Nationalism and Federalism in Canada
– Nationalism is a huge literature
– Nationalism exists, but nation does not.
– Ernest Renan 1882 famous for his essay called “what is a nation?”Anation is a soul or
spiritual principle.Anation is a large scale solidarity.Astory linking today's community to
another in the past. It is a property of political community.
– BenedictAnderson's “Imagined Community”Anation is fundamentally an imagined political
community that is both political and sovereign, nation building is a process of creation. They
are distinguishable in the ways in which they are imagined.
Nationalism is a modern concept, the concept of nationhood is post enlightenment. Those who are
nationalists justify themselves on the basis of long historical nation.
Nations are not just imagined but are re-imagined and can be changed. Nations can harness the power to
think of themselves differently.
Creating a boundary is fundamentally an act of exclusion. Somehow having someone who is not part of
what you imagine can be seen as contamination.
How is it that Canadians define themselves?
– we can define ourselves in two different ways
– ethnicity (us and them) Projects a theory of political loyalty (physical loyalty)
– skin colour
– Ideological nationalism
– what defines us is about a set of values
– different theory about political loyalty
– In the american case
– Peace, order and good government (Grant)
– two levels of government
– guaranteed autonomy (dividing line between provincial and federal power, 40% province and
60% federal) *never complete centralization*
– same land and same people (these levels of government have to do with the same land and
province, all citizens of provinces are necessarily citizens of the government.All citizens of the
federal government must belong to one of the provinces)
– for Trudeau:Aproduct of reason and judgement (federalism as a constitutional design based on
some fundamental reflection)
– Samuel La Selva (UBC):Amoral philosophy (in that it talks about the division of power, it is important to have a division of power, it may be autonomous but it is not absolute)
Federalism involves the division of sovereign power between at least two levels of government
The founding visions
– confederation 1867
– a proposal for both division and unity
– J.A. MacDonald (preferred a more centralized state, that this new creation have a strong
centralized government, he figured that because of war (US civil war) and articles of the
time. The problem with government is that they made the centralized government too
– George Etienne Cartier (interested in finding an arragement which will protect local
economy, will give province protection of property and civil rights, protect power of the
local but also sees the value of canadian federalism. Leap of faith for cartier that this new
thing called canada can create something stronger than it would be apart and assure the
power of the locally, that you can administer justice differently but this difference accross
the provincal line does not mean that it is unequal. This is an experiment and those who
are different can chose to bound themselves together in a greater unity. American:
National unity and Canada: National Diversity
– Role of the united states context
– role of Monarchy
Why is it that you can't talk about federalism or nationalism independently from one another
– the seeds of that are in 1867
– when we started to institutionalize a story about who we are
– you cannot appreciate confederation without understanding that it was a proposal for unity
between british colonies but it was also just as importantly about division
– breaking apart of the Canada's
– division of French and English
– the dissolution of the united province of Canada
– destruction of a single legislature
– feeling that design of united province of canada was not working
– about separating ontario and Quebec
– new arrangement
– federal government with four provinces
Canada in 1867 is a leap of faith that by bringing three together and dividing one, you can create
something that works
1: canada is a compact of nations
a compact between two communities
– french and the english (Catholic vs Protestant)
– about two races
where french canada may not have been defined this way originally but now has come to mean the
province of Quebec
Canada is a compact not of nations but of provinces
in a strong formulation, all of those provinces are equal and changes would require unanimity or some
kind of qualified majority (more than just 5 provinces)
which vision of Canada wins?
It all lies in the constitutional amendment formula, the current one has only been in place since 1982why was this process of amending formulas not worked out like the americans?
Answer lies with Britain?
Because the BNAact was not canadian law...
Canadian definition o