Canadian nationalism has historically had a difficult relationship with the idea of the nation itself. Are we a nation? Or a land of many nations? Most prominent in this discussion has been the question of French Canada.
In this essay, I will argue that both Quebec and Canada are nations. I will examine what the definitions of ‘nation’ are. I will then argue which types of nation, or combination thereof, are more robust than others. The central question can then be answered as to what type of nation Quebec and Canada each are, and how they fit together; answering this question will draw on defining the past of each nationhood, and follow into speculating on their future.
One will usually see a ‘nation’ defined as roughly ‘a large aggregate of people with common characteristics’, and this is generally correct – but of course leaves much to be defined. ‘Nation’ is derived from the Latin natio, which translates to ‘birth’, and is related to concepts such as people, tribe, race, class, stock, breed, etc. As one can see, the rough definition fits the etymology insofar as it denotes classifying large groups of people. Continue Reading
The nationalist in Canada has always played a unique role in the battles of political thought and geopolitics. His opposite and opponent is the liberal internationalist. Canada’s defenders opposed the proposition nation, along with the atomizing individualism and chaotic divisions in sovereignty it promoted. They believed that society must be well-ordered and governed, and that human nature was particular and rooted. But in the very fact that Canada was established as a defence of British and French America against liberalism, it was imbued with a mission: to build North America as it ought to be, conscious of its roots and its inheritance.
Canada as a political order is the response of a civilization which predates Confederation, the conflicts of 1812 or 1776, and even the arrival of Europeans in the New World. Our monarchy embodies this fact better than any other institution. The Crown is linked by oath, culture, and blood to the civilization of European Christendom. In the early history of our continent, the English and French branches of this civilization clashed over resources, culture, and faith. Yet in time, the loyal English and the proud French would have more in common with one another than with the unfolding experiment to their south.