Belonging: The Meaning and Future of Canadian Citizenship

Copyright Date: 1993
Pages: 400
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    Several contributors deal with the quality of Canadian citizenship and the principle of distributive justice applied to all citizens. Others offer a "lament" for the Canadian nation, analysing and explaining why the vision of Canadian citizenship as an allegiance to the federation did not succeed in overcoming the varied loyalties pulling Canadians in different directions. Some authors celebrate this failure, arguing that maintaining dual alliance to the nation and province is more important.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6383-4
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Contributors
    (pp. vii-xii)
  4. Preface
    (pp. 1-2)
    William Kaplan
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 3-22)

    Canadian citizenship is not a highly researched field. If anything, the opposite is true, perhaps because many, if not most, Canadians take their citizenship for granted and until recently have given it little, if any thought. Canadians clearly have not turned their citizenship into a source and symbol of national pride. This, of course, is wholly consistent with the Canadian character. English Canadians do not wave flags (except when they are on vacation in Europe), and while some stomp on flags, their numbers are extremely small. Many French-speaking Canadians have a more direct attachment to the flag — not Canada’s but...

  6. PART ONE History
    • Something of Value? Subjects and Citizens in Canadian History
      (pp. 25-35)

      A nation, it is commonly accepted, is a community of citizens, a sovereign people. This seems a firm enough definition, but of course in history, especially Canadian history, nothing is straightforward. There are two further problems. From a historical point of view, the design and uses of citizenship are often inconsistent over time. And this being Canadian history, conceptions of a nation, or of membership in a nation, have depended on the actions or ideologies of others: in the first instance, the colonizers of North America, and in the second, the histories and philosophies that they brought with them to...

    • The “Hard” Obligations of Citizenship: The Second World War in Canada
      (pp. 36-49)

      In the spring of 1944, the Canadian army in Canada was exerting itself to persuade approximately 60,000 home–defence conscripts enrolled under the National Resources Mobilization Act (NRMA) to volunteer for active service overseas. Some of the conscripts, derisively labelled “Zombies” by a harshly critical public in English Canada, had been in the army since 1941, and after years of similar efforts to persuade them, they were by now well-hardened to resist appeals to their patriotism.

      The main effort to “convert” Zombies into general service volunteers was taking place at Vernon, BC. No. 13 Brigade had some 5,000 men, almost...

    • Divided Loyalties? Divided Country?
      (pp. 50-63)

      Citizenship is both a legal and an emotional concept. It is a means of categorizing individuals and of giving them an identity. Citizenship defines an individual’s rights, responsibilities, and opportunities; it also implies loyalty and commitment to a national entity. A citizen can claim the protection of his or her nation and, by the same token, is compelled to contribute to that protection. Because of citizenship’s legal and emotional dimensions, its betrayal, or treason, has ranked among the most heinous of crimes and subject to the most ingeniously hideous of punishments.¹ To be a stateless person has been a pitiable...

    • Citizenship and the People’s World
      (pp. 64-78)

      No one who lived through the Second World War escaped its impact. As a back-bench member of the House of Commons through most of the war, my experience is understandably coloured by that perspective. One of the most memorable moments for me remains the solemn hush of the members when Prime Minister Mackenzie King told us on 6 June 1944 that Allied troops had begun to land on the northern coast of France. Canadian forces were taking part in the long-awaited Normandy landings which we all hoped would be the beginning of the end in the war against Germany. On...

    • Ebb and Flow: Citizenship in Newfoundland, 1929—1949
      (pp. 79-103)

      Citizenship implies costs and benefits, duties and obligations, as well as rights and advantages. During the 1930s, for an alarmingly high proportion of the people of Newfoundland the costs of citizenship were high and the benefits remarkably few. In truth, during that tumultuous decade, the value of citizenship was diminished shockingly as the Depression undermined both private and public life. The clear evidence of this devaluation was suspension of elected selfgovernment in 1934 in favour of government by a commission appointed by the United Kingdom. In a famous phrase, the Canadian historian A.R.M. Lower characterized the development of Canada as...

