Canada – Country, Nation, or Post-national State

” There is no core identity, no mainstream in Canada. Those qualities are what makes us the first post-national state.” -Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (2015). This is the controversial statement that I will be discussing along with answering the question of “Is Canada a nation, simply a country, or a ‘post national’ state’?”. I disagree with this statement because I think Canada is a nation, not a post-national state, but before I can say that, I have to give my idea of what I think a post-national state is; to me post-national means that there is no care for borders and we put other cultures above our own in order to be truly diverse. The question “what if borders were erased and the entire world became ‘transnational?'” came up in an article from The Vancouver Sun – The dangers of a post-national Canada (the article that I will be referring to), which to me the word transnational  would be a better word to describe what Trudeau is talking about. Now I am not saying that we are a transnational state either. If we were a post-national state, as Trudeau claims, then we would have no care for the US-Canadian border; there would be security into the US, but none coming back. Also, if we put other cultures above our own, than really there would be no true Canadian. Which, personally, if someone asks me my nationality, I proudly say Canadian.

The way Trudeau describes it, I hear more multicultural. The former head of the University of B.C.’s Centre for Applied Ethics, Michael McDonald, claims that “being Canadian is like being a member of a community, or a big family. ‘Some are born into the family and others are adopted.”‘ and I think this statement best describes Canada. In a family/ community everyone is different, but we share the same values; maybe not everyone, and maybe not all the time, but enough that we can still can work cohesively together. There will still be people who don’t have the same values as the majority but since they are still part of our family/ community we still respect them. Having this respect for one another, shows “Canada’s particular style of nationalism is […] part of what makes the country attractive to immigrants” and helps with our multiculturalism. Our diversity, respect, and openness to people makes us look like our style of nationalism is ‘healthy’ from the outside and “healthy nationalism encourages diverse people to cooperate” which may be why people always see us for those qualities.

Based off of the evidence that I have read from articles, I return to the fact that I think Canada is a nation. I could argue for the fact that Canada is a country, a piece of land with physical borders governed by a single government, because that is true, but when reading Mcdonald say Canada is like being in a family, and how some are born into it and others are adopted, to me perfectly describes Canada as being a proud nation.

DoL – Is Canada a “post-national” state?

Canada’s myriad of cultural, social, and economic differences within its physical borders poses questions of ambiguity about Canadian identity. Canada is a nation with national values that result in economic and social success. Canadian identity shares the values of “openness, respect, compassion, willingness to work hard, to be there for each other, [and] to search for equality and justice”(Todd, 2016). Various ethnic groups, refugees, and immigrants are able to coexist in Canada precisely because of our healthy nationalism and shared values of Canadian identity. Nationalism is defined as support for a nation’s own interests. Nationalism “encourages diverse people to cooperate”(Todd, 2016). A stable sense of national identity encourages citizens to accept policies and interests for the greater good, allowing smaller groups within a country to collaborate and accept their differences for a bigger purpose or identity. Even if Canada was a “post-national” state,  it would still “[fall] back on the established mechanisms of state governance and control”(Foran, 2017). In order for governance and control to be effective without creating political unrest,  “a sense of mutual trust and appreciation for good government” is crucial to establishing an egalitarian nation with stable discourse (Todd, 2016). In countries that suffer from racial tension or civil conflicts, there is a profound lack of national identity and stability. Canada is the epitome of a country that uses its widespread values in order to create a system that maximizes our ability to accept various groups and do what is best for our country as a whole.

A Wizard of Earthsea Anticipation Guide

The statement I chose is, you are most happy when you can do whatever you want. I disagree with this statement because if people could do whatever they wanted there would be chaos in the world. There are rules in this world for a reason, not to make sure we aren’t happy or don’t have fun but to make sure we stay safe. For example if players could do whatever they wanted when playing rugby, fights would break out and people would get seriously hurt because there would be no rules for tackling. I could get punched in the face if someone really wanted to and after the game I don’t think that the person who punched me would be very happy. Doing things that you know are wrong may make you happy at the time but will leave you feeling regretful and ashamed. You can’t truly be happy if you know what you are doing is wrong. So I think you can’t be most happy when you can do whatever you want because your wants change. You may be happy with your actions at the time but you may regret them later and they may hurt the people around you.

