiations, a new country called Canada was created in 1867. • It compromised of the former province of Canada (which was divided into Ontario and Quebec), as well as Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
Representative & Regional Gov’t The British North America Act, which created Canada, defined two levels of representative and responsible gov’t. The federal gov’t was to look after national affairs, and the 4 provincial gov’ts would manage their own regional affairs. This arrangement ensured that Quebec could affirm and promote the French language and culture of the province’s Francophones.
Why do you think some politicians were so bent on seeing Canada stretch from the Atlantic to the Pacific? How did John A. Macdonald go about achieving this?
From Sea to Sea • As Canada’s territory and population expanded after Confederation, visions of the country began to evolve. John A. Macdonald’s dream of a country stretching from sea to sea became reality when the Canadian Pacific Railway opened Western Canada to settlement. • To pave the way, the federal gov’t negotiated treaties with the First Nations. Many traditional Aboriginal lands became gov’t property and First Nations ppls were moved to reserves.
Liberals Push For Immigration • Nevertheless, only a trickle of immigrants arrived in the West before Wilfrid Laurier became PM in 1896. Laurier believed that an unsettled West meant an undefended West, and his Liberal gov’t decided to do more to attract settlers.
Which types of immigrants do you think were most desirable by the Canadian gov’t?
Immigration Preferences • At first, the Liberals only targeted British and American immigrants because they believed that they would make the best homesteaders. But the Prairie population was still not increasing fast, so they looked to non-English speaking European countries. Soon, communities of Poles, Germans, Ukrainians, Finns, Norwegians, and others began to appear.
French Identity Threatened • As more ppl arrived in the West, new provinces were created and joined Confederation. The Prairies grew from 1.3 million ppl in 1911 to 2 million by 1921. (Figure 13-12) • This dramatic population increase changed the identity of Canada. As the country became more multicultural, ppl of British background were no longer the dominant cultural group. Francophones were also affected since most non-English-speaking immigrants chose to learn English rather than French. The Francophones became even a smaller minority.
A Shrinking Minority • As the ratio of Francophones in the Canadian population shrank during the early 20th century and as new, largely English-speaking provinces joined Confederation, the power and influence of Quebecois began to decline. (Figure 13-6) • As a result of their status as a shrinking minority, many Quebec Francophones came to believe that they had 3 options: • Accept their new position within Canada • Promote a vision of Quebec as a strong, independent province within Canada • Promote a vision of a sovereign Quebec
Suspicious of Immigration In the decades after Confederation, many Quebecois were suspicious of gov’t policies that encouraged immigration. Theybelieved that most immigrants would integrate into Anglophone society and that Francophones would be outnumbered. This possibly threatened their positions as equal partners in Confederation.
Against Conscription Though some Anglophones and allophones (ppl whose first language is neither English nor French) were against conscription in WW I & II, opposition was strongest among Francophone Quebecois. Many felt that they should not have to fight in “Britain’s wars.” This drove a wedge between many Quebec Francophones and must of the rest of Canada. Many Francophones believed that their interests were being ignored.
The Quiet Revolution Many Francophone Quebecois were ready to embrace what came to be called the Quiet Revolution. They wanted to modernize Quebec by improving social programs and the education system – but they also wanted to affirm and promote the French language and the culture of the province’s Francophones. To achieve their goals, many believed that Quebec must control immigration, social programs, industry, job creation, language laws, and some aspects of foreign policy.
Separatism vs. Federalism For some Quebecois, sovereignty was the only solution and in 1968, Rene Levesque and others founded the Parti Quebecois to promote independence. In the same year, Pierre Trudeau was elected prime minister. Trudeau was Quebecois, but his vision of the country was federalist. He believed in “two official languages and a pluralist society” and in 1969, his gov’t passed the Official Languages Act, which protected the language rights of all Francophones in Canada. (13-8)
Immigration & the New Canada Until the 1960s, Canadian policies favoured immigrants from Northern Europe and the US. The experiences of immigrants from other places, such as China, Caribbean countries, and Italy, were often difficult and sometimes traumatic. Many of these immigrants felt as if they were excluded from visions of Canada and were not regarded as Canadians, even when they had been born in Canada or had lived in Canada for many years.
What event in the late 19th century allowed Chinese immigrants to enter Canada?