    • A Post-Modern Dominion: The Changing Nature of Canadian Citizenship
      (pp. 104-120)

      As much as it is a legal fact created by legislation, citizenship is a metaphor: for most people, in most countries, it stands for a tangle of human connections, past and future, at the same time that it defines entitlements and reponsibilities. In every country the metaphor is complicated by local feeling and frequently called into question by the unfolding surprises of history – such as, in northern Europe, the recent arrival of a generation of new human beings, the children of guest workers, who may or may not be allowed to live permanently in the countries of their birth. The...

  7. PART TWO Regions
    • Citizenship and Acadie: The Art of the Possible
      (pp. 123-136)

      If asked to name a jurisdiction that is officially bilingual, whose population is two-thirds English-speaking and one-third Frenchspeaking, whose head of government must be bilingual to be elected, where the French-speaking community wants more control over its affairs and some of them call for separation, most people would say Canada. It would also be correct to say New Brunswick.

      The significant Acadian presence within New Brunswick makes it an excellent microcosm of Canada and Canadian tensions. Microcosms being miniature representations, the options available to Quebec, for example, are only dreamt of in Acadie. Acadie is the other variation on the...

    • Belonging: An Essential Element of Citizenship - A Franco-Ontarian perspective
      (pp. 137-151)

      Our concept of citizenship is founded on political structures the foundations of which are quickly becoming irrelevant. For example, the countries of the European Community are in the process of redefining the notion of the nation-state, the basic unit of international law and politics. This transformation is possible only because the underlying reasons for the creation and maintenance of the nation-state have themselves largely been rendered obsolete by the economic and political realities of the late twentieth century. As the foundation of the concept undergoes these radical changes, so by necessity must the derivative idea of citizenship.

      In its strictly...

    • La citoyenneté et le Québec
      (pp. 152-163)

      Si la citoyenneté se définit comme étant l’état d’être un citoyen: “membre d’un État considéré du point de vue de ses devoirs et de ses droits civils et politiques”² d’entrée de jeu, il m’apparaît que pour les Québécois cette appartenance est premièrement à l’État québécois et secondairement à l’État canadien.

      Ceci peut sembler peu nuancé à litre d’introduction mais, à mon avis, il est important de dissiper une fois pour toute cette ambiguїté qui contribue à alimenter depuis trente ans la confusion et inévitablement l’absence de compréhension de ce que ultimement “Quebec wants?” Au risque de paraître redondante, il n’en...

    • Citoyenneté québécoise, citoyenneté canadienne et citoyenneté commune selon le modéle de l’Union européenne
      (pp. 164-178)

      Si l’avenir se traduit par la mutation du Québec en État souverain, et ce scénario d’avenir est plausible si l’on examine les tendances de l’opinon au Québec et au Canada, de même que les errements et écueils de l’actuel processus de réforme constitutionnelle, il n’est pas inutile d’aborder dès maintenant la question de la citoyennetà en regard de l’hypothese de l’accession du Québec à la souveraineté. Cette question n’a pu échapper aux politiciens, comme en font foiles échanges entre la secrétaire d’État aux Affaires extérieures du Canada et le chef du Parti québécois¹ et a d’ailleurs fait l’objet d’analyses de...

  8. PART THREE Law, the Constitution, and Economics
    • The Fragmentation of Canadian Citizenship
      (pp. 181-220)

      The theory and practice of Canadian citizenship, in the broadest political sense, have been not eternal, unchanging verities, but rather materials for an unending debate. The pre—First World War debates between the imperialist British Canadians and the rival liberal nationalists were, although the word may not have been used, about citizenship, about whether the boundaries of political community and civic allegiance were restricted to Canada or also, through ties of kinship and political tradition, encompassed the mother country. The debates surrounding the conscription crises of both world wars were citizenship controversies about the extent and nature of civic obligation....

    • Citizenship, the Constitution Act, 1867, and the Charter
      (pp. 221-244)

      This essay examines the treatment accorded citizenship by the Canadian constitution. It reveals a contrast between the rhetoric of citizenship as a metaphor for fundamental rights and privileges and the reality of the limited weight that citizenship carries in constitutional law and doctrine.

      In ordinary discourse, the concept of citizenship is a broad one, identifying those shared values and fundamental rights and obligations that bind people together as a political community. It has become commonplace in Canada, particularly since the advent of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982, to identify the fundamental rights and freedoms accorded by the...

