Back in April, I talked about Canada’s unique position when it comes to race and identity. Specifically, I talked about the fact that Canada doesn’t have a unified national identity, and that this allowed us to absorb culture from all over the world in a way that other countries can’t.
It appears that about half of Canadians agree with me:
Canadians are almost evenly split on whether residents of the country share a “common culture,” according to a new national survey exploring perceptions of social cohesion in Canada.
I suppose it’s more accurate to say that I agree with about half of Canadians, since the vast majority of Canadians don’t read this blog. Whatever the case, we can’t even agree if we have a common culture or not, suggesting to me that we don’t. This has its downside, absolutely. I am a proud Canadian, I love the shit out of this country. But pin me down and ask me to define what specific things I am proud of that other countries don’t have, and I might have a difficult time of it.
There was another piece to this article that caught my eye though:
More than three-quarters of respondents — about 77 per cent — agreed with the idea that “Canada’s cultural life is enriched by people with different cultural backgrounds than the majority.”
Again, this speaks perfectly to what I was talking about before. Canada is a rich mosaic that is built of cultures from everywhere. That is what unifies us – we don’t force capitulation to a standard of Canadian-ness. Our lack of -ness is our -ness.
This reality puts specific challenges in front of us, but potentially allows us to set the stage for the rest of the world. Everywhere immigration is becoming an issue. The world is connected like never before – the internet, accessibility of travel, increased global trade. Soon everywhere will find that their national identity is eroding under the gradual waves of novel cultural expression. How amazing would it be if the rest of the world looked to Canada as a model of how to make it work? How much more proud could we be of our country if we were the blueprint upon which the structure of cultural harmony and co-existence is built?
Plus, how much more awesome will our food be?