Not Wanted When unskilled workers were needed to build the Canadian Pacific Railway, Chinese immigrants were welcomed to Canada. In 1885, however, the federal gov’t introduced the Chinese Immigration Act, which imposed a head tax of $50 on Chinese ppl who wanted to come to Canada. By 1904, this head tax had grown to $500 until 1923, when the gov’t banned almost all immigration from China. (Voices pg. 311)
Black Racism Black immigrants from the US suffered similar discrimination. Many came to the Canadian prairies to escape racism in their home states but this alarmed some Canadians, and the gov’t tried to discourage these black immigrants. For example, they were subjected to stricter medical tests than other immigrants. Even PM Wilfrid Laurier banned immigration of blacks for a year in 1911. He said the “Negro race…is deemed unsuitable to the climate and requirements of Canada.”
Immigration Policy Changes Discrimination in Canadian immigration occurred for decades until 1962, when changes to the Immigration Act opened Canada’s doors to ppl from all over the world. In 1971, the federal gov’t adopted a policy of “multiculturalism within a bilingual framework,” which once again altered Canada’s identity. Despite this official policy, many immigrants and Canadians continue to believe that their needs are not being met.
What Are We Learning Today? 4.5 Analyze methods used by individuals, groups and governments in Canada to promote a national identity.
What is an institution? An institution is an organization established for and united by a specific purpose. Institutions often use national symbols and stories in a variety of ways to define an identity and promote a sense of belonging.
Symbols & National Identity Ppl and gov’ts often use symbols to portray what they think is important about their country’s history, nationhood, and role in the world. What are some Canadian symbols? Why?
The beaver, for example, is Canada’s national animal. As a symbol, it appears on the five-cent piece to represent Canada’s history, as well as qualities ppl have come to associate with Canada and Canadians. And the loon is the source of the name “loonie,” the nickname for Canada’s $1 coin. (Figure 14-2)
Are Symbols Always Successful? Ppl in Canada and around the world associate a # of symbols with Canada: the Rocky Mountains, hockey, the Canada goose, and the maple leaf. When a symbol triggers an association (the maple leaf means Canada) then it is successful. Sometimes, however, symbols succeed in more limited ways. The loon, for example, is not widely known as a symbol of Canada, and the Canada goose can be considered a nuisance.
Creating National Myths According to French political thinker Ernest Renan, a nation is unified by 2 things: shared memories of the past and its ppl’s consent in the present – their desire to live together and affirm their heritage. Shared memories of a common history help unite ppls, but ppls also select the myths they want included in their national memory.
Are We All Farmers/Hunters? An early chapter of Canada’s national myth tells the story of mostly European pioneers who triumphed over nature. The gov’t used this story to create symbols and advertising that attracted settlers to Canada. But in the 21st century, the reality is that more than 80% of Canadians live in urban areas and few live completely off the land.
Are We Peacekeepers? Are we really a peacekeeping nation? Although many Canadians, as well as members of the int’l community, view Canada as a nation of peacekeepers, the numbers tell a different story. In 1991, Canada contributed more than 10% of all UN peacekeeping forces. 16 years later, this contribution amounted to less than 0.1%.
Can Canada continue to call itself a nation of peacekeepers if its forces are small and scattered around the world?
Do Myths Serve a Purpose? Some ppl believe that as long as myths serve a valid purpose, such as promoting national unity, facts are not important. But others say that national myths may sometimes be based on lies that promote the dominance of one social group over another. (Voices pg. 324)
Challenges of Canadian Unity When citizens believe they are treated fairly and equally, they are more likely to feel a sense of belonging to their country or nation. In a country as large and diverse as Canada, ensuring that all citizens feel as if they are treated fairly and equally presents many challenges and can affect ppl’s sense of national unity.
Canada is Huge! Canada is huge. It stretches from the Arctic and Pacific Sea coasts, over tundra and mountains, across prairies, past the Canadian Shield and the St. Lawrence lowlands, to the Appalachian region and the Atlantic coast. The geography of these regions is drastically different. (FYI pg. 347)
Inter-Regional Tensions • As a result, ppls in various regions have differing needs that are often dictated by the geography of the area where they live. These differences often create inter-regional tensions. • Explosive economic growth in Alberta, for example, has generated prosperity for many Albertans, but this has affected the Maritimes by persuading skilled workers to move west. And the effects of climate change cause difficulties in the North, but they may benefit farmers in southern Saskatchewan.