A nation is a populace that cultivates a set of values and beliefs that represent the entirety of the people. To say Canada has that core identity is difficult when considering that democracy is based on multiple parties and conflicting opinions. It isn’t wrong to say, “there is no core identity, no mainstream in Canada,” but for Canada to be “the first postnational state” isn’t right either (Trudeau, 2015). Canada being classified as a postnational state makes sense with our vast variety of cultural groups, but countries like U.S.A, Australia, and U.K are also made up of many diverse groups and should be called postnational states by the same standard. Although ‘‘There are shared values — openness, respect, compassion,” in Canada, other countries also have their own set of shared values (Trudeau, 2017). These shared values do not change the fact that there is still diversity and differing opinions ingrained into the people of the nation. The biggest example of a distinct nation within Canada is the “French-speaking province of Quebec” which has tried to show its independence from Canada before (Foran, 2017). However, many countries around the world face a problem like this, albeit not as powerful of a movement in most cases. In the United States, many indigenous peoples are fighting for their rights and representing their own nation like the situation in Canada. The United States may not be as postnationalist as Canada but it still has the qualities of postnationalism and should be considered postnational as well. Canada is like a giant family and “Not everyone is happy being in the family. Some think being a family member is important and others do not. But we are shaped by our families, and we shape ourselves within and sometimes against our families,” which is a concern from the idea of postnationalism blurring the lines between the Canadian culture and the incoming people, but this is a problem for all the countries in the world which is why I believe that the term postnational state should be applied to every country (McDonald, 2017). Canada is a postnational state, but so is almost every country in the world. We cannot escape differing opinions and values but rather we should accept them and work to find the most humanitarian resolution to all issues.
Canada is a country known for multiculturalism and the many nations we possess. Just because we are diverse, it doesn’t correlate to a loss of Canadian identity. Canada is internationally recognized, “[we have] borders, where guards check passports, and an army” (Foran, 2017). A nation is defined as a large body of people who share the same beliefs and cultures. Canada cannot be called a complete nation because we consist of multiple nations within our land.
During the 1995 Quebec Independence Referendum, 49% of Quebecois citizens voted to be separated from Canada. Their beliefs and historic conflict between the English caused an uproar of people who wished to take back the power they held before being defeated during the Seven Year War. Without a consensus on similar identities but instead a battle for control, conflicts can be created. When refugees and immigrants step into Canada, “plenty of Canadians believe we possess a set of normative values, and want newcomers to prove they abide by them” (Foran, 2017). While different beliefs and values from these newcomers are not suppressed, they should be able to adapt to the new environment. Government officials state, “we took in an estimated 300,000 newcomers in 2016, including 48,000 refugees, and we want them to become citizens [of Canada]” (Foran 2017). They wish for them to be able to call themselves a Canadian.
It is undoubted with Canada’s “high proportion of immigrants and official policy of multiculturalism” that many people think citizens are losing their Canadian identity (Todd, 2016). As a country, Canada is still able to connect different nations together. When we look at the bigger picture and get the perspectives of immigrants, we see how many of them can confidently say they identify as Canadian.
Is Canada a nation, a country, or a post national state?
When Justin Trudeau said that Canada is the world’s “first post-national state,” he speaks of a place where people respect one another, regardless of their culture (Justin Trudeau, 2015). However, contrary to our Prime minister, I argue that Canada is only a country. Canada is a country because it has “borders, where guards check passports, and an army,” and if Canada is a nation or post-national state, it is those things in addition to being a country (Charles Foran, 2017). A post-national state is a state where nationalism does not hold importance and “respect for minorities trumps any one group’s way of doing things,” which Canada has not accomplished (Douglas Todd, 2016). An Angus Reid Institute poll shows that “75 percent of [Canadian] residents believe there is a ‘unique Canadian culture,’” meaning that nationalism towards Canada still resides within many citizens (Douglas Todd, 2016). And although Canada has made efforts to reconcile with minorities, it is hard to argue that respect is triumphing over all other values. Liden Waboose, a 22-year old from Eabametoong First nations, has said that she “feel[s] like [Trudeau] doesn’t value [the] relationship he committed to in 2015,” showing that some individuals still don’t feel respected to this day. Additionally, a nation is a term used to describe a group of people that feel connected to one another through heritage, language, ethnicity, culture, etc… And although there is a Canadian nation (where many people feel like they belong), it is hard to say that all Canadians feel unified under this nation. On top of this, there are many groups in Canada that hold nationalism towards other countries and communities. This makes it difficult to say that Canada is a unified nation. Rather than a nation or post-national state, I argue that Canada is a country that hosts a community of nations, a multicultural country.