The Wartime Election Act

Cause and consequence: What were the causes and most important aspects of your chosen event related to the guiding question? [5Ws]

Who: Robert Borden, Canadian soldiers, women related to soldiers serving overseas, immigrants and citizens of ‘enemy’ countries, Liberal party, Conservative party, Union Party, English Canadians, French Canadians

What: The wartime election act of 1917 gave the right to vote to female relatives of soldiers serving overseas during world war 1. It also took the vote away from many Canadians who had immigrated from “enemy” countries. The Act was passed by Prime Minister Robert Borden’s Conservative government in an attempt to gain votes in the 1917 election.

When: September 1917

Where: Canada

Why: Robert Borden’s Conservative government had introduced conscription in May 1917, to strengthen and reinforce Canadian fighting forces in the First World War. Conscription deeply divided the country — English-speaking Canadians were largely in favour, while French-speaking Canadians and others not of British descent were opposed. The Conservatives feared that opponents of conscription, including the opposition Liberal Party, would join forces to defeat the Conservatives in the upcoming general election, which would be held in December. Borden made several political moves to strengthen his position ahead of the election. He convinced many pro-conscription Liberals and other opposition MPs to join the Conservatives in a Union government to push for conscription and steer the Canadian war effort. He also changed the rules about who could and couldn’t vote in the coming election by introducing the Wartime Elections Act. The Act was designed to create legions of new voters who were likely to support the Unionists, and to disenfranchise voters who would likely be opposed to conscription. On 20 September, after an angry debate, Parliament passed the Act. The new law disenfranchised Canadian citizens who had been born in “enemy” nations after March 1902, unless those citizens had a son, grandson or brother on active duty in the Canadian military. Meanwhile the Act granted the vote to the wives, mothers and sisters of serving soldiers, as well as to women serving in the military. Canadian women had previously been denied the right to vote in federal elections. Canadians, most of whom supported conscription and the war effort, also supported the Act.

Historical Perspective: How was your researched event viewed by Canadians at the time? How do you know?

Many women were unhappy with the act because it segregated women with relatives in combat and those without any. On top of that, all women in certain provinces were allowed to vote in provincial elections but weren’t allowed to vote in the upcoming federal election. This meant only a certain population of women could vote. However, Canadians, most of whom supported conscription and the war effort, also supported the Act. The voices of those who could no longer vote are not heard or seen in the newspapers.

Continuity and Change: To what extent did this event or idea affect Canadian social, political, or economic norms or values?

The act undoubtedly increased support for Borden’s party, but was not ultimately a major factor in the 1917 election, which the Unionists won. For decades afterwards, Conservative support in Quebec and among some ethnic and immigrant groups, was badly damaged. In the vote on 17 December 1917, some 500,000 Canadian women participated for the first time in a federal election. The Act was repealed at the end of the war, although by 1918 all women born in Canada over the age of 21 would permanently gain the right to vote in federal elections. The Act’s legacy is contentious, as it both provided many women with the vote for the first time, while also legitimizing in law many widely-held anti-immigrant fears.

Historical Significance: In what ways, specifically, did your event contribute to Canada’s social, political, or economic autonomy? Provide evidence from primary and secondary sources.

Canada became the 8th country to allow women to vote and certain provinces allowed them to vote before 1917 as well. The act was passed before America allowed their female citizen to vote. This shows that Canada isn’t a headless follower of the USA like some people south of the border believe. Canada is the most notable country trying to create equality and break barriers between groups in the country and around the world. Our values are always changing and are flexible to the norms of sociality today. Back then., many men were hesitant to let women vote but nowadays, not letting women vote seems unusual and unfair. This is how we are autonomous as a country and a society.

