Canada Goes to War

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Canadian Studies October 5
Canada goes to War
1) upswing in nationalism, deeply infused with imperialism and jingoism
2) Canadians cannot find common ground around this form of national
identity and it polarizes them
3) Interwar isolationism no success either
4) Lessons learned point to new trajectories after WWII:
o New continental outlook
o New middle-power diplomacy
o New statism
Upswing in nationalism in late 19th century Canada
Heavily infused with British imperialism and jingoism
o We don’t want to fight but by Jingo if we do
o We’ve got the ships, we’ve got the men, we’ve got the money too
Canada as home to a new British race and one possibly more vital than the
old one
But if French Canadians like the British constitution, they don’t like the
jingoism or the ethnic boasting
Growing political tensions through the 1880s and 1890s over just how Britis
and how Protestant Canada is or should be
Lots of anxiety about the ethnic groups that seem to be watering down
Britishness especially in western Canada and re Quebec.
Komataga Maru incident of 1914: 354 would-be mmigrants from India are
turned away in Vancouver.
The new insistence on British (and especially white Protestant settler)
identities in Canada has many consequences
o It shapes immigration policy. There will be a hierarchy of
dersirability. Some “races” are unwelcome (especially Chinese,
Japanese, Sikh). Also a lot of hostility to blacks, to some European
groups, to Catholics and Jews in some parts. There’s a lot of tension
between “open door” and “closed door” economic interests.
o Early 20th century will be an age of eugenics: notion that you must
stop the “wrong” people from breeding. Alberta will forcibly sterilize
hundreds of people from the early 1920s.
Imperial defence: what will Canada’s role be?
MacDonald: we buil the CPR; that’s Canada’s contribution to imperial
Laurier faces much greater pressure, especially with the outbreak of the Boer
War in 1899.
o English Canadians outraged at Boer treatment of British; French
Canadians see Boers as a people oppressed by British jingoism.
Muddles through with semi-voluntary contribution.
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