Throughout the world, there exists no stereotype quite like that of the polite, friendly Canadian. Sure, there are many countries who’s citizens are known as being particularly amiable, but nothing can compare to the ubiquitous notion that Canadians are just nice.
It’s not just a stereotype. Canada’s history, while having some rough patches and unsavory sections, is generally cleaner and more blood-free than that of most other nations in the world. One only has to look south of the 49th parallel to see examples of blood shed during colonization, and during the subsequent removal of colonial overlords.
My focus question centers on exploring the reasons behind our relatively peaceful past, and I am focusing sections on Canada’s peaceful formation. Canada essentially asked for independence, and it was given to us. Meanwhile, the American colonies fought a long and bloody war for the same results. I want to learn why Canada’s development is so remarkably different from other places. You can find examples of bloody struggles for independence on every continent, even in India, which gained their freedom thanks to the efforts of Gandhi, a historical figure renowned for his peaceful methods. I’m wondering what social and political factors were different during the time period in which Canada founded Confederation, for us to get away scot-free with a brand new country.
In this post, I aim to explore the reasons and factors that resulted in Canada’s peaceful union.
Sources on Canada’s confederation are easy to find. The source was a book written by Ged Martin, that I found gave a more in depth explanation of the mechanics and processes behind Canadian confederation. It can be found here. I found a quote from John A. Macdonald, a Father of Confederation, that states the importance of having a union of provinces. I feel that the quote really gives weight to how passionate political figures at the time were about making a Canadian nation.
“If I had influence over the minds of the people of Canada, any power over their intellect, I would leave them this legacy: ‘Whatever you do, adhere to the Union. We are a great country, and shall become one of the greatest in the universe if we preserve it; we shall sink into insignificance and adversity if we suffer it to be broken.”
I found a source talking about the steps Canada took to protect cultures in the country from being eroded and disappearing, a concern that the French speaking side of Canada felt was very relevant at the time. The research article can be found here. A good quote from the article is
“The 1982 Act also provides that the guarantees for the English and French languages do not abrogate or derogate from any legal or customary right or privilege enjoyed by any other language, and that the Charter shall be interpreted “in a manner consistent with the preservation and enhancement of the multicultural heritage of Canada.”
This quote shows how Canada continues to try and encourage unity and goodwill by enhancing protections for French as a language.
In conclusion, while Canada has had it’s troubles in the past, it still has a relatively bloodless history compared to other nations. For next time, I want to take a closer look at the interactions with Native Americans that happened at the time of Confederation.