Cultures of Citizenship in Post-war Canada, 1940 - 1955

Cultures of Citizenship in Post-war Canada, 1940 - 1955

Copyright Date: 2003
Pages: 344
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Cultures of Citizenship in Post-war Canada, 1940 - 1955
    Book Description:

    The years between the end of World War II and the mid-1960s have usually been viewed as an era of political and social consensus made possible by widely diffused prosperity, creeping Americanization and fears of radical subversion, and a dominant culture challenged periodically by the claims of marginal groups. By exploring what were actually the mainstream ideologies and cultural practices of the period, the authors argue that the postwar consensus was itself a precarious cultural ideal that was characterized by internal tensions and, while containing elements of conservatism, reflected considerable diversity in the way in which citizenship identities were defined. Contributors include Denyse Baillargeon (Université de Montréal), P.E. Bryden (Mount Allison University), Nancy Christie, Michael Gauvreau, Karine Hebert (Carleton University), Len Kuffert (Carleton University), and Peter S. McInnis (St Francis Xavier University).

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-7144-0
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Contributors
    (pp. ix-2)
  5. INTRODUCTION: Recasting Canada’s Post-war Decade
    (pp. 3-26)
  6. “Stabbing our spirits broad awake”: Reconstructing Canadian Culture, 1940–1948
    (pp. 27-62)

    A few historians of English Canada have identified, within the first half of the twentieth century, the seeds of what became a more effervescent cultural nationalism during the second.¹ Though emerging from World War ii meant economic and social changes that are now well-documented, we have less frequently explored the war’s significance as a staging ground for cultural activism or criticism. Neither do we often portray the years immediately following wartime as more than an awkward period in which the restoration of material well-being trumped other considerations.² In 1943, though millions were involved in the war effort overseas and on...

  7. “Look out for Leviathan”: The Search for a Conservative Modernist Consensus
    (pp. 63-94)

    In January 1956 W.O. Fennell delivered a speech to a round-table session sponsored by the Workers’ Education Association of the University of Toronto entitled “Soviet Materialism versus American Materialism.” Fennell diagnosed what he believed to be the central problems of modern society. The relentless search for economic prosperity, combined with the growth of scientific rationalism in both government and business, had, in his estimation, eroded spiritual values that he identified as the essence of individual self-identity and true democracy. So dominant did he consider the convergence of materialism and social engineering that “even in the intimate realms of pesonal relations”...

  8. Teamwork for Harmony: Labour-Management Production Committees and the Post-war Settlement in Canada
    (pp. 95-132)

    In October 1942 Prime Minister Mackenzie King addressed a convention of the American Federation of Labor in Toronto, and he called for the formal establishment of labour-management committees “in every industry in our country.”¹ His remarks signalled the start of one of the most successful and long-lived cooperative experiments in Canadian industrial relations: the labour-management production committees (lmpcs). Designed to encourage teamwork and harmony among competing interests in the workplace, these committees were to counter the critical wartime problems of worker absenteeism and low industrial productivity. They were also to function as conduits for the exchange of productivity information between...

  9. Beyond the Green Book: The Ontario Approach to Intergovernmental Relations, 1945–1955
    (pp. 133-162)

    Although the Dominion-Provincial Conference on Reconstruction in 1945–46 failed in spectacular fashion, producing neither an agreement on the issues nor an agreement to adjourn, the federal government proposals contained in the Green Book are nevertheless regarded as having provided the blueprint for the Canadian social security net that had developed by the end of the 1960s. But the eventual success of the 1945 proposals would surely not have been apparent to an observer a decade after the conference: with the establishment of unemployment assistance, pensions, and health insurance still yet to come, from the vantage point of 1955 the...

  10. Between the Future and the Present: Montreal University Student Youth and the Post-war Years, 1945–1960
    (pp. 163-200)

    As World War II drew to an end, the students of the Université de Montréal and McGill University once again began gradually to participate in a number of extracurricular activities that had been suspended during the conflict. For example, after a five-year absence, the Université de Montréal’s evening of drama and comedy, the Revue Bleu et Or, was reborn from the ashes, under Jean-Louis Roux’s creative direction. At McGill, university athletics, which since 1940 had been limited to intramural competitions, recovered its pre-war dimensions as intercollegiate Canadian athletic associations were reconstituted.² However, while at one level the willingness of students...

  11. The Protracted Birth of the Canadian “Teenager”: Work, Citizenship, and the Canadian Youth Commission, 1943–1955
    (pp. 201-238)

    “The age of adolescence in this northern clime,” acidly observed the Queen’s University historian Arthur Lower in 1955, “is supposed to run from about 12 to 16. In our wisdom, we Canadians have discovered a method of prolonging it to 18, 19 and in certain cases, 20 years of age.” Reflecting upon the fact that for the first time, more than half the Canadian adolescents aged fourteen to seventeen were actually in high school, Lower identified “this undue prolongation of adolescence” as the principal symptom of a mass culture he so despised, one dominated by “softness – our sentimentalism.”¹ What...

  12. “We admire modern parents”: The École des Parents du Québec and the Post-war Quebec Family, 1940–1959
    (pp. 239-276)

    In a similar way to English-speaking North American societies, Quebec during the 1930s and 1940s was confronted by profound economic and social transformations that aroused considerable anxieties around the subject of the family and its ability to deal with the “modern” world. These apprehensions induced the Catholic Church to undertake a number of initiatives to attempt to rechristianize the family,² but they also led to the formation of the École des Parents du Québec (édp), an association of lay people that aimed to solidify the family by diffusing new methods of education and defending the interests of the family in...