Before reading the articles by the Great Question Contributors, Bob Rae and Barry Cooper, I have encountered one question that somehow has confounded me. “What does it mean to “found” a country? ” Upon lingering on that question, I was enlightened with another question that I have asked myself. “What does it need to have to consider a country founded? ” Finding a country is similar to a game. It undergoes a process, and also has rules. A process that Canada had been estranged to. Not like the United States, Canada has Fathers of Confederation and not Founding fathers.
Speaking of the two countries differences, Canadian sovereignty, according to Barry Cooper, has been historically conferred with the very own British Crown. Its constitution has been considered as a reflection of that of the Great Britain. And the founding process that has long been the basis of founding a country was devoid to Canada’s history. As I read other articles related to this topic, I have encountered one of the great orators, Thomas D’Arcy McGee’s words: “The euphonious word, Canada, has three vowels, not an unpleasant incident for tongue or pen. It is as old and quite as historical as the name America.
Like the ice-shove in the St. Lawrence before the magic breath of spring, so will cold sectional antagonism dissolve and disappear in the genial current of our great new State generously administered. ” Our country’s non- conformist way of establishment became the main reason why its existence has long been questioned. Confederation became a part of Canadian history, or should I say Canada’s evolution, but didn’t signify a start of anew. Barry Cooper believes that Canada was established on the grounds of Liberalism and Parliamentary government, wherein both ideas reflect our own failures and successes.
Though we reflect Britain’s political structure, we are more than that. We may have lived on the shadow of the Crown, but it existed, evolved and was interpreted in our own context. Parliamentary Government doesn’t exist on its own. It is in equilibrium between “executive decisiveness and the need for prudent and public justification” from the loyal opposition. For our political system to be workable, we must rely on one’s loyalty, while others should provide the appropriate criticisms.
Populist liberalism has bought distress in Canada’s west and thus, have challenged the conventions of the Parliament. The sovereignty was installed on the people and not on the Crown. It had been known that the communitarian realities of Quebec have supplied impurities in the country; they have left color and flavor to the Canadian politics, hence, making federalism work. “The Clash”, written by William Henry Moore reflected the contradictions of our history. We, the citizens, ought to find ourselves being reinforced to wear the image of being thoughtful, generous, tolerant people.
But in reality, intolerance and conflict is what our story is about. In all these years, we have managed to be concordant in a diversified country. Borrowing Bob Rae’s words: “Canada is a federation, not just a nation, and that says it all”. I would have agreed to this but Barry Cooper also has a point. It doesn’t quite say it al, but it lead us to a clearer understanding that we are a political nation, and that we are a federation. History dwells in the past, but it reflects our present and our future. It is in fact the aspiration of humanity.
The principles and ideas of the Great Thinkers of the past continuously exist today, as it was a legacy of the past. Federalism takes not one exact definition, nor a federalist constitution. For the past years, we have been a witness of our nation’s journey towards the building of another history. But the idea of partnership and solidarity remains the same as we; the citizens continue to make it as a part of our present and our future. Barry Cooper’s first article agrees with Lord Durham’s belief about Liberalism, and therefore disagrees with Bob Rae’s view of it as being a “disastrous” one.
I would have to agree with Bob Rae’s argument in his first article that the idea of a “cookie-cutter approach” to equality would suggest a defiance of Canada’s history. The differences of Canada’s ten provinces and including its three territories don’t mainly show its variation, but each of its unique distinction. The inter-provincial divisions have remained rich in all aspects, specifically in customs and traditions. It has always been like a jigsaw puzzle. All the pieces have a distinct shape, and have a designated position. It all plays an important role.
Like all our provinces, it aims to achieve unifying goal—to make one Nation; thus, supporting our founding principle: Unity and Diversity. It may seem ironic how a country divided into distinct and separate provinces can actually unite to form one great nation. It is in this light that our unity in the course of diversity makes our country unique. Provincial boundaries do not inhibit us from believing that we do belong to one country. Cultural distinctions do not stop us from believing we are one people. Separate laws and customs may create discord in other areas but we are different.
These separations have not created animosity between us. Instead, our acceptance of these separations and our acknowledgement that we are all distinct has bound us together into the united nation that we are today and have always been. Confederation which became an important part of our history brought a continued loyalty to the British Crown by attaining an association to the British Empire; a strong central government within a federal union with a depiction in the lower house based on population and in the upper house based on regional representation.
However, provinces retained control over their own local affairs. In considering Canada’s geography, it can be described as an immense land and an ethnically diverse country. The cultural variations and distinctions from province to province and region to region have been an important part of its features. Canadian culture has also been greatly influenced by immigration from all over the world. Many Canadians assess, and view Canada having an innate multicultural culture. Canada has proved the existence of patriotic citizens.
And once again, it is accompanying the world as its political scene is continuously changing. Canada is the best example of a country of diversity. Immigrants abound all through out our territories. We are a people conducive to distinctiveness and diversity. We welcome people from distinct cultures instead of scorning those who are different. It is in this way that we hold on to our diversity yet continue to exist in unity and harmony. We have managed to live in disparate pieces of land and yet, we remain loyal to our country. We existed in a unique way: the Canadian way.
The lack of the due process in founding of a country represents only the legal facet of it all. Legalities have no prevented us from believing that we indeed belong to a country. We believe we belong to one nation and we live as one nation. In one of President Bill Clinton’s address to the Canadian Government, he stated that we should be followed by the rest of the world, he added: “For two centuries, you have shown the world how people of different cultures can live together in peace, prosperity and mutual respect, in a country where human differences are democratically expressed, not forcefully repressed”
Though this has been interpreted as an insult to Quebec’s ruling provincial party, this, on the other hand, can be considered as our asset that all of us can be proud of. Canada came into existence in a way that doesn’t conform to the way how other countries came to existence. In our history, there underlies the founding principles that would not only be part of us, but will be with us even through the coming centuries. Canada has remained to be a country that made a difference.
It would be something that our Fathers of Confederation would be proud of. We should be as proud as they would have been. We are all Canadians. Race, color, sex, or ethnic background should not prevent us from believing and living as a harmonious and unified country. It is about time that the idea of our nation’s ghost existence should be torn down and then forward we should march in our journey in keeping ourselves unified in a diversified nation