January 7th 2013, Lecture One, Semester two Canadian Political culture
A political culture consists of the characteristics and values, beliefs and behaviors of the society, in
regard to politics. The society’s political culture defines what is political for that society. What is it
legitimate for government to do?
The things that government wouldn’t do without even a debate. What is unacceptable and imbedded in
the culture? More specifically there are ideologies and within that policy promises. Politicians couch
their language and rhetoric within the confines of political culture. There are things American politicians
will say that Canada’s never will. Such as the rhetoric regarding gun control.
Layers of political culture.
Liberal values bestowed by the “Mother Country”.
The values we inherited from Britain, which we share with other English speaking democracies.
National Canadian Political Culture.
The values set out by CRF, socialism aka social democracy.
English Canada vs. Quebec, regional differences (east vs. west/ prairies v BC), there are also differences
The British societies were settled by immigrants who brought small L liberalism with them and as a
result these societies are fundamentally similar.
• Trial by jury
• An independent judiciary
• Right for accused to face there accuser in open court
• Free elections…….
These values began in England and migrated to the rest of Europe.
The peace sign example of gestures have different meanings depending on the culture. 2
Canadians often ask what makes us different than Americans?
Most of Canadians live in urban areas. Are legislative representation does not represent the
demographic reality of Canada. Rural populations are over represented.
Canada isn’t sociologically bilingual. Quebecers and Acadians are, most English Canadians do not speak
WWI is major nation building event for Canada. Beaches at Normandy vimy ridge reasons why
Europeans love Canadian flag- not peacekeeping rep.
There are significant differences between US and CAN, individualism v collectivism, melting pot v
multiculturalism, POGG v pursuit of happiness, us more religious than Canada, US has more inequality
while Canada has government driven egalitarianism.
Liberal personal autonomy, leads to personal responsibility. If you succeed it’s to your credit if you mess
up it’s your fault. This is truer in the US than Canada as we have more social programs.
Russell readings 63,65,66,67,73,75,76
Wilfred Laurier #63 Catholic liberalism is not political liberalism. Liberalism is not what is happening in
France or Italy. Those are revolutions. Liberal institutions are a source of pride for Canadians. This
reading is a speech laurier delivered while still an MP to explain the concepts of conservatism and
liberalism to Quebecers who are unfamiliar with these British concepts. Laurier is a fierce liberal and
believed that there was wrongs in ‘all human affairs’ which needed reform
Reading 65 The Regina Manifesto.
1933 CCF doctrine which calls for public healthcare, egalitarianism. Socialism through democratic means
interestingly calling for abolition of senate. Against imperialist wars (10).
#66 Lament for a nation (1965) George Grant
Traditional Canadian conservatism places restraints on privatization when it will interfere with the public
good. Grant feared that Diefenbaker was turning Canada in the direction of American individualism. To
avoid this fate much attention must be paid to Quebec 3
Bourassa feared American-saxonism taking over with homogeneity of industrialization. The protestant
ethos of ‘time is money’. Catholicism would not survive in a franco-american society Grant predicts.
#67 Conservatism, Liberalism, and Socialism in Canada: an interpretation (Glad Horowitz 1966)
American socialism is dead but In Canada it is one of the primary political forces, this is why a pan-north
American view is flawed. Examines “hartzian approach” which is to study societies founded by European
countries as fragments thrown off from Europe. Hartz sees English Canada as the same as America in
that it did not inherit socialism from its European forbearers. America follows Calvinist tradition while
French Canada has a catholic ideology. Hartz believes that a past of toryism leads to socialism in the
present – America had no toryism so presently there is no socialism. Horowitz objects to the idea that
English Canada and the US are the same.
#73 Hartz-Horowitz at twenty: Nationalism, Toryism, and Socialism in Canada and the US (h.d. Forbes
The Canadian bourgeoisie is fragmented with a touch of “toryism”. Liberalism is connected to American
nationalism and any criticism of it smells of treason. Tories share some traits with socialists including
that equality of opportunity doesn’t supersede equality of outcome, as society is more than a
conglomerate of competing individuals.
