Canadian Studies CANA1F90
Past and Present- September 24 , 2012
Why is History important?
How does it help us to understand a nation?
The present is the lens through which we examine our past
A nation is always changing and evolving, therefore, the collective memory must
always be changing, just like society's values.
Certain events happen, so we look to the past in order to explain them
Ex. Multiculturalism- We look to the past which reflect the importance of
multiculturalism and the value of it today
Ex. Underground Railroad- we tend to emphasize our role as a welcoming
country.The problem is, in that history, we ignore the racism present in Canada
Collective memory tend to highlight certain memories from our past and ignore
Ex. Canada's Peacekeeping Nation- We value it, but we ignore those facts in our
past that show we were a very military oriented country.
"Through the very fact of their respect for the past, people come to reconstruct it as
they considered it ought to have been"- Marc Bloch, Historian
How does the present affect a nation's collective memory?
Confederation 1867 --> Expansion --> World War One 1914-1918 --> Canada on
the International Stage, Great Depression and Social Welfare --> World War Two
1939-1945 --> The Cold War Era --> Quebec's "Quiet Revolution"--> Canada's
Constitution --> September 11, 2001
• The first goal of Canada was expansion
• In June of 1867, the American's bought Alaska from the Russians, and wanted
British Columbia as well. So, the Canadian government wanted to expand
into the Pacific Ocean in order to see who would claim that land first
Red River Rebellion, 1869-1870
• Red River Settlement
• Louis Riel
Manitoba Act, 1870
• Métis were frightened when they found out they were now apart of Canada
• Louis Riel fought to keep the Métis out of Canada
• In particular, Canada wanted to come to an agreement quickly with the Métis
because America was watching.
The Manitoba Act of 1870: Created the 5th province
Dominion Lands Act, 1872 • Free land to settlers
Northwest Mounted Police (NWMP): Established in 1873
• Later renamed Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) "Mounties"
• Becomes symbolic to Canadian's symbol of war
British Columbia: 1871
Prince Edward Island: 1873
• Prime Minister John A. MacDonald
• The National Policy- transformed Canada into what we know today. It was simple,
yet effective. The first thing, was to build a Transcontinental Railway
• There were promises at the end of confederation that there would be a railway
between Ontario and British Columbia
• Transcontinental Railway- Canadian Pacific Railway
• Promote industry- specifically farming
• Settlement of west- already started to promote that with the Dominion Land Act
• National Policy promoted settlement in the prairies
Northwest Rebellion: Very quickly moved out
Saskatchewan and Alberta: 1905
Expansion happens very quickly
In 1867, with Confederation, the British had insisted that Britain would
continue to represent us.
Canada doesn't have control over national affairs
• Alaskan boundary dispute, 1903
• Gold was discovered in the Yukon
• Who controls the panhandle, controls all the movement of gold in and out of the
• Need to decide who's that is
• There is a commission appointed- 6 people (3 Americans, 2 Canadians, and 1
• While the British are involved in their own problems, the British look after their
• Americans vote that it's theirs, Canada's vote that it's theirs, and the British votes
that it's America's. Therefore, the Americans get the panhandle
• Our ties to Great Britain are starting to fray.
• Canada: We're a nation, why should Britain have a say over our decisions?
Aid for the British Navy?
• British are interested in building their own navy- British government comes to
Canada and asks for money
• Canadian government has to make a decision- some say yes, some say no. So,
there's a compromise made, which is, that Canada wanted to establish their
own navy • Uncertainty in Canada whether or not we can trust the British
• The testing point comes very quickly: World War 1
World War One: 1914-1918
Defining moment for Canada?
Some people argue it was a defining moment economically
• Vimy Ridge, April 1917: German stronghold, the French had tried to take it, they
failed, the British had tried and failed, Canada had succeeded
• Conscription, 1917: French-English Relations
• Paris Peace Conference: Two major powers opposed (British and Americans)
against us having our own say in the Peace Conference. However, we got
siding power, and ended as an independent nation
When Britain declared war, Canada was automatically in war because of our
relationship with Great Britain
Fought as a nation
Canada and the World
• Imperial Conference, 1926: Conference of the British Empire. Canada, along
with the other leaders of the Empire, all argued that they were of equal status
to Great Britain. Britain agreed that Great Britain and other dominion
empires (like Canada), were all equal.
• Statue of Westminster 1931: Offered C