Douglas Todd: Canada a blank slate, with no culture?

More on the ongoing (existential) debate on whether Canada has a unique culture. My favourite comments cited by Douglas Todd are below:

Eric Kaufmann, a Vancouver-raised political scientist at the University of London, said while there is no single Canadian identity, “as long as each resident of the country identifies with Canada in some way, the whole remains united.”

Somewhat like John Ralston Saul, Kaufmann emphasizes the “Métis,” or “mixed,” nature of Canadian culture — that many residents are a blend of such things as Anglo-American, Protestant, aboriginal, French-Canadian, Catholic and, increasingly, Asian origins.

The “northern landscape” is also a significant connector among Canadians, said Kaufmann. So is the way Canada is a more “ordered, equal society than the U.S. Then there are everyday things like maple syrup, hockey and the moose, which of course, matter, too.”

Kaufmann suggests governments not push too hard on promoting a single view of Canadian culture, but instead highlight “core values around respect for liberty, law and celebrating major historical episodes.”

All of this acknowledges that Canada is not an easy-to-define country. And there are semantic challenges around the word, “culture,” which some academics enjoy de-constructing.

But even highlighting core values, and the interpretation that can be attached to each core value, is never quite as easy or as neutral as it sounds.

Douglas Todd: A blank slate, with no culture?.

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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