The Sixth Estate
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
QUOTE OF THE DAY : "It is an infantile superstition of the human spirit that virginity would be thought a virtue and not the barrier that separates ignorance from knowledge." -Voltaire

SONG OF THE DAY : DJ Shadow - Blood On The Motorway

LINK OF THE DAY : Incredible Jet Ride

I grant him bloody,
Luxurious, avaricious, false, deceitful,
Sudden, malicious, smacking of every sin
That has a name.

In Search of a Canadian Identity.

I was born in Canada. I consider myself Canadian. I also love what my nation believes in and stands for. However, recent trends have upset me. The fire that once burned bright in my country is growing dim. It seems that the only national identity my fellow Canadians see is this : We're not the United States.

People seem to pride themselves on this fact. When asked about what it means to be Canadian, most can't come up with anything except "Well we're not the United States."

My history professor showed us the results of a survey done at U of T last year. The survey was taken in response to the Iraq war. It simply asked this.

"Would you fight for Canada?"


"Would you fight for Canada if it were attacked?"

The response was an overwhelming No. NO!? On both counts! Now maybe this is just the response of a bunch of young left wing students, but whatever happened to fighting for something you believe in? Isn't this great country of ours worth defending? I'm honestly very distressed by this.

I myself would take up arms to defend this country in an instant. Now maybe this is just the sentiment of a man who's family has a proud history of serving in wartime. I had relatives that have served in The Boer War, The Great War, World War 2 and Korea. I think we can agree that in the majority of these conflicts it was necessary for Canada to fight. Whatever the reasons, my relatives heeded the call, and I would do the same in a second if it came down to that.

If they had taken the same survey in 1880, 1914, 1939, even in the 1950's... The answer would have been a resounding yes.

I don't know why the answer was no. Canada is not a melting pot like the United States. In the U.S. , you become American when you emigrate there, and eventually your original culture is melted away, so to speak. Our nation is multicultural. When people immigrate here, their cultures are nurtured and encouraged. Canada's national identity is that it has no national identity. Our culture, a non-culture. A multicultural mix.

Do you need a national identity to fight for your nation? Yes. And Canada has an identity. I don't know what it is, it's something intangible that I just know is there. I'm primarily of British descent, so identify with the UK and it's problems as well, but I'm a Canadian. My ancestry does define who I am... But doesn't make me value what I have here, in Canada any less.

If I split up the branches of my family, in terms of how long they have been in Canada it works out like this. My grandmother's family has been in Canada since the 1750's. My grandfather's family has been in Canada since the early 20th century. My other grandmother's family is the early 20th century also. My other grandfather and great uncle came to Canada in 1941, in the middle of World War 2. That basically makes me 3rd or 4th generation Canadian for the most part.

The last 50 years has seen Canada's population grow immensely. Mostly due to immigration. Toronto is the most culturally diverse city in the world.

Is it because I was born in Canada that I feel this way? Is because many of the students surveyed were immigrants that they felt this way? Do I value the freedom I have in Canada more? That's the way it seems.

I'm not saying this because I'm anti-immigration. Hell if it weren't for immigration I wouldn't be here. I don't think the issue is about immigrants. I'm sure there were Canadian born students that took that survey. In the end, I just want people to take pride in what we have in Canada. It is worth fighting for.

- Will


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