Canada is a Nation

Canada is a nation. To briefly define these three terms, a nation is “a large body of people united by common descent, history, culture, or language, inhabiting a particular country or territory”, a country is “a political state or nation or its territory”, and a post-national state is a “Pertaining to a time or mindset in which the identity of a nation is no longer important”. Canada immediately meets the definition of a country, it has a set of regulated borders that mark of a politically distinguished area that is recognized as “Canadian territory”. However, it is under the labels of “nation” or “post-national” that debate begins to spark on Canadian identity. First of all, let me clarify that we will not be defining “nation” by comparing Canada to other nations. Each nation is unique, which in essence, is what makes up a nation. To begin with, Canada is a country with historical common descent. Although there are many new immigrants flooding into Canada of new historical descent, the vast majority comes from the English and French colonists of the new world. Although the Canadian peoples may have arrived in North America on separate sides, we share the same origin point in history and have grown connected to one another since the Confederation of Canada. We thus feel connected to our historical roots, and all stand proud of our peaceful separation from the colonialists, forming modern-day Canada. Additionally, Canada maintains a consistent language and culture throughout history. While there may have been major tensions between Quebec and other Canadian provinces, we still share the common values of “a society where individual rights and freedoms, compassion and diversity are core to our citizenship” (Justin Trudeau). Language doesn’t separate these values, and as shown by Quebec referendums. Quebec citizens “can’t think of this country without Quebec” (Michael Ignatieff), despite their very different internal culture. This goes for all the provinces and nations within Canada. We are all willing to work together in times of crisis and war: “From the outset of the war, the Canadian people have clearly shown that it is their desire to help in every way to make Canada’s war effort as effective as possible.” (Mackenzie King). Therefore, even though Canada is a country built up of many different cultures, I believe us still to be a nation, as we all share the same history and the same common culture and beliefs as all other Canadians.  You can be an American or an Englishman or Canadian and be a Parisian. It’s a very admirable culture, and people want to identify with it. (Whit Stillman)

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