What is Canada?

There seems to be a lot of debate over whether or not Canada is a nation. A nation is a group of people who are bound together by their beliefs, values, and collective identity. Does Canada, a country of difference and diversity, fit into this definition? Or are we a post-national state, disembodied from our identity and floating adrift in a world where borders and collective identity are less important and less relevant? I believe that Canada is a nation. We are bound together by our own form of nationalism, quieter than that of the United States, where it is common to flaunt a flag and pledge allegiance to the country, even in schools. Canada lacks this institutional nationalism, instead, we have created something uniquely Canadian: soft nationalism. Nationalism may have a bad name, with many governments using it to justify violent aggressions. However, “Healthy nationalism encourages people to cooperate”, writes Douglas Todd. It encourages us to work to build the best possible Canada, and take pride in the place where we live. When we compare our country to others, we are constantly ranked as one of the best places to live, one of the best places to get an education, one of the best places to be a part of the middle class. We see these rankings and feel a warm, self-assured pride. We really are one of the best places to live. Canada is a nation because of our collective sense of togetherness and pride in our home country. And this is reflected in our national identity. One of the arguments frequently used to dismiss Canada as a nation is that we lack a national identity. Our prime minister, Justin Trudeau, even went so far as saying that there was “no core identity, no mainstream in Canada”. Marshall McLahan says that Canada is the only country “that knows how to live without a national identity”. Is this really true? Or are we confusing our lack of an American-esk nation with not having one at all. Now, national identity is the ” sense of a nation as a cohesive whole, as represented by distinctive traditions, culture, and language” as defined by the Google dictionary. Canada has two languages, English and French; we have traditions: remnants of our monarchy, like our Governor General; Canada Day, where we are reminded of Confederation and the rich and vibrant history of our nation; Remembrance Day, where we thank the fallen soldiers that sacrificed everything to preserve our country. Our culture, our institutions, our achievements, less aggressive and in-your-face than our southern neighbor, but still thriving. Our diversity, our multiculturalism, our different beliefs and views and thoughts and feelings all bind us together. Our differences, and pride in our differences, create our community. They create the nation of Canada.

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