There seems to be a lot of debate over whether or not Canada is a nation. A nation is a group of people who are bound together by their beliefs, values, and collective identity. Does Canada, a country of difference and diversity, fit into this definition? Or are we a post-national state, disembodied from our identity and floating adrift in a world where borders and collective identity are less important and less relevant? I believe that Canada is a nation. We are bound together by our own form of nationalism, quieter than that of the United States, where it is common to flaunt a flag and pledge allegiance to the country, even in schools. Canada lacks this institutional nationalism, instead, we have created something uniquely Canadian: soft nationalism. Nationalism may have a bad name, with many governments using it to justify violent aggressions. However, “Healthy nationalism encourages people to cooperate”, writes Douglas Todd. It encourages us to work to build the best possible Canada, and take pride in the place where we live. When we compare our country to others, we are constantly ranked as one of the best places to live, one of the best places to get an education, one of the best places to be a part of the middle class. We see these rankings and feel a warm, self-assured pride. We really are one of the best places to live. Canada is a nation because of our collective sense of togetherness and pride in our home country. And this is reflected in our national identity. One of the arguments frequently used to dismiss Canada as a nation is that we lack a national identity. Our prime minister, Justin Trudeau, even went so far as saying that there was “no core identity, no mainstream in Canada”. Marshall McLahan says that Canada is the only country “that knows how to live without a national identity”. Is this really true? Or are we confusing our lack of an American-esk nation with not having one at all. Now, national identity is the ” sense of a nation as a cohesive whole, as represented by distinctive traditions, culture, and language” as defined by the Google dictionary. Canada has two languages, English and French; we have traditions: remnants of our monarchy, like our Governor General; Canada Day, where we are reminded of Confederation and the rich and vibrant history of our nation; Remembrance Day, where we thank the fallen soldiers that sacrificed everything to preserve our country. Our culture, our institutions, our achievements, less aggressive and in-your-face than our southern neighbor, but still thriving. Our diversity, our multiculturalism, our different beliefs and views and thoughts and feelings all bind us together. Our differences, and pride in our differences, create our community. They create the nation of Canada.
” 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.
“Is Canada a nation, simply a country, or a ‘post-national’ state?”
I believe that Canada’s diverse and multicultural population forms a country with multiple regional nations. We may be heading in the direction of a post-national state, however, “Canada has borders, where guards check passports, and an army” (Foran, 2017), so we have not yet reached the time when our physical borders are insignificant. Now, the debate over Canada being either a nation or simply a country is quite subjective, in my opinion. We live in a country where there is so much diversity that it is hard to argue for a specific “Canadian identity”. Since Canada is home to immigrants and refugees, a common value we share is to respect others with “multiple identities and multiple loyalties” (McLuhan). With this common value, many seem to think that Canada is a nation in which our differences are what makes us the same. “75 percent of residents believe there is a “unique Canadian culture” (Todd, 2016), and although this “unique Canadian culture” exists, it’s what defined us a country, not a nation. A nation is a group of people who are united by culture, language, or shared values and beliefs. Canada, being a welcoming country to multiple cultures, has no issue with people who don’t share the exact values as everyone else, as long as their individuality doesn’t go against the Canadian law or government. Our wide range of ethnicities, religions, and people with contrasting political views make it so that regardless of our few similar values, we are not united as a single nation. Trudeau, along with many Canadians, recognizes the culture of indigenous peoples, immigrants, refugees, and other minorities. Even so, we are not a “place where respect for minorities trumps any one group’s way of doing things” (Todd, 2016). We do appreciate and hold value to the multiculturalism in Canada, but these minorities are still considered unequal to the rest of Canada. In that sense, the smaller nations within Canada are what makes up parts of our country, but our country is not yet a post-national state or a unified 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)