The Roaring Twenties



5 W’s / Historical Perspective

This was a time of rapid development and learning. A time of class and elegance, prestige and poverty, adventures and realizations. And this all followed right after a horrid event of blood and gore–World War 1. WW1 was initiated in 1914 and finally came to an end in 1918. Since this was not long after Canada’s confederation in 1867, Canadians most likely felt very unsafe in the new and developing country. However, as the 1920’s approached and the violence completely subdued, Canadians finally felt more at peace. They began to learn and develop the ways of being a Canadian, and secured their identities as one. The 1920’s was decisively their time to focus on things other than politics and war. This meant art, movies, technology, music, and social justice.

Canadians were full of excitement



April 23rd, 1945

My dearest Michael,

I am writing this letter with the deepest and most solemn intentions. What I wish to tell you cannot be confined into words, and I hope you take my words, but most importantly my feelings to heart. I wish to tell you a bit about my life, and the cause that I fought for, and with all my mind I hope I can live through tomorrow to see you at home.

It is now the April of 1945, and we have been at war for the past 5 years. I serve now in the RCN, on HMCS Brantford, and I know firsthand the perilous conditions we face every single day on the Atlantic. What a miserable, rotten hopeless life, an Atlantic so rough it seems impossible that a sailor can continue to take this unending pounding and still remain in one piece. Over the course of the battle so far, more than 3,600 Canadian sailors lost their lives in the seas, and more than 752 air men passed away. Canada and our allies, the USN, RN and FFN, stand together in the fight, but no one is safe from the U-boats, and nowhere can we find refuge. Stretching from the cold water of Labrador Sea or the Gulf of St. Lawrence to the waters sailed by the Home Fleet, the allies have been racing to transport materials to Europe, escorting convoys of more than a dozen ships. In the longest battle of the War, the Battle of the Atlantic, we have suffered more than 4000 allied ship loses so far, and millions of tonnages of goods. The imminent victory to the Allied Forces did not come at a small cost.

Canadians are peacekeepers and non-aggressors for the most part, but we are also loyalists to our allies. I have said this in disregard for the French, which you know I am not a part of. I believe that they have made a mistake by going against our war efforts like conscription, and their recalcitrant attitude hinders our support to the rightful cause. Anglophones like me cannot understand their decisions now, but at least they cheer with us when we secure a U-boat kill. The success of the Navy and Air Force united Canada for short bursts, but looking back at the Great War, I doubt its longevity. I do hope that in your time the French Canadians will stand at the same front as the English, and Canada can stand united in a time of global conflict.

The war is affecting Canada on many fronts, many dear to your own family’s lives. Your parents, who are young children at this time, live conservatively with limited supplies. Even the dress of women changed to a simpler outfit. As result of millions willingly contributing to the war effort, Canada has built more than a million tonnages of cargo ships, and more than 200 worships. This has been called “remarkable,” “astonishing” and “magnificent” by an English official, and Canadian strength and economic stability is just starting to shine through the horizon. Canadians are also starting to get together to hear the news and bond with their neighbors, and new job opportunities industrialized many towns. Through the French may realize that their voices are not being considered in this country, bringing some degree of political separation, the war so far has changed Canada’s economy and social identities for the better. This, in no way, mean that the War is beneficial to us, and you must remember that one life lost is one too many. We can only look back blessed that we were not hit as hard as others are.

The Battle of the Atlantic is the turning point of the entire War, even if you take my personal bias out. Without the support of hundreds of Canadian warships, Britain and the Soviet Union could not have continued fighting, and we would have lost the war in Europe. Canadians entered the War with less than twenty serviceable warships, and the number now exceeds three hundred. Canadians are now respected worldwide for their valiant fighting and their industrial power, and we are gaining speed economically and politically. The industries that were built up will continue to power Canada, and our international relations are never stronger. I see a bright future for Canada, one in which it is considered an equal to other world powers.

This is both a testament and a memoir from a sailor, documenting the experiences of the terrible War. I write in a perilous situation, facing a last stand from a Wolfsrudel of 15. I write this so that you will know how War changes everything, from the perspective of one who has gone through it all. I hope you now know about


Independant Investigation #2


How is Hannah Ingraham a microcosm of a refugee’s experiences during war?


Historical Significance

Outline the focus of your inquiry and provide background knowledge. Why is this an important and significant question to ask about the past? Provide evidence from primary to secondary.


