Volume 93, Issue 95

Wednesday, March 29, 2000


Maybe parents should get a detention

Confusing acceptance with tolerance

CASA vs. CFS - the battle rages on

Column shows deviancy, hypocrisy

Art is a work of pure genius

Attack obscured in generalization

Sailboat much like Stonehenge

Diverse or just confused?

Diverse or just confused?

By Colin Butler
Graphics Editor

Canada is a good country.

I was born here and during my relatively short lifetime, I've grown quite attached to it. In truth, I love it. Which is why I'd hate to see it go. You see, if Canada were to ever bite the dust, it would not be through war, or act of God, it would be through a loss of identity.

Let's face it – Canada has always had a little bit of an identity crisis. We've never really had a culture which was 100 per cent Canadian.

At first we were French, because, all the Canadas were originally New France. Then in 1759, we became British and red coats hoisted the Union Jack atop the ramparts of Québec City.

We gained autonomy from Great Britain in 1867, but Canadians never really identified themselves as anything more than British subjects until 1917, when all four divisions of the Canadian Corps scaled the slopes of Vimy Ridge and won the first British victory of the Great War.

According to most historians, this is when we became Canadian. Shortly afterwards, British influence began to decline and they had plenty of rebuilding to do after the German blitz of the Second World War.

So now here we are – sitting on the Northern border of the most powerful nation in the history of civilization. Luckily, they're our friends. Unfortunately, they dominate our relationship.

American media spills over our border every day. It's hard to resist the freedom loving charm and dogmatic allure of a well-defined and jingoist culture that is the United States. Their cultural industry has become a vilified enemy and a staple in Canada all at the same time.

This problem is compounded by the Canadian experiment of becoming the first truly "international nation." Don't get me wrong, multiculturalism is a good thing. I'm proud to live in a nation tolerant enough to accept people of other customs and conventions into its citizenship without asking for a fundamental change in their belief system.

But as the cultural nature of the Canadian population changes, Canadian identity is at risk of being blurred along with it, to the extent that it may be erased. Instituting multiculturalism in Canada is much like giving someone who isn't sure who they are, a multiple personality disorder. It can get rather confusing.

Maybe the whole problem is that I'm looking for a concrete definition of what a Canadian is. Perhaps the Canadian identity should remain liquid in order to fit in its container. Maybe the day we're sure of what a Canadian is in black and white, is the day we've become insular and cut off from the depth of character which humanity possesses.

This homogeneity may also prove to be our destruction in face of the American juggernaut which dominates our meek domestic culture. A diverse people will need to be overrun again and again, while a less diverse one needs to be overrun just once. So in not knowing exactly who we are as Canadians, do we protect our own identities as Canadians?

I don't know all the answers. I just have a lot of questions. And I don't claim to be a scholar, I'm a cartoonist for a student newspaper and a Canadian, whatever that means.

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