#75 The Decline of Deference (Neil Nevitte 1996)
Canadian values changed in the 1980s, this coincided with the rise of free trade and increased support
for Quebec nationalism. The rise of activism through fractured non partisan movements has also
happened in other western states. It should be associated with industrialism rather than the Canadian
political psyche. The Author offers three perspectives on Canadian value changes: 1. Canada has become
an advanced economic state, with a workforce that reflects this by tertiary sector employment and
general affluence. 2. Canada as a North American State, Canadian values are working from a narrow
frame of comparisons to the US, founding circumstances being the primary explanation for difference. 3
explanation being Canada as an immigrant society, changing patterns of population replacement and
#76 Fire and Ice (Michael Adams, 2003) 4
Canadians are very well informed to American circumstances while the same is not true of Americans to
our circumstances. Adams advances the rarely heard thesis that Canadians and Americans are becoming
increasingly different from each other. ‘Although it may seem that Canada and the US are on the same
page it is usually because we are reading over their shoulder’. Americans are more religious than
Canadians according to polling data by significant margins (468) today but in the 1960s Canada had
higher church attendance is one way to show change in culture. Violence has rapidly become a norm in
the USA but not in Canada. Individualism is a primary trait of the American dream Canadians are more
willing to look out for one another.
Brooks Chapter 2
The ideological differences of Canadians and Americans have different explanations, among
them the fragment theory and different founding circumstances. America was revolutionary and
Canada was counter revolutunary accepting British loyalists (tories) after they lost in American
Canada has three main political ideologies Liberalism, socialism, and conservatism. For
contemporary and classical definitions see table 2.1 on page 43
Quebec has its own political culture, first it was more conservative but after 1960s accepted
liberalism, since then it has had competing visions of separatists and federalists.
Natives are the other group that has recognized rights that disrupt the unity of Canada with a
history of violence towards natives and native protests that have turned violent.
Freedom to Americans is all about individual liberty and is engrained in the culture, specifically
with glorifying criminals through film as well as any other against the grain individualists
The second amendment and firearms are another key differences between CAN/USA as
Canadians do not distrust the government at nearly as extreme a level.
9/11 lead to a more security focused America and freedom oriented Canada but it is hard to say
that core American beliefs have changed even as laws have.
The official policy of multiculturalism also separates us from Americans who have a melting pot
rather than a cultural mosaic. Multiculturalism has been criticized for causing national disunity.
Americans are more likely to allow violence in their lives going back to mobocracy (post-
revolutionary war) where Canadian politics imply “freedom wears a crown” with the order the
monarchy provides giving citizens a better environment to use their freedoms 5
January 14, 2013 Political Culture Continued (lecture #2)
Charles Pachter “noblesse oblige” juxtaposition of Canadian wilderness and old British civilization and
the notion of duty. Was viewed as antiestablishment originally but now has become iconic.
Big differences between us and Americans Is our deference to authority and preference for big
government. Canada is also known for recognition of group rights (Quebecois and First nations).
• American conservatives are more vocal about free enterprise than Canadians, government
intervention in economy is acceptable in Canada and there is no significant libertarian streak in
Canadian political culture
• Surveys are primary tool to measure culture, but don’t work for historical examples. The Hartz-
Horowitz fragment theory and Lipset’s formative event theory are examples of history being used to
• Liberalism and conservatism came from European setters, The british loyalists rejected after the
American revolutionary war founded Canada. The British gave the loyalists the option of living in
England or go to eastern Canada or go to Bermuda. Once tory values were ejected from the US non-
liberal views become inherently ‘un-American’. Canadians are not liberal fundamentalists like Americans
•The war of 1812 reinforced the conscious rejection of American ways
•Quebec is its own cultural fragment because of their French/catholic heritage, with feudalistic
ideas (seigneurial system). Seigneurial system had social traits not the best form of capitalism
•After the 1759 conquest Quebec became property of British Empire and French ruling class
left. Church stayed. After conquest French stopped immigrating to Quebec.
