March 3, 2014
Argument of Canadian Cultural Identities
Constructing Nations: Integration and Exclusion
National cultural identities are developed through cultural forms like media and
This week we focus on political forms, Mackey talks about the politics of national
The political states of cultural identity why does it matter to politicians and everyday
Mackey: people’s interests and identity as talked as ‘natural and universal’ of how things
work end up being white Anglo and heterosexual Canadian citizens.
These people get talked about as people ‘who are not too political, just have
Nonpolitically patriotic Canadians
Constructing identity: politics versus ‘the people’
There is this perception that Canadianness was at risk
1. the country will not hold itself together
2. that something Canadian would be lost
Mackey argues that this talk about identity crisis was picked up by the government to try
and put forward their own projects.
One of the things they did to make this succeed was to change their strategy
There was a rise of particular populism that was focused often the idea that there was
such a thing as the regular Canadian people and these people were typified as everyday
‘Joes’, who work hard and don’t have controversial political opinions so Canada can stay
together and get along.
This rise of right of populism was also going on in other countries.
Some neighboring countries had similar movements going in.
People here were considered nonpolitical
Naturalized as ‘nonpolitical’: this was identified as a good thing.
There were perceptions that it was working out and it wasn’t.
There was a rise of the view point that multiculturalism was causing
These political discussions are connected to other discussions that were not connected to
political, like running a festival, classified as nonpolitical but Mackey argues they were
The connection between the constitutional crisis and Canada 125 celebrations, were
aimed to be nonpolitical
Canada 125 and Conservatives
1992 Constitutional Crisisgovernment was a majority government, led by PM Brain
Mulroney. The progressive conservatives were not he same as the conservative party is
now; they were more less than the conservatives now. They inaugurated with a
part coming out of the west.
This majority government had part of their program as developing a confidence sense of
Canada’s cultural and national uniqueness in which Canadians may have a greater sense
of their common value and common citizenship. (109 Mackey)
Forming identity was part of their political focus
They were interested in having a big party for Canada’s 125 anniversary of
These celebrations were controversial because another part of the conservative
program was crosscutting and cutting government spending. Spending money on a
national party is a bit contradictory.
There was a growing recession
It was controversial because they wanted promote unity and promote Canada’s image.
They came up with a plan for how to throw these celebrations without getting too
They turned to ‘populism’ to manage this
How constitutional discussions link up with understandings of what it meant to be
What was this ‘Crisis’?
It was a series of efforts at changing the constitutions, to amend and shift around
what the constitutions required and included.
They were about managing political and cultural diversity within the state.
For a long time the 1857 Constitution had ben fairly unchanged but when Trudeau came
it made changes to it in 1982
These changes were part of an effort to manage the rising Quebec nationalism
The 1982 changes were supposed to do this.
Parts of it didn’t work, they were supposed to manage this Quebec issue but
in fact the provincial government of Quebec did not buy into this.
Quebec felt that it was not consulted in these changes that were to mange them.
1984 Trudeau and liberal party are out and the progressive conservatives are in as the
They take advantage of the fact these changes did not do what they were
They came in with a program of free markets, state power, spending, etc.
They were trying to keep Quebec in Canada.
The conservative governments came up with a couple of accords
The Meech Lake Accord 1987
Connected a decentralization of the state, giving more power to
provinces and it was in part connected with marketoriented
the accord was defeated in parts through the efforts of MPP Elijah Harper This was because first nation leaders felt that natives were left out of the
**Meech Lake Cartoon**
It brings up what Mackey talks about of this event as being an elite agreement made by
the politicians but not by the people.
This was the problem that the progressive conservations were trying to deal with, elite
politicians that did not care about the people.
Constitional Crisis Cont.
Meech Lake Accord got a reputation was ‘elite deal’.
It didn’t giver the current government and good reputation. “The whole thing had been
Mackey argues that the because of the failure the conservatives changed their strategy
and needed to be more inclusive.
They formed a spicer task forceCitizen’s Forum on Canada’s Future
Phone lines, student forums
This task force found high levels of distrust of the government.
They tried to use this information to start another round of debate of new round
of debates and consultations.
1992 they came up with another agreement known was the ‘Charlottetown Accord’
***Charlottetown Accord**** cartoon
They had a referendum on this accord, whether these amendments to the constitutions
should be approved.
The left we have recycling, accord is supposed to go in the recycling and the politicians
are going to go into the trash.
These representations of politicians as not being good, not something that people were
Mackey gives us examples of advertisements from big companies who were putting out
advertisements to say ‘yes’ for Canadian unity.
Initially it had support but as time went on it was rejected.
Mackey argues that the moment that was arising was defining Canadianness as centrally
as being a people who are not classified as special interest groups.
Nationals group that put out things against the accord and were termed by
the other side as just be