The focus of my inquiry is to evaluate the POV of a Loyalist refugee during the war of 1812, and evaluating how it serves as a microcosm for other war refugees. It is important to consider the perspectives of an everyday person, including families with women and children. When studying history, we focus on important figures or large scale events without considering its impacts on a normal, everyday family. A Loyalist family had ideals that differed from revolutionaries, making them susceptible to violent attacks and humiliations due to the revolutionaries’ rash and dauntless behavior. Loyalists supported Britain holding a more dominant role in the governing of the colonies, were against expansion and were more reluctant to embrace the ideals of democracy. Their sustained idea was regarded as a crime, so many Loyalists were forced to become refugees and flee to Canada, which eventually led to the division of Quebec into Upper and Lower Canada in 1971.

Hannah Ingraham was mentioned in the video we watched. It details how her family was separated when she was only 11, and presents a narrative that essentially serves as a microcosm for the struggles many Loyalist families endured as well. Hannah also represents a side of history’s story that we don’t commonly encounter: she speaks from the perspective of a young girl in the war of 1812, a demographic that isn’t as well represented as Caucasian men who participated on the frontlines of the battles and wars that raged.

Ingraham was born in 1772 in New Concord, New York.  Her father was part of the “King’s American Regime”, a militia of Loyalists that fought for England during the American revolution. She was no stranger to the hostile treatment her family faced; she witnessed a group of rebels roundup suspected Loyalists and condemn her father to imprisonment. Even after her father served jail time, the family’s land was taken away, and they were left with very little resources. Their family left New York for New Brunswick in September 1784, and settled in modern-day Fredericton.

There are various primary sources of Hannah’s diary entries and writings, from her childhood perspective. I will be re-writing those in my own words, and also writing a diary entry from the perspective of a Syrian refugee (continuity and change).


(Historical Perspective)


I remember how much sheep we used to have on our farm. We had cows and I had my own sheep, and I’d often go into the fields to play with them in the evenings. But then the rebels (mother calls them Patriots) took all our things and sold them. Father was taken prisoner. Mother and I don’t know where he is. They do bad things to us if we try to send letters, and they already took grandfather away on a prisoner ship. Mother and I pray daily for Father to come home safe. Mother has to pay rent for our home, and they only gave us a few of our sheep back.


When Father came home, it was an abrupt greeting, because he told us we were going on a ship to Nova Scotia in three days. I didn’t know where Nova Scotia was, but Father told me that was to be our new home.  I helped mother and grandmother pack up our butter, wheat, and potatoes. Uncle helped us pack our things.

Suddenly our house was surrounded by screaming voices, and I cried and cried for hours, but mother told me they were the Patriots. They kicked our door down and took Father away. Mother and I didn’t know if he would come back. Uncle spoke to the Patriots and made some sort of deal, so the next morning, Father was back. I have spent too many nights wondering where Father was and what was happening to him.

When we boarded the ship the next day, I clung on to him tightly. The ship was alright, but the rocking on the waves made me feel very sick. We ran into a horrible storm in the Bay of Fundy, but some kind Frenchmen then took us in their canoes.

I remember hearing babies crying on the ships. Mother told me no one died, but I know that many babies were born. Once we got to St. Anne’s, a stern looking man escorted us to our tents. We were to eat a specific amount each day, and the snow would seep through the frail tent’s edges and make mother and I very cold.


Father worked hard for shillings, and eventually we could build our own little hut and crops. Sometimes I would see Indians trading fur with Captain Clements, and I would run into them. I was scared of them, because of the stories I would hear, and how big and strong they were. Father assured me they would not harm us. We sold cream and butter to make money for groceries and were part of the Loyalist gentry. My brother and I used to run down by the river and pick berries for mother. The ground was new so plants grew well, and we had corn and beans and seeds.


(Continuity and change)


2012 – Syria

The war has been raging for two years now. Our neighbours are crouched together in our house, squatting, squished together, as if our intertwined hands will somehow protect us from the bombs that are hitting us. Other neighbors are running wildly around the streets. We know that running will do nothing, and I don’t like being out there anyway. I didn’t want to be with the screaming and crying. I thought our little house would comfort me.