•New France never had the liberal revolution that France did, liberalism was rejected by
Catholic Church. English Canada liberalized much quicker
Formative event theory (lipset, USA)
the events are the conquest and the American revolution
Je me souviens – I was born under the fluer de lis and grew up under the English rose
Other subsequent events are war of 1812 and 1837 Quebec liberal rebellion. The 1837 failed
rebellion reinforced church’s power. 6
Liberalism was atheism (LIBERALS go to hell which is red flames, Conservatives go to haven
Canada liberal society with a tory touch- counterrevolutionaries who respect the crown- this
made possible the socialism of today in Canadian politics. Traditional conservatism and
socialism saw society as made up of groups, okay to talk about collective wellbeing. Pure
liberalism is only about the individual. The common ground of anti-liberal values gives
socialism respect in canada that you wouldn’t have in the US
Quebec is the most left of all provinces, most highly developed of welfare states in North
Critics of these theories point to the lack of NDP success in areas settled by loyalists. Many
Americans came here not because of politics but the availability of good farmland.
Saskatchewan has the most socialist success but not settled by torys.
Some scholars believe that we were anti-American liberals rather than loyalists
Loyalism explains ties to British intellectual and cultural material
• The Canadian PM has been from Québec for 36 of the years between 1968 and 2006
• Most governments have been dominated by cabinets from Ontario and Québec
• Because of party decepline backbenchers from the west tend to be dictated to by politicians
from central Canada
• Western alienation has been central in all western based political parties
• West was settled with intention of being a trade route to the orient for the British
• The national policy and settlement of west is one of the root causes of western alienation as
it was based on economic benefit and security of central Canada and tariffs forced
westerners to trade with central Canada rather than deal with the geographically closer USA 7
• The CPR had a monopoly for shipping as a result and was able to charge expensive freight
fees on farmers, pissing them off
• Also banking system was located in central Canada, western farmers had to borrow from
them on the strength of their projected harvests, this helped contribute to the feeling that
central Canada had rigged business in their favour
• Ethnic composition had always been different than Canada because of immigration being
encouraged from places other than Britain and France
• After WWI farmers began to organize themselves into political parties
• Social Credit government in Alberta blamed the great depression on central Canada
• Social credit party tried to freeze home forclosures by central Canadian back (ABerhart) but
were overruled by Ottawa.
• The progressive party won leader of the opposition in 1921 but wasn’t very successful,
• CCF formed in Regina and Calgary and was a critique of capitalism (which was based in
• The National Energy Program designed to increase federal control of new oil industry,
worked as a subsidy for central Canadian energy prices
• This was hated out west which had only given the liberal government 2 seats in Manitoba in
• The reform party was created by preston manning and he wanted to end the favouritism
being shown to central Canada such as the CF-18 contract that went to montreal after being
recommended for Winnipeg by non partisan panelists
• West thinks all provinces are equal especially Québec
• Reform Party advocated Triple E Senate (effective, elected and equal) this is system US uses
with two senators for every state no matter what size
• To change senate structure it would actually take a constitutional amendment which
nobody seems eager to pursue these days
• The Senate Reform Act of Harper advocates for provincial elections In which Ottawa would
look at appointing the winners to the Senate. To make Ottawa legally obligated to do so in
the future would however require an constitutional amendment after the 7/50 rule was
• Harper also suggested senators get a single 9 year term rather than be able to hold office
until the age of 75 8
• So far harper has appointed 3 senators from Alberta who won ‘senate in waiting elections’
they were all conservative. What would happen if one wasn’t?
• Inter and Intra state federalism?
