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To what extent should Canadian national unity be promoted?
Transcript of To what extent should Canadian national unity be promoted?
How much should our Canadian unity be promoted?
How does nature of Canada affect national unity?
We, as Canada, are known to be a very accepting and multicultural country.
How has the changing face of Canada affected national unity?
As we all know, immigration has become very popular in Canada. This challenges us to become an even
more accepting and
This, however, has also resulted in a national debate over how far we should accommodate immigrants to Canada, if at all.
In future elections, remember to...
National unity is much like patriotism
It is the feeling of being united as a group, united as...
Patriotism is huge for us!
We are known for being maple- loving, hockey-playing, poutine-making Canadians.
And we're proud
Unfortunately, Quebec wanting to achieve sovereignty and the mistreatment of Aboriginal peoples have been and are issues that set us apart.
There have been many treaties, agreements, and formal apologies to help repair and unite us as one nation.
Some examples include:
The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples
- it was a public inquiry examined the relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples through testimonies, research and listening to experts.
Statement of Reconciliation
- The Canadian federal government expressed their sorrow in a document for having an impact on weakening Aboriginal identity, culture, language and values.
The Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism
- it was a way to try and relieve the tensions growing in Québec (which we'll learn more of later on in the presentation).
So then, to what extent should our Canadian unity be promoted?
Further from that, to what extent should we embrace nationalism?
We believe that we should all embrace nationalism to the point where people feel like they truly belong to their country. They are no longer divided by the boundaries of geography, the difference in ethnic and cultural backgrounds or by the feelings of isolation from being treated unfairly or not being heard. All of these factors can limit people from really being connected with their country. But in countries, such as Canada, these divisions are erased and barriers no longer exist. Connection is the one of many things that people crave in today’s world. It binds us, acting as a thread that holds people together. When people have this link, they feel empowered to promote national interests, share their vision of their country and take pride that they’re a part of it. People feel that they are more than just a community, not just citizens anymore, but a nation.
We believe that it should be promoted to the extent that we are all united as one, and not be assimilated or divided. We should also not be unified to the point where there is a loss or oppression of religion and culture.
We should all be brought together for being Canadian, not be pushed apart for being different from one another.
Vote the Nationalist party,
But others disagree, such as former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, who says:
That just because people have similar beliefs and values does not necessarily promote unity.
"There is no such thing as a model or ideal Canadian."
Uniformity = intolerance and hate
Unity is not restricted by borders of a nation-state it can go beyond and be experienced by citizens of other countries.
Twenty-four Canadians had been killed in 9/11. It enabled people from Canada to relate and feel empathetic toward the loss of Americans.
The attacks occurred “in the twin towers of a city that was far closer to Canada than Pearl Harbor had been in 1941.”, as stated by John Kirton (political scientist) and Jenilee Guebert (researcher).
A more recent example of unity emerging from the face of tragedy:
On October 22, 2014 a lone gunman named Micheal Zehaf-Bibeau shot Corporal Nathan Cirillo who was guarding the National War Memorial. The gunman had then made his way to Parliament’s Centre Block and fired dozens of shots inside the building. Soon after he was shot down by the House of Commons sergeant-of-arms and the RCMP.
After the tragic event people began setting up memorials for Cpl. Nathan Cirillo on Parliament Hill, at his family home and Lieutenant-Colonel John Weir Foote Armoury, both in Hamilton, Ontario.
National unity can be difficult to achieve because of...
living in different regions
Internal matters can weaken national unity
People in Canada are becoming more interested in their own national identity and develop their own loyalties.
Unity can be a sharing of beliefs and values, an example of this is the...
A few examples of the similar beliefs and values that Canadians share and are outlined in the Charter are having the:
-freedom of conscience & religion
- freedom of thought, belief opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication
-freedom of peaceful assembly
-freedom of association
A 2006 poll revealed that... at least a third of the Albertan participants approve of Canadian provinces exploring the idea of becoming their own country.
Another poll in the same year, coordinated by the Innovative Research Group, discovered that Canadians predict that Quebec will already be separated in 2020.
Geography affects national unity
Although technology and transportation have allowed people to communicate easier, geography can still stand in the way of promoting unity.
Canadians live in various regions whether it's near tundra and mountains or in the prairies. Tensions can arise because of the different needs that are determined by their surroundings.
