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The history and evolution of Canadian nationalism


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Canadian nationalism has been declared extinct by its present prime minister, but Canada is far from being a "post national state".   After methodically describing the history and evolution of Canadian nationalism through today, this chap concludes that Canada is forever doomed to define itself as "not American" because the newer left-wing brand of Canadian nationalism, just like the previous right-wing, pro-British brand of nationalism,  demands exactly that.   Hating America at some level is essential to this exercise and political framework, and has been from the very beginning.

Will Canada ever be able to define its national identity and place in North America without using the United States as an essential foil ?  

 

 

Edited by bush_cheney2004
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I'm unable to watch the video, but I have always agreed with this essential premise of your presence here.   

 

I attribute our attitudes in this front to a kind of jealousy of our neighbours, and an unnecessary one.

 

We can be whatever we like, but we can't be post nationalist and also 'NotAmerikkan'.  That's a kind of a nationalist identity and a negative one.

 

Surely a country that finds ways to work with Cuba, Haiti, China and Saudi Arabia could show a little more accommodation for our half-brother in the south.

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4 hours ago, Michael Hardner said:

We can be whatever we like, but we can't be post nationalist and also 'NotAmerikkan'.  That's a kind of a nationalist identity and a negative one.

 

Surely a country that finds ways to work with Cuba, Haiti, China and Saudi Arabia could show a little more accommodation for our half-brother in the south.

 

Well, Canadians (and Americans) do find accommodation at the personal and practical level across millions of lives, but the aggregate nationalist identity still demands a purposeful separation and rejection to exist.   This is not just a Canadian attribute, but Canada's history made it much more likely and enduring, and even persists domestically with Quebec.

The Americans initially defined their national identity as fiercely not British, but this gave way to an American nationalism that was no longer challenged or threatened by a declining British Empire, with the United States creating it's own identity and history on its way to becoming a world superpower.   Being British is now just a punchline in Hollywood movies and actors with bad teeth.

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Most Americans, including myself, do not hate Canada.   If anything, we are guilty of being quite indifferent towards Canada without a complete understanding of how the national relationships have evolved over time.  

It is far more interesting to hear a Canadian (i.e. this YouTube video) explain the evolution of Canadian nationalism from a very Canadian perspective, without the tactical poop flinging across the border for fun and games.

Canada's shift from right-wing to left-wing nationalism is fascinating and consistent with the changing domestic and foreign circumstances it has encountered.

I have long been a fan of J.L. Granatstein's books on the topic but he doesn't seem to consider the anti-Americanism to be a permanent condition, subject to changing policies in the United States.   If America ever were to adopt most of Canada's social and political policies, it remains to be seen if it would dilute and vanquish the anti-Americanism that is currently so popular...and essential.

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15 hours ago, bush_cheney2004 said:

After methodically describing the history and evolution of Canadian nationalism through today, this chap concludes that Canada is forever doomed to define itself as "not American" because the newer left-wing brand of Canadian nationalism, just like the previous right-wing, pro-British brand of nationalism,  demands exactly that.   Hating America at some level is essential to this exercise and political framework, and has been from the very beginning.

IMO early Canadian nationalism was anti-British.  Nationalist independence efforts, for instance, came after WWI (Statute of Westminster) and WWII (Canadian citizenship, our flag) to remove Canada from the grip of the British Empire.

I don't hate the US and I'm a Canadian nationalist and I don't define "Canadian" as having anything to do with "anti-US sentiment", only what is uniquely Canadian compared to the rest of international cultures.  I know far more people born in India or China or Jamaica than America.  What Americans or any other country thinks of Canada should be totally irrelevant.

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22 minutes ago, Moonlight Graham said:

I don't hate the US and I'm a Canadian nationalist and I don't define "Canadian" as having anything to do with "anti-US sentiment", only what is uniquely Canadian compared to the rest of international cultures.  I know far more people born in India or China or Jamaica than America.  What Americans or any other country thinks of Canada should be totally irrelevant.

 

I agree that such should be the case, and it was not my purpose here to drill down to the personal level.  Hell, many Canadians (and Americans) have very differing and conflicting views about their own country regardless of what other nationals may think.

My experiences with many Canadians suggests that many accept a working compromise of not hating Americans at all, while dutifully "hating" their U.S. government with a passion for a host of reasons that conflict with key elements of Canadian nationalism.

More recently, one Donald Trump inflamed this delicate balance by daring to attack and undermine the positive economic compromises and advantages made long ago with those American bastards.  (Other presidents have done so as well, only more diplomatically.)

The COVID-19 pandemic offers the latest example and manifestation of Canadian nationalism with respect to the United States.   With universal healthcare arguably being Canada's most popular and defining national attribute and achievement (compared to the U.S. of course), it is easy to find examples of Canadians admonishing other fellow Canadians about their COVID behaviours and in one case, outright disdain for any Canadians who would dare continue their longstanding and practical snowbird travel rituals to southern U.S. states at this time, even if it perfectly legal to do so.

"Take away their healthcare !!"  (despite being taxpaying Canadians in good standing) is offered as the greatest insult and rejection, as if losing this defining benefit is the most disgraceful thing that can happen to a Canadian.

 

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1 hour ago, bush_cheney2004 said:

I agree that such should be the case, and it was not my purpose here to drill down to the personal level.  Hell, many Canadians (and Americans) have very differing and conflicting views about their own country regardless of what other nationals may think.

My experiences with many Canadians suggests that many accept a working compromise of not hating Americans at all, while dutifully "hating" their U.S. government with a passion for a host of reasons that conflict with key elements of Canadian nationalism.

I observe that people in each Canadian province have more or less fairly similar political views to the people in the US states directly below them on the map, with the exception of Quebec.

