Identity Politics in Canada
Every political party has a certain vision of what their country should be. The questions of identity have always been very important to Canada. In the following essay, I would like to overview the situation with identity politics in the context of Canada's political parties and analyze how it was changed through years and what consequences we are facing now as a result.
Everything has it start from the past. Unlike the U.S. cities, in the capital of Canada, the immigration is a hot-button issue because of separatism that has an old history. Even before Confederation of Lord Duhram’s report, it stated that it is not possible for a single nation to be formed from both English and French communities. Conflicts over identity have been challenging Canada’s future since that time. The constitution turmoil and the sovereignty referendums in Qu?bec were the reasons for establishment of national political community in Canada. Moreover, in 2000 the Clarity Act, which stated a mandatory negotiation with the province, that declared the required unilateral independence, was passed by the Liberal government.
In comparison to other Canadian areas, Quebec has a distinct francophone culture and the division inside it has an impact on politics at both the Federal and provincial levels. At the Federal level, Canada (having the variation of the Westminster parliamentary system) has a Conservative Party representative Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The country has a minority government, which has a reputation of not being very stable, as the recent polls show that people would prefer to have more stable majority government, where one party has the majority of the seats in the Government.
The situation with immigration in Canada is very tricky, as it was involved in the some serious nationalists’ activities. The “Canadians first” campaign that was launched in 2009, and it increased the feeling of solidarity and national pride. It was successful everywhere, except for Quebec, which thought that only sovereignty could be a solution and could help to defend their interests and beliefs. The diaspora effect was diminished and people seek a sense of identity that was based on ethnic, historical, religious, and linguistic links. This is obvious that the sense of identity was reborn; the State is very active in all social areas, where social interference is at a minimum level. Intrusive measures and protectionism are rising, which is supported by the political parties.
For the moment, there are Federal parties, provincial and territorial parties in Canada. Among the first ones are The Conservative Party of Canada, New Democratic Party, Liberal Party of Canada and others. Provincial and territorial parties include Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta, Wildrose Party, British Columbia Liberal party and others.
What are the political visions on identity politics of those parties in general? It is quite hard to make some conclusions for a relatively young country, which is comprised of countless ethnic groups to have a very clear political vision and well-panned action points related to the topic of this essay. According to Kenneth M. Kambara in his article published in Society pages, Quebec and its political vision that is different form other parts of the country “cultural divide naturally affects politics at both the provincial and federal levels”.
Individualism has never been so highly distinguished in Canada as in is the U.S., which leads it to higher expectations for public order, provides more passion to collectivize public risk and as result gives more tolerance to those who have close cultural connections to their ethnic groups. All the discussions over “identity” which have resulted in Canada are pushed into heated international debates. Canadians are more willing to tolerate the plurality of identities. Unfortunately, many Canadians were not even bothered to lean the words of their own anthem for many years, as there are many conflicts between politics that comes from old times and modern republican individuals. According to Tracey Raney, who is a representative from University of Calgary, “Canadian nationalism may not be such an elusive or problematic phenomenon to most Canadians after all”. This is a main indicator that everything is getting better.
To conclude, I would like to add that is is really hard for Canada to find the balance between self and society, as it is historically known as a country with the biggest amount of different controversial cultural identities that are combined in one country, but which is struggling to raise the level of self-identity. Still, based on the analysis I have conducted, I can say that Canada is known for the ability to downplay identity per se, and, due to the identity policies implemented by political parties, more and more Canadians associate themselves with as “a Canadian by birth”. This is interesting to see how country is developing its “characteristic fares in an era where Canada is seen as a great experiment in identity theory”. This is a clear proof that political parties are very interested in increasing the level of identity. It is brought with the way of upbringing and continues to gain strengths.
Based on the analyzed information it can say that identity politics in terms of political parties in Canada have changed through all the years, starting from “Tory” politics and ending with Federal parties that have implemented today “Canadians first” campaign and other similar campaigns. First, country was more divided because of the influence of British colonies policies and people rarely saw themselves as true Canadians because the sense of identity was on a very low level.
During the recent years with some efforts that were put by politician and civil organizations it is obvious that now , more Canadians feel the “identity” and this is positive.
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