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Is Canada Losing It’s Identity Essay, Research Paper
“Is there still enough Canadiana in Canada?”
“Liapkin rolled one to Savard… Savard cleared the pass to Stapleton, He cleared to the open wing to Cournoyer, Cournoyer took a shot! The defenseman fell over Liapkin… Now Cournoyer has it on the wing… There’s a shot! Henderson makes a wild stab for it and fell… Here’s another shot… right in front… Henderson has scored for Canada!” – Foster Hewitt, September 1972
If you were a Canadian on that fabled day in ‘72, you most likely knew where you were, what you were doing and how old you were. Most Canadians were huddled around TV sets and radios when Paul Henderson scored with 34 seconds remaining in the 8th game to win the Summit Series challenge for Canada against the Soviets. I personally wasn’t born 9 years, 1 month later, however, I know the story all too well and it has a place in my heart as many vintage Canadian moments do. The question is, do many people still view themselves as proud Canadians? Many think we are simply the 51st state or a refugee dump station for other countries.
As the world drives into the 21st century, technology is taking an increasing role in everyone’s lives. New innovations, such as the Internet, are making every corner of the world closer. This is known as globalization. Where before countries were thought to be quite distant, today, we can travel and converse quicker then we ever could before. I believe it’s this reason why Canadians feel that they’re no longer their own sovereign country. This makes our country more accessible to other nations. Because of it, more people are visiting our corner of the globe and then moving here when they realize what a great place it is to live. Many feel our current immigration policy is a bit out of control and that many Canadian-born residents are losing jobs. However, Canada is a country that is largely founded by the early immigration by early-1800’s Europeans so diversity is a part of our heritage. Many feel it’s the American influence on our society that is causing our loss in identity.
In the last 20 years, many Canadian owned corporations have been bought out or simply lost out and closed in the competitive business market. Good examples are Woolco and Woodwards are out, American owned Walmart is in. Most small Canadian businesses can’t compete with the large resources that the ever expanding American chains rely on. Does every new McDonalds opened mean another family business will go under? A great deal believe so. Media plays a big role in our Americanization as in any major Canadian center if you flip though the television channels you’ll find more from the U.S. then up north. Canadians in these major centers are even watching U.S. News telecasts. It’s no secret that the U.S.A. is our biggest trading partner and vice versa. So it’s no shock with NAFTA and the largest unprotected border in the world that you would come to the conclusion that Canada is the 51st state.
Then there is the Quebec issue. How can a country call itself proud and dignified when 15% of it’s population wants to separate? It’s hard to control outer influences on a country like the U.S. businesses and media and it’s even harder to control the worlds growing population and immigration to Canada. However, the issue of an internal section of Canada itself wanting out is the most complex and hardest to deal with. It dates back to those early settlers of Canada and the two conflicting mother tongues, English and French. Over the last 200 years, Canada has evolved into a bilingual country where English is the dominant language. This offends the rights of many of the French, who largely live in the province of Quebec, who feel they’re not being treated equally. This is an ongoing problem which may never go away as it’s proved the test of time so far. One of Canada’s best attribute is we are one of the only countries who have managed to have two separate cultures coexist on a large scale. At the same time, it might be one of it’s worst problems.
All is not lost for the average Canadian however. There are still many signs that Canada is a dignified country with many people who endorse pure Canadiania. Some of the best evidence of this is when the Olympics come every second year. Canadians always proudly endorse their athletes abroad no matter what region of Canada they call home. The sport of hockey has long been something Canadians from Newfoundland to Vancouver Island all can identify with. Our hockey teams and players from world tournaments right down to minor hockey always endorse themselves as being lucky and proud to represent the country. We are a leader in world politics when it comes to peacekeeping and aid missions and many countries have a special place for Canada in their heart. Not to mention the countries we helped liberate in the WWI and WWII. Canadians can travel all over the world knowing there is not a country that they are in a serious conflict with.
As far as media is concerned, there is also a recent swing towards many pro-Canadian television shows and most noticeably, commercials. Much like the new Molson Canadian commercial featuring “Joe” and his rant about being Canadian.
“I’m not a lumber jack or a fur trader, and I don’t live in an igloo or eat blubber or own a dog sled. And I don’t know Jimmy, Sally or Suzie from Canada, although I’m certain they’re really, really nice. I have a Prime Minister, not a President. I speak English and French, not American. And I pronounce it “about”, not “aboot”. I can proudly sew my country’s flag on my backpack. I believe in peace keeping not policing, diversity not assimilation. And that the beaver is a truly proud and noble animal. A toque is a hat. A chesterfield is a couch. And it IS pronounced “zed”, not “zee” – “ZED!”. Canada is the second largest land mass, the first nation of hockey and the best part of North America!! My name is Joe, and I AM CANADIAN!!! Thank you.” – Molson Canadian Commercial, 2000
More Canadian pride can be taken from the fact Hockey Night in Canada is the longest running syndicated television in the world. Many commercials have been running for the last 5 years featuring prominent historical Canadian moments and everyone is becoming increasingly aware of our roots. Also many web sites now offer Canadian alternatives to their site, like “Yahoo.ca” which will find Canadian web sites before searching the rest of the Internet.
There are some disappointing losses to some of our heritage as some companies and traditions won’t live on into the 21st century. However, this is happening all over the world as everything is becoming, bigger, better, faster and more importantly closer. Canada has to follow the flow or we will be left in the dust. the future doesn’t mean we will lose our identity, instead it means we will have to endorse it more openly as there is more of a world stage to play on. As long as Canada remains friendly with major countries like the U.S. and makes sure they keep their own identity at the same time, we will be in good shape to remain the best country in the world for quality of life until the 22nd century. My name is Kris, and I am Canadian!
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