    • Who Belongs? Changing Concepts of Citizenship and Nationality
      (pp. 245-264)

      Historically, citizenship has meant membership in a nation-state and demanded allegiance as a condition for that membership. Allegiance to a membership ideal – whether national, racial, linguistic, democratic, cultural, or otherwise – was considered unique. It created a socially consequential status which demanded loyalty to one’s country. Thus, not long ago citizenship was readily, if not always easily, defined. This is no longer so.¹

      The mass migrations, of this century, from the Old World to the New, from developing to industrialized countries, have challenged traditional notions about citizenship, not to mention the nationstate. Borders no longer serve as barriers, and all over...

    • The Costs and Benefits of Being Canadian
      (pp. 265-300)

      The title of this essay conveys an impression of both consummate arrogance and complete hopelessness. Fortunately, having had the title imposed on me, I can, with some comfort, note that the arrogance is not mine. The concept of costs and benefits, when applied in the current circumstances, yields, however, an infinite variety of outcomes, corresponding to the unlimited imaginations of Canadians who re-create this type of analysis every day.

      An assessment of the costs of being Canadian might dwell on the harsh climate or the long distances that separate our centres of population and our economic resources. Or it might...

  9. PART FOUR Individuals and Groups
    • Citizenship and the Trade Union Movement
      (pp. 303-313)

      The Canadian trade union movement is concerned, above all else, with the promotion of collective rights. Individual unions, and their central labour bodies, give expression to this concern in many tangible ways. The rules governing the rights and responsibilities of union members, normally enshrined in constitutions and by-laws, give concrete expression to this reality. So too does the negotiation process, whereby terms and conditions of employment are enumerated in collective – as opposed to individual – agreements.

      Normally this posture prevails without public controversy. Occasionally, however, it becomes a flashpoint, because promotion of collective rights inevitably gives short shrift to individual rights...

    • Citizenship and Social Change: Canadian Women’s Struggle for Equality
      (pp. 314-332)

      “Citizen” is defined by the Funk and WagnallsCanadian College Dictionaryas “a native or naturalized person owing allegiance to and entitled to protection from a government.”

      For very good reason, women have often wondered about the nature of protection they have received from their governments. For centuries laws discriminated against them. In Canada, there was a gap of five decades between Confederation and women winning the vote. And in 1992, seventy years after women’s suffrage was introduced, women are less than 20 per cent of legislators. Women are still petitioners, not lawmakers. Ironically, in a world that is fast...

    • Racism as a Barrier to Canadian Citizenship
      (pp. 333-348)

      The highest status that a state can bestow on its inhabitants is that of citizenship. Out of its history as part of the British empire and later the (British) Commonwealth, Canada has been a part of “British citizenry” for most of its existence. Nevertheless, something called “Canadian citizenship” did emerge in 1947 with the passage of the Canadian Citizenship Act. At this point Canada was still — as it continues to be, although the equation is changing - a country dominated nated by white immigrants and white values. The immigrants came mainly from Europe, and the values were predominantly white, Anglo-Saxon,...

    • First Nations and Canadian Citizenship
      (pp. 349-367)

      Citizenship. The very word conjures up notions of freedom and autonomy, the right to participate, a sense of belonging. The Western political tradition regards the evolution of citizenship as its crowning democratic achievement. However, for the First Nations over whom Canada asserts jurisdiction, the experience of Canadian citizenship has been somewhat less than ennobling.

      The political status of the First Nations within the Canadian Confederation has never been satisfactorily resolved. The prevailing Canadian mythology portrays a transition from ally to subject to ward to citizen. In First Nations circles, this is often referred to as “the Big Lie.” This theory...

    • A Question of Belonging: Multiculturalism and Citizenship
      (pp. 368-387)

      The early seventies, York University, Toronto.

      The cafeteria in Central Square was large and brashly lit. It was institutional, utilitarian, a place forfeedingoneself rather than enjoying a meal. The sounds of trays and cutlery roughly handled clanged from among the busyness of students grabbing a bite between classes. Off to one side, others too harried to pause for long fed quarters to the coffee machines.

      I was new to the country, the city, and the university, still foundering around in the unfamiliarity of my surroundings.

      The cafeteria seemed a benign atmosphere, friendly in an impersonal way. Inserting oneself...