Dad found us a smuggler. We hid underneath the seats of the car. Everytime we passed a checkpoint, we would hold our breaths and pray that they wouldn’t see us. We got to our camp in Jordan, but we had to walk a long way through the mountains. The sound of a plane or helicopter struck panic and fear every time I heard it, and I ducked down with Dad when we thought someone was coming to capture us.


13 of us live in a tent. We have to pay for everything here, even things like water. There is nothing to do all day. We cannot work, or go to school, so the most we can do is talk to each other. Boredom reigns our daily schedules. We are urging for something to do. ‘The most we can do is help out with cooking or cleaning.

2016 – Canada

We live in Canada now. Mom and Dad always say how grateful they are. A worker from the UN helped us get here. We went to the U.S. first, and then came to Canada, because everyone speaks well about Canada. We don’t understand the language everyone speaks. We have a small house, with a single air mattress, but I don’t have to worry about the bombs or the yelling men again. Dad is worried because we are living off donations, and he wants a job. He volunteers at a food bank, but he said he wants to do more. Mom argues that he can’t get a good job because his English is poor, and no one will hire him. We can’t find opportunity to participate, and Mom and Dad are frustrated. Sometimes I feel a bit lost, as we don’t have many friends, and people don’t talk to us. Mom and Dad tell me to be grateful, as Dad’s mom is still in Syria, and many of our friends are in a far worse state than we are.


Social Studies Inquiry Process

What conclusions can you reach about your question, based on the research you conducted?

It is evident that every war or conflict of loyalties within a nation creates refugees. Refugees are people who are displaced, due to political dissent, that are forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster. Often, refugees are innocent children who are victimized due to their parent or friend’s affiliations.

By learning about Hannah Ingraham’s story and comparing it to modern day war refugees, we can see that her narrative is an effective microcosm of a refugee’s life and struggles. Refugees live in fear and uncertainty. A key struggle they deal with is displacement and the prospect of completely starting their life over in an unfamiliar place. The issue of Syrian refugees is highly relevant to Canada, as it shapes our diversity and identity. Refugees still deal with a lack of resources and material when arriving at a new place, so it is laborious for them to ignite their new life. This parallels with the war of 1812, as the plethora of Loyalist immigrants fleeing to Canada also molded Canadian identity. 

The Liberal Party of Canada accepts 25 000 refugees through both government and private sponsors. It is a highly controversial topic and is often a defining question in an individual’s political stance and belief.

Hannah Ingraham’s story allows us to look at major events and wars from the perspective of an innocent child or individual that is impacted by disparities in ideas and power. She herself is a microcosm of a byproduct of war and conflict and the increasing prevalence of immigrants and refugees in our society.


***disclaimer – the struggles and privileges of British Loyalists and a Syrian refugee are vastly different. We cannot compare them in terms of which demographic struggle(d) more, but we can draw similarities in order to better understand refugees and the idea of a displaced people.

Confederation DOL

Dear Mr. George Brown,

I am terribly sorry to inform you that I’m no longer a member of the Clear Grit party and can’t write for your newspaper anymore. I still believe and fully support Confederation but my views on certain policies have changed over these past weeks. My opinions align with the ideology of the Tories and I am hoping to work with them especially Mr. John A. Macdonald to achieve a new, unified Canada. It’s quite funny actually, they have started calling me “Wondering Willy” for this switch between parties. However, on a more serious note, I do support your movement to create the Great Coalition. If all three parties, The Parti Bleu, The Tories, and the Clear Grits, can join together, we can bring an end to the political deadlock in Legislative Assembly. I firmly believe that this is the answer to Confederation as well. As of right now, the citizens on the Maritimes don’t believe that this is needed but if the Coalition can bring light on the benefits, then I’m sure we can convince them to back the right horse. We need them to understand that as a nation, each province will economically benefit. We can also explain how unity can also protect us from the Americans showing up at our doors every time they want to fight the British. So, with political and economic stability as well as protection from outside attacks, I think it’s time we moved towards creating the country of Canada.



William McDougall