The combination of different religions, cultures, ethnicities, and overall people allow for Canada to be seen as a “post national” state, to some extent. Canada has begun showing signs of post nationality but continues to keep its borders and remains far from a genuine post national state. Based on a UNM study, post nationalism “takes culture, society, government, politics, and the economics of an individual nation and inserts these components into an increased regional, continental, hemispheric, and global perspective narrative (M. Nunn 2011). There is evidence to support the claim that Canada is post national by this definition, but it fails to satisfy all criteria. Our Canadian identity consists of those who live within the country, sharing similar values regarding our openness to the diverse and new. Different cultures all around the world immigrate here to Canada for their similar values, to start new in a positive and healthy environment, proven when taking in “an estimated 300,000 newcomers in 2016, including 48,000 refugees” (Foran 2017). This is able to happen because Canadian policies have been redesigned to increase the inclusion of others, changing our identity significantly. Although our “annual immigration accounts for roughly 1% of the country’s current population of 36 million,” we are not necessarily near becoming post national (Foran 2017). The actual location of these newcomers plays an important part, some areas of Canada being more diverse and comfortable than others. According to the 2016 Census, areas like “Toronto, Vancouver and Montréal [are] the three most populous CMAs in the country [and] are still the residence of over half of all immigrants (61.4%) and recent immigrants (56.0%) in Canada,” exemplifying the massive difference in distribution of immigrants (StatCan 2017). This shows that although Justin Trudeau believes that Canada is one of the first post national states, he fails to realize the claim he is making involves every part of Canada. To conclude, Canada is on its way to post nationalism but cannot meet all the prerequisites needed to become post national.
“Is Canada a nation, simply a country, or a ‘post national’ state’?
With respect to both of the articles assigned, I believe that Canada should be considered a nation. Canada, like any other recognized nation in the world, shares many values and traits such as the acceptance of immigration, the efforts made to include minorities, and celebrating multiple cultures in the name of diversity. We have multiple shared values yet we find ourselves questioning our own identity, mainly because of the mind-boggling capacity for diversity we have – a trait that we are arguably most famous for.
Debates as such arise because “Canada’s particular style of nationalism is fluid and not simple to define”, but our nationalism is also the reason why people “often arrive from dysfunctional regions [to Canada]” (Todd, 2016). To obtain healthy nationalism, a nation must “encourage diverse people to cooperate” (Todd, 2016). We are considering the label of a “post-national state” because of the fear of coming off as an oppressing nation that disregards minority standpoints. I believe that this is not the case as it is a fear based on extreme measures, as “condemning nationalism because it can lead to war is like condemning love because it can lead to murder”(Chesterton, unknown). Canadian identity can be influenced by how others perceive them, yet Canadian citizens themselves should have the ultimate decision as to how they are defined. “75 per cent of [Canadian] residents believe there is a “unique Canadian culture.”(Todd, 2016). If the majority of the citizens feel united through a homogeneity, whatever that may be, shouldn’t Canada be considered a nation bound together by that “unique Canadian” culture? Canada is not a simple land mass like a country or the “greatest hotel on earth” (Martel, unknown), but a nation that carries a plethora of cultures within itself to the extent of coming together to become one singular “Canadian” nation with a distinct culture that 75% percent of us feel and believe.
Time has gone by really fast. It feels like it was just recently that I met my mentor for the first time and now, I’m thinking about how I’m going to present my learning on In-Depth night, Since my last blog post, I have had two sessions with my mentor. In a nutshell, this is what we discussed:
- Vocabulary. As said in my previous blog post, my mentor and I introduce a lot of new vocabulary through running through different scenarios, but we also went over specific vocabulary, such as Japanese numbers to ten million.
- Oral. The bulk of our sessions are oral. My mentor and I ask questions and give answers in different scenarios to practice pronunciation and correct grammar.
- Prepositions. We covered the basic prepositions, such as 上 (up), 下 (below), 前 (in front), and 横 (next to).
- Japanese culture. Occasionally, the questions lead to tangents where my mentor and I end up discussing Japanese culture, such as onsens (hot springs), fugu (a risky pufferfish dish), and omurice (omelet over rice). While not directly related to the language learning aspect, these discussions help me know my mentor more as a person.