Alienation in regions can also affect national unity
At times, provinces and federal governments have disagreements. This was the case for Newfoundland and Labrador. In 2007, they believed that the federal government was not keeping its promise about letting them keep the majority of the royalties generated from provincial oil and gas production. The premier of Newfoundland and Labrador at the time, was so upset that he ordered that all Canadian flags be lowered at half-mast on all provincial buildings.
As mentioned before...
It can be hard for a country like Canada to achieve national unity because of how large the area is and how diverse the people are.
People tend to feel that they belong if they are treated fairly and equally, the federal government tries to achieve this through:
- This is a system that the Canadian government uses to make sure that public services are accessible to their citizens. They collect taxes from people and businesses, combine all the money together then divide it up & give it to less prosperous provinces. Those then provinces make decisions about how to spend it.
Calculating equalization payments in complicated & often causes arguments.
Provinces that are prosperous say that their people pay too much money and less prosperous provinces claim they are not given enough.
Political representation -
A formula for assigning federal seats was established when the provinces joined Confederation. It was to ensure fairness among the provinces. The formula continues to change to adapt to the evolving characteristics of the country.
If this formula were not in place, the majority of member of Parliament would be coming from Ontario and Québec ( two-thirds of Canadians reside there). The views and opinions of small provinces, like Prince Edward Island, would not be heard as much.
- Canada had opened up its immigration policies and started welcoming people from all over the world. Multiculturalism is an official government policy that Canada was the first to adopt in 1971. It's a part of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and is further outlined in the Canadian Multiculturalism Act of 1988. This policy portrays how diverse our country is.
Canadian national unity has also begun to weaken due to the rise of Québec nationalism. Francophones have always wanted more power to control their own affairs. A slogan expresses this view which is from a Québec Liberal Party, “Maîtres chez nous” which translates into “Masters in our own house.” The federal government has continually persuaded citizens in the province that Canada is their country, but it has just led to more tension.
Francophones outside Québec
Francophones in New Brunswick, Manitoba, Ontario and Alberta make up French-speaking communities but they make up a small portion of the total population. Their struggle to also affirm and promote their language and culture has been overshadowed because of the focus on Quebec.
Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism
Due to the tensions rising in Quebec, the federal government wanted to find a way to preserve national unity as well as strengthening the dual feature of the country.
This led to the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism to be held in 1963. This Royal Commission had discovered that:
-Many Francophones were disadvantaged, they were excluded in positions that had economic and decision-making power
-Francophone minorities that existed outside of the province, did not receive the same opportunities offered in education that the Anglophone minority was receiving
-Language stands in the way of Francophones trying to finding employment in government and it's making it difficult to have access to the federal services provided
As a result of the Commission, the Official Languages Act was adopted in 1969 by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. The aims of the act were to:
-guarantee that English and French were held to an equal status
-maintain and enhance other official language groups in the country
-ensure that federal services were in both French and English
-making sure that Anglophones and Francophones both have the same opportunities to take part in legislature and other federal institutions
In the time since the Act was introduced, it has been improved and enhanced. Due to the rise in immigration it has also caused the increase of more diverse languages to be spoken, making it more difficult for the federal government to encourage bilingualism.
When the B and B Commission began, many people were suspicious of its intention.
In the west:
people thought this was a way for the Canadian government to make them learn the French language.
people thought that it was a distraction in order to take away the focus from the social & economic issues that were occurring in the province.
Others also thought that Commission only focused on one specific minority, it was not broad enough to include other minorities like Aboriginal peoples.
Because of all these suspicions, the federal government quickly took action to address the findings of the Commission.
According to a 2006 survey, 20% of the Canadian population speaks at least one language other than English or French at home.
Aboriginal peoples continue to pursue their right to self-determination. They see it as being an inherent right, it’s a right that exists because they have controlled their own affairs long before Europeans had come and settled in North America.
They have rights acknowledged in the Constitution but it does not specifically say that they can make decisions and govern themselves.
Canada opposes the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Nisga'a and Inuit have worked together to negotiate agreements with the federal government as a way to have some form of being able to control their own affairs.
The Nisga'a Agreement
In 1998, the federal government and the governments of British Columbia and the Nisga'a came together to work out an agreement on a comprehensive land claim.
In the end, the agreement ensured the Nisga'a had the right to control territory near the Nass River.
The Nisga’a also had the power to make decisions on concerns connected to language, health, education, culture, etc.
When Nunavut came into form in 1999, the Inuit took control of their own government and promoted unity in their area by including traditional knowledge when creating policies.
