Friday, September 17, 2010

Notes on Canadian Identity

There are five key characteristics to Canadian Identity:

Particular Emphasis on the Tri-Cultural Nature of Canada
  • Aboriginal (First Nations, Inuit, Metis) culture is (of course) the original culture of Canada
  • French culture developed through early colonization
  • English culture developed after the English took control of Canada after the War of 1812
Canada Became a Country Without Having a Revolution
  • Canada is one of the few countries in the world that gained independence from a colonial power without a revolt or revolution.
  • As a result we have developed a country and culture that values peace and collaboration.
"Peace, Order, and Good Government"
  • Related to point #2, Canada is founded on the ideas of "peace, order and good government".  
  • Part of this has developed because we adopted the British parliamentary system and (except in Quebec) the British legal system.
  • Very important to Canadians is the concept of the Cultural Mosaic as opposed to the Melting Pot of the United States.
  • The Cultural Mosaic means that each person and their culture is like a tile in the mosaic that makes up the picture of Canada.  Each person's culture is valued and supported.
  • The Cultural Mosaic can be seen in the writing of Canadians like Rohinton Mistry, Michael Ondaatje, Chief Dan George and Arthur Clarke.
Geophysical Factors
  • Canadians have been strongly influenced by our land.  
  • It is a vast, cold, rugged land in which survival can be difficult, even today.
  • The importance of the land has molded our history and our arts and literature including works like Roughing it in the Bush by Susanna Moody, and writing by Margaret Atwood.  Artists like the Group of Seven and Emily Carr also reflect our landscape.
All of these characteristics reflect an ideal Canada.  When all is "right with the world", what are the positive outcomes of these characteristics?  When things are not going so well, what are the negative outcomes of these characteristics?

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