When I initially set my goals, I underestimated the amount of information needed to learn kanji. Even though I’m only learning the kanji and their definitions, I’m still planned on learning three thousand two hundred kanji, the approximate number of kanji a university graduate would know. For now, I’ve learned the two thousand two hundred general use, jōyō kanji, or the kanji a Japanese high school graduate would know. I think that my initial goals might have been possible in an environment without other commitments but might have been too ambitious to do during a school year.
I’m still indirectly finding out the pronunciations for certain kanji. For example, my mentor taught me the prepositions, and one of them was うえ, which means up. Knowing that the kanji for up was 上, I could then logically synthesize that 上 was pronounced うえ.
Immersion has been going well. I’m picking out a lot of words and phrases and the context is getting a lot easier to understand. While the amount of immersion has gone down due to there being certain times in my schedule where immersion is not possible, I plan to increase the quality of my immersion by doing more active immersion where I’m actively listening and trying to understand what I’m hearing rather than passive immersion where I simply play Japanese media while I work on other things.
How to have a Beautiful Mind:
Personally, I think this blog needs more color, so I will color code my transcript.
Mentor: This should be written が not か.
“The black hat stops us from doing things that are wrong,” and that’s what my mentor, who uses the black hat the most, uses it for (p. 94). By critiquing my writing, my mentor prevents me from developing bad habits that might hinder my application of the language.
Me: Yeah, I keep forgetting to put the dakuten marks.
Mentor: Also, is this あいません? You want ありません.
Me: Oh, that actually is ありません. I was writing a bit fast so I guess it came out a bit funny-looking.
“The white hat means ‘information’,” so in this case, my mentor and I exchange “information” on what I wrote, using only solid facts and avoiding the usage of emotions (p.92).
Mentor: Yes. I feel like you could lengthen this stroke more so that it looks for like り instead of い.
Mentor: I notice you used kanji. Very good, but why did you write いぬ in katakana?
My mentor uses the red hat to “legitimize [her] emotions” and give me statements that allow me to understand that what she’s saying is not entirely fact-based logic but rather her “emotions, feelings, and intuition” (p.93/94). Using this hat, she expresses her thoughts on the neatness and legibility of my writing and expresses her thoughts on the usage of kanji. Additionally, she uses the blue hat. By “defining the focus and purpose” of our conversation by asking a question, my mentor also sets “the sequence of hats for the session” (p.101). The question makes me explain why I wrote いぬ in katakana and limits the number of hats that could be used next by making me choose a hat most suitable for answering the question.
Me: Oh, I thought that since ネコ was written in katakana, いぬ would also be written in katakana. Also, i did some research, and I found いぬ written in katakana.
“The green hat asks for (…) alternatives,” such as the asking of the alternative writing of いぬ. In this case, the alternative I proposed turned out to be wrong, but if it did turn out that いぬ could have been written イヌ, taking the risk to explore an alternative would have given me valuable information I wouldn’t have gotten without using the green hat. I also use the yellow hat by trying to explain “why something should work” (p.97). I explain to mentor why I think いぬ is written in katakana by telling her how I did research and showing my logical train of thought. This allows me to find value in the possibility I proposed by clarifying why my alternative does not work.
Mentor: I see. Well in this scenario, it’s usually not written in katakana, but you can write it in kanji.
Me: Is 犬 the kanji by any chance?
Mentor: Yes! Very good.
Mentor: Overall, your writing is very easy to read, but you just need to fix the way you write a few of the hiragana.
Once again, my mentor uses the blue hat, but this time, its solely for the purpose of “defining the focus and purpose” of the conversation a final time (p.97). By summing up her comments regarding my writing and the suggestions she had for me, she repeats the context of our conversation and reaffirms its purpose. Furthermore, the yellow hat and the green hat are used again. The yellow hat finds value in my writing by describing it as “very easy to read,” while the green hat explores the alternative of writing certain hiragana a bit neater.
With one more blog post left the moment I press “Publish”, In-Depth is just around the corner. Let’s make the days count, all the way until the end. さよなら！