For example, one important part of their justice system are healing circles which are traditional practices.
But, since Canada improved its immigration policies, we have become a more pluralistic society.
A few discoveries that a census held in 2006 found was that:
-our country’s foreign-born population grows 4x as fast than its Canadian-born population
-immigrants that are coming from Asia and the Middle East has increased from 12% to 58.3%
- the 3 most common spoken languages are English, French and Chinese
-as mentioned before, more than 20% of Canadians speak a non-official language
-there are now only 13% of bilingual Anglophones outside the province of Quebec, it used to be 16.3%
-the majority of immigrants who come to Canada usually choose to reside in Montréal, Toronto and Vancouver
-the majority of Canadians reside in cities or towns (more than 80%)
Urbanization, an emerging trend in Canada, also affects national unity.
Another trend that is likely to have an affect on Canadian unity is the number of Aboriginal people.
Their population had grown the fastest, in a decade it has risen by 45%.
It was also discovered that 54% of Aboriginal people also resided in cities. Winnipeg is
the city where majority of
Aboriginal peoples live.
The Métis were the Aboriginal group whose population increased the most.
It had risen by 91% and in 2006, their current population was 389 785 people.
Statistics Canada believed that their population growth was because of the high birth rate and the number of people willing to come out and be recognized as Métis.
Economic globalization will also have an affect on national unity
Over the years, the world has become more connected and it has led to more countries coming together to arrange trade agreements. These trade agreements can either help strengthen an economy or it can hinder a country from pursuing its national interests.
The more newcomers we allow into the country, the more Canada will have to adapt to their needs. This can put a strain on the resources in the areas they settle in, especially in cities like Toronto, Vancouver and Montréal.
As these cities continue to grow, they also request that they should have more say in decisions that would usually be decided by federal and provincial governments. (ex: Toronto)
Some people in Canada are conflicted about whether these agreements create benefits. In Ontario, manufacturing jobs is what kept their economy going. Free trade, however, permitted manufacturers to countries where labour was cheaper and business rules were more relaxed. When this happened, it has cost many workers to lose their jobs.
Another example of economic globalization...
In 2008, Prime Minister Stephen Harper stopped Canadian space technology from being sold to Alliant Techsystems (an American defense contractor) for $1.3 billion.
The government used Investment Canada Act, since the Canadian business was more worth more than $295 million, it was mandatory to have a review on the purchase.
This reviews makes sure that our country is would also benefit from the sale.
The proposed sale evoked many responses in Canadians.
A former head of the Canadian Space Agency stated that Canadian companies would be the only ones to benefit from technology that was created and funded by money from the taxpayers. He also saw it as a sovereignty issue, we should continue to have control and keep the advanced technology that we have.
Others, were afraid of foreign businesses taking over Canadian companies. A president & chief executive of Manulife Financial expressed similar views by saying that, "...may all wake up one day and find that as a nation, we have lost control of our affairs.”
We believe that national unity should be promoted to the extent where everyone is treated fairly and equally, as well as to the extent where people can say that they are part of a strong and accepting community. This is essential for a country like Canada because of how scattered our populations is, the language barriers, coming from different backgrounds and how diverse our views and our opinions are. To overcome this, our government has tried to ensure public services are available to all citizens, people in regions big or small are represented in Parliament and that we remain a pluralistic society by establishing multiculturalism as an official policy. All of these attempts help contribute to strengthen people's bonds with each other and their country.
Canadian national unity should also be promoted to the extent where alienation does not occur. However, at times our government attempting to accommodate the unique needs of all groups, including minorities, usually results in one or more groups feeling that way; that they aren't getting a big enough say in significant decisions. Or that their government isn't taking in to consideration their opinion. Our government has tried to relieve tensions in their relationships with certain groups, such as setting up Royal Commissions, settling agreements, or introducing policies and acts. By doing this, it encourages a sense of belonging among people. It allows to Canadians to be more open in unifying as one nation without feeling disregarded or mistreated.
Edmiston, Jake, John Ivison, Justin Ling, and Josh Visser. "Masked Gunman Killed after Canadian Soldier, Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, Fatally Shot at National War Memorial." National Post. 22 Oct. 2014. Web. 17 Dec. 2014. <http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/10/22/soldier-shot-outside-of-parliament-at-national-war-memorial-active-shooter-believed-to-be-on-the-loose/>.
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