• Federalism (interstate federalism) was the practical form of government to bring together
the established colonial societies in British North America. The colonial elites in 1867 would
not have accepted a unitary government for the new country of Canada. Interstate is
governance between the PM and Premiers
• Intra state federalism is the involvement of secondary instutions with a regional base , in the
discussion and formation of policy
Russell, 70, 72, 79 and 80
#70 The pattern of prairie politics (Wiseman 1981)
• The western provinces have political diversity it is not just a homogenous group of anti-
• Differences can be attributed to where the dominant waves of immigration came from and
the nature of the local economy
#72 The West Wants In (Preston Manning, 1987)
• The west wants into confederation, needs agenda to be received on a federal level, party
aimed to follow in footsteps of other ‘western reformers’ from history
• The current parties only made policy for central Canada so a new party was needed (the
conservatives support was declining, NDP and lib were central Canadian parties)
• The NEP was a raid on western resources and primary reason not to trust liberals
• The reform party never had any interest in separatism despite that sentiment being relevant
at the time
• Notes that the ndp did not stay loyal to its region of origin and reform will
• This is agenda for new reform party
#79 Atlantic Canada in the 21st century: prospects for regional integration (Robert Finbow 2004) 9
• Limited economic prospects and reliance on economic transfers
• There has been provincialism but the time has come for regionalism – an economic union to
stay competitive in globalized world rather than competing with other Atlantic provinces
• Newfoundland never got economic miracle it expected when joining confederation in 1948
• Collapse of cod stock led to further alienation from Ottawa, the province discovered oil in
the 70s but lost out on offshore jurisdiction. Had anti centralist view
• Nova Scotia has multiple economic zones making it difficult to govern, has three distinct
• New Brunswick is only official bilingual province and known for potatoes
• PEI is run like a small municipality
• The Ontario gov represents 12 million ppl but there sre four govs representing 2.25 m in
atlantic Canada this is wasteful,
The author thinks that there should be bureaucratic unions at the very least
An example of intrastate politics
#80 Political action on Stage West (roger Gibbins 2009)
•The western provinces cooperate like the last authors view of atlantic future. Western Economic
Partnership and teamwork on social issues
•Ottawa bashing is a thing of the past now premiers work on policy together instead of filing greivances
(Western alienation is dead)
A big Part of French Canadian nationalism is the desire to preserve the French language. This is done
through immigration since the Québec birthrate is no longer high enough to maintain the
representation of the overall population it once had.
The Quite Revolution
Attempted to modernize institutions in which Québec was no longer competitive.
State replaced Catholic Church in areas of social services and education. 10
Started a new nationalism (rattrapage), (tradition nationalism was conservative, goal to
preserve status quo) in which the nation began to identify with the Québec state. Included
nationalization of hydro Québec.
The official language act – French is the sole official language of Québec and all legislative and
courts proceedings will exclusively be carried out in French.
In 1979 supreme court ruled that this violated sec 133 of the BNA act which states co-equal
status of both languages at federal and Québec level of government.
Business over 50 employees must receive a certificate stating that they are complying with
French language promotion in order to work in province,
Québec sign law is highly controversial
The bilingual approach started by Federalist Trudeau has led to many symbolic changes, to distance
Canada from is British colonial past, such as the national anthem, the maple leaf flag, renaming the BNA
act the constitution act etc….increased language training for people in federal public service.
It is troubling that virtually all french recruitment is in Québec rather than equality of language and 7 of
the English provinces are virtually only recruiting Anglophones (419).
Distinct society claim is weakened by the fact that there are different political cultures in many if not all
the regions in Canada.
Defining culture through language undermines national unity. Also elevating language as the most
import social factor is what Québec as a distinct society means.
The quebecios have officially been recognized as a nation by the house of commons
Federalism Nationalism And Reason Pierre Trudeau (1968)
Factors other than geography and language lead to founding of states
When a minority group begins to identify itself as a nation it is triggering a mechanism towards
Everyone must be included through economic and transportation networks to prevent
separatism or civil war 11
Reason should lead to federalism
Canada is based on compromise between two founding nations
Québec must be recognized as nation, as protectionism and content laws are a weak glue for a
1967 The Official Languages (book) Royal commission on bilingualism and biculturalism (the B&B
The goal is to provide equality of opportunity for both English and French Speakers
English are minority in Québec and French are minority everywhere else, the principle of
equality require that the minority receive generous treatment.
Conclusion is Québec is not a province like the others and the concept of an equal partnership should
ensure “4 out of 5” francophones are satisfied.
The Ambiguities of a Bilingual and Multicultural Canada (1972) Guy Rocher
Canada is breaking from the idea of unified culture or bicultural Canada.
This is a dangerous position – the distinction between language and culture being one of most
debatable implications of Trudeau’s policy.
Canada isn’t really made up of bilingual citizens, therefore the bilingual policy represents a
marriage between the francophone and Anglophone people. The idea of two communities being
abandoned in favour of a multicultural nature.
Rocher sees this as the beginning of the end of bilingualism and Québec language rights
because it dilutes an already shallow relationship
Multiculturalism cannot be the basis of a nation. The Canadian Nation of Trudeau doesn’t have a
central core, Canada is just a meeting place for all the nations of the world
This is a large step backwards for French Canadians who have for many years struggled to gain
recognition. Fragmentation will make the French weaker than they already are and
multiculturalism should push them towards separation
The Clarity Act (2000)
Outlines that the clear will of people needed