Ian McKay- he argues that there are two conventional ways of studying Canada.
o The nationalist paradigm (national histories that are designed to keep the country
together shows in things like history textbooks, heritage moments, it relies on the
idea that Canada is a positive thing that needs to be maintained. The aim is to bring us
into the country.
o He argues that in Canadian history what we see over the past 20 years if what moves
to a socio-cultural paradigm a series of history, it isnt about keeping the country
together but dividing it into a series of categories (race, gender), it is about
understanding the difference within society.
o He tells us that we need to think of Canada as an ongoing and historically specific
project (it isnt this concrete thing that exists, it is an ONGOING project). He argues
that the project of Canada is about extending liberalism as far and deeply as possible.
The project of Canada is about extending the idea of individual liberty (the individual
is the key element of society). It is about extending the idea that we have a liberal
sense of quality (everyone is treated the same under the law) and that the project of
Canada is about extending the idea of property rights, but the key thing is that the
ongoing project of Canada is always resistive by certain segments of the population.
That means that Canada is a very incoherent and unfixed idea. What we have to think
about is what are the forces of society that are extending and resisting the project of
Canada. He adds that Canada is unfinished.
Francis: Canadian Identity as a myth
He argues that Canadian history and Canadian society are held together by a series of myths about the present.
He argues that many of the things that we cling onto in Canadian history in essential elements of our identity
(RCMP as being clean and polite representation of the law, multiculturalism), the image that we have of many
of these things are not rooted in reality. The key thing about his study is not that myths are lies or that they are
false, he argues that myths serve a very important purpose in our understanding of Canada in the sense that
they hold everything together for us. For Frances a myth is not a lie, but something that represents a deeper
truth (it doesnt matter if its true or not, it matters why that make sense to us, how they circulate through
society) he argues that there are core myths in every society, ones that come up again and again that contain
within them many different ideas, they tell us what our values are as society, about our ideals. They make
history coherent for us. History is a very complex, contradictory elusive thing and they make this very
understandable for us (comprehensible) they allow us to organize events and figure out where we are
positioned within these events/histories. Even though many of our myths are rooted in history, they are very
much about the present, and what we want to see within ourselves at the present time. We take a set of values
that are important to us (being polite) and we project the backwards into the past, so when we encounter
something like contact or settlement we are reading that event through the lens that we already know we are
polite and tolerant, we see what we want to see through that. Myths orient our understanding of history and
make it seem coherent to us. He argues that these myths are very important elements of the imagined
community, he is building on Andersons idea, and myths are one of the major ways with how we insert
ourselves into this imagined community. Myths are not designed to be an accurate series of events, but they
are about interpreting events. He also argues that myths have a flipside (negative myths within society) and
we can use them to demonize certain groups of people that we may not like, we can use them to define
enemies within the country (the general strike in Winnipeg), these simplify history, we also need to remember
that when we think about history and memory and myths that our society deliberately forgets things (we
choose what we remember and what we forget). In the case of settling Canada we forget the brutal aspects of
that history and he argues that settlement in Canada is very easily the most important event in Canada but we
have paid little attention to. Civic ideology related to what Nimijean talks about, Francis argues that civic
ideology is the idea that we express our values not just in our myths but also in our public policies and public
institutions. Something like health care isnt just mutual but it shows our values as caring and sharing as a
community. The ideas that are attached to public institution are ones that need to keep being reinforced,
therefore identity doesnt emerge naturally they come out of a very deliberate set of actions. We encounter
national identity through these myths and other things.