Ontario and New York are not so different, nor Alberta vs Montana, nor BC vs Washington state (both filled with far-leftists).  I have family that live in rural Canada and they enjoy their Nascar and hunting and are raging racists because of not having a non-white person live within a 45 min drive of themselves, which sounds awfully familiar.

 

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Right on cue, the CBC/Canadian Press keeps the comparisons and definition exercise going for the CPC (Trump) and Liberals alike (Obama/Biden).

 

What the end of the Trump era could mean for Canadian Conservatives

Edited by bush_cheney2004
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I confess to having grown up in an anti-American household. It really came home to me when a couple of NDP waffelers wrote a nationalistic article and I went through it and changed the name 'Canadian' for 'German' and 'American' for 'Jew' and suddenly it was like reading Mein Kampf. 

I love my country, but after studying the history of post war US, I realised that unlike any world power or empire in the past, the United States and her people are the most generous nation in 200,000 years of human history. They may not always get it right, but not for lack of effort. Two great Americans stand out. Secretary of State George Marshall rebuilding Europe, including recent enemies, and General MacArthur, military governor of Japan brought reconstruction and parliamentary democracy. These two men are not stand alone heros. They represent the essence of American values.

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On 11/16/2020 at 3:46 AM, bush_cheney2004 said:

Right on cue, the CBC/Canadian Press keeps the comparisons and definition exercise going for the CPC (Trump) and Liberals alike (Obama/Biden).

 

What the end of the Trump era could mean for Canadian Conservatives

It's interesting to me how Canadian and US politicians have borrowed from each other.  Trudeau's slogan in 2015 was the Obama-esque "Real change!", while the Biden campaign has been borrowing speech lines from people like Jack Layton and has promised to make a cabinet that 'looks like America"...ripping off Trudeau's style.  And Canada conservatives have been influenced by Trump populism.

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1 hour ago, bush_cheney2004 said:

Yes, the latest shared messaging by these birds of a feather is "Build Back Better".

Yes:

  EnUW5K2VkAAqnNj?format=jpg&name=large

The "build back better" thingy is part of "The Great Reset" from the World Economic Forum:

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/07/to-build-back-better-we-must-reinvent-capitalism-heres-how/

This is some odd international governmental social engineering campaign (an excuse to spend money it sounds like).  The Liberal's Chrystia Freeland is one of the World Economic Forum's trustees, as is Al Gore.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Economic_Forum#Organization

These are some of the elites that meet in Davos every year. 

 

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15 hours ago, Moonlight Graham said:

 And Canada conservatives have been influenced by Trump populism.

If you mean conservatives, some of them have. If you mean Conservatives, demonstrably untrue.

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This is not a uniquely Canadian problem. Across the world, smaller countries beside larger ones (by population) that share a language (or a very similar one) struggle to find their own identity as something beyond not being the other place. For a century after independence, Ireland identified itself as not British and has only recently looked to other small European countries for better models to follow. One sees the same dynamic in New Zealand, Belgium, Pakistan, Ukraine, Bangladesh, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland (which had two countries not to follow) etc. In Uruguay, they seem to have gotten over their Argentinian obsession and now run a better country than their bigger neighbour in many ways. 

Edited by SpankyMcFarland
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36 minutes ago, SpankyMcFarland said:

This is not a uniquely Canadian problem. Across the world, smaller countries beside larger ones (by population) that share a language (or a very similar one) struggle to find their own identity as something beyond not being the other place.

 

It's not necessarily a "problem", just a well documented circumstance.   Canada's version differs somewhat from many of the others listed in that:

1)  The United States sought independence from Britain and British North America (Canada), not the other way around.   French Canada had already been vanquished for Britain (1763).

2)  Colonial Canada rejected voluntary and involuntary overtures to join the United States in preference to "loyalism" to the Crown and all things British.   This also led to internal conflict with Quebec that continues to this day.

3)  Canada pivoted to the United States economically and culturally after both World Wars and collapse of the British Empire, leaving one sphere of influence in favour of another (more viable) one, only to fear becoming "Americanized" by doing so.

 

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46 minutes ago, bush_cheney2004 said:

 

It's not necessarily a "problem", just a well documented circumstance.   Canada's version differs somewhat from many of the others listed in that:

1)  The United States sought independence from Britain and British North America (Canada), not the other way around.   French Canada had already been vanquished for Britain (1763).

2)  Colonial Canada rejected voluntary and involuntary overtures to join the United States in preference to "loyalism" to the Crown and all things British.   This also led to internal conflict with Quebec that continues to this day.

3)  Canada pivoted to the United States economically and culturally after both World Wars and collapse of the British Empire, leaving one sphere of influence in favour of another (more viable) one, only to fear becoming "Americanized" by doing so.

 

What is it with you and Canada? 

The particulars don’t matter, e.g. who sought independence from whom. The global pattern is that smaller nations will always struggle to distinguish themselves from larger adjacent ones in this situation. That is how it is. Canada is not especially wicked in this regard. 

BTW French speakers north of the border could see all too well how much respect the US would have for them by the time 1812 came along. 
 

 

 

Edited by SpankyMcFarland
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1 hour ago, SpankyMcFarland said:

What is it with you and Canada? 

The particulars don’t matter, e.g. who sought independence from whom. The global pattern is that smaller nations will always struggle to distinguish themselves from larger adjacent ones in this situation. That is how it is. Canada is not especially wicked in this regard.

 

What is it with Canadians and the United States ?

Nobody said that Canada was wicked.   The YouTube video is from a Canadian.

 

Quote

BTW French speakers north of the border could see all too well how much respect the US would have for them by the time 1812 came along. 
 

 

...and how much respect English Canada would have for them decades later.

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