Canadian Identity Essay

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The concept of Canadian identity is difficult to define, as there are many unique interpretations of what it means to be Canadian. Throughout the development of Canada’s political and cultural landscape, a divide between the historically English and French speaking regions of Canada formed and, even today, this divide continues to exist. The government in the predominantly English-speaking regions of Canada created a single concept of what being Canadian meant, at the expense of other distinct cultures within Canada, including French-Canadians as well as Inuit, Metis, and First Nations groups. As British colonialism expanded across Canada, existing cultures became increasingly dominated by British values and cultural norms as the British attempted …show more content…
Settled by the French, the region culturally borrowed many customs from its parent nation, even long after the initial settlement. When the British took control of Canadian colonies owned by the French in 1774, the divide began to form . The Quebecois spoke a different language and belonged to a different society and culture from their new rulers, much like other colonial territories owned by the British Empire. Quebec was allowed to keep its own legal system and system of land ownership, but was firmly British territory, as a predecessor of the techniques of indirect rule the British would employ in later colonies . The historical area Quebec occupied soon came to be settled by English speaking loyalists from the American thirteen colonies, as if Quebec were conquered for additional territory as part of empirical expansion. These American colonists settled mainly in the southern portions of Quebec’s original territory, but clashed due to the primarily Anglophone, Protestant settlers struggling to relate to the Catholic, French speaking population . The territory was later subdivided in 1791 into two distinct territories divided along the Ottawa River, Upper and Lower Canada based on rising tensions between the English and French speaking populations . These two Canadas reflected the divide between English and French speaking settlements in Canada, and lead to …show more content…
Many of the colonies in Africa were receiving their own independence at this time, causing the people of Quebec to adopt an attitude of “Why not us too?” , believing it was time for them to receive their own distinct freedom. The needs of Quebec differed greatly from that of English speaking Canada for reasons of culture. Quebec had retained much of its historical, rural, Catholic heritage in spite of the active presence of the rest of Canada up through the 1960s, with this clash building up to the founding of the Parti Quebecois in 1967 . Headed by René Lévesque , a prominent figure in Quebec as a journalist and politician, the party quickly rose into prominence in Quebec, becoming the governing provincial party in 1976 . Rather than argue for outright independence however, under Lévesque the Parti Quebecois instead planned for a sovereignty association agreement with Canada- Quebec would be allowed to self-govern, but would still be considered part of Canada . This seemingly moderate stance was instead met with trepidation and reservations by the rest of Canada, but within Quebec, the party was widely supported . Quebec would finally achieve its own voice in Canada if such an agreement were ratified, which gave the people of Quebec hope they would receive rightful

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