A Canadian is expected to live and uphold Canadian culture in the twenty-first century. Prince Charles of Great Britain has highlighted the culture of Canada. He praised the Canadian value of of integrating spiritual and psychological human needs in a holistic approach to medical reform; the need for harmony with nature in the face of industrial agriculture; the importance of rural life to the national psyche; and Canada’s commitment to multiculturalism. (Prince Charles Speech)
Canada’s culture is intrinsically more valuable since it values multiculturalism. Being Canadian means being a global citizen. A young Canadian must appreciate other cultures and at the same time imbibe and live up to one’s culture.
Being Canadian means realizing that one’s forefathers were the original anti-Americans. Our ancestors rejected the American revolution and they favored Great Britain. Canada faces the onslaught of Americanization. The late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau one time likened Canada to a mouse sleeping with an elephant, who fears that the tiniest move of the elephant may crush him. (Adms, 26).
Being Canadian means being cognizant of the American dominance in the economy and politics. About 85 per cent of exports and imports are to and from the United States. The US is Canada’s largest foreign investor in Canada.
Canadians are avid buyers of American entertainment, movies, modern music, magazines, novels, clothes, and fast food in the field of media. Evidently, the universal trend is’ birthright,’ or national supremacy. The discussion on the usage of Canadian natural resources was stimulated by concerns of an insatiable American appetite for the water, oil, and timber of Canada. Efforts are under way to protect the monopolies of the Canadian wheat, dairy, and poultry promotion board from competition for cheaper U.S. goods.
Most notably, significant questions over Canada’s American cultural supremacy lead to a variety of cultural business exemptions being written into the CUFTA and later into the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). In specific, Canada’s ability to enforce “Canadian content” standards on radio and television, to limit foreign participation and ownership, and to allow government support to cultural industries such as printing, music and cinema was enshrined in the CUFTA and NAFTA agreements. There was, evidently, a concern that Canada would be swamped by cheaper, more common, American music, movies, and the rest in an unfettered market.
There’s an economic case for the Canadian film industry’s cultural security. Hollywood movies will quickly penetrate the Canadian business. It is essential, therefore that local films are preserved. Two points are relevant: if the facets of Canadian culture portrayed in Canadian film will not thrive if there were no Canadian film, or if it is worth preserving Canadian film itself for its own sake. These reasons offer the Canadian film industry a justification for a subsidy. Such initiatives are necessary in order to maintain an economically vulnerable national community and to utilise direct subsidies with less impediments to consumer choices. In brief, Canada will be best served to promote its community by subsidies than through the regulation or taxation of cultural imports.
This cultural subsidy is meant to assist manufacturers and customers. In other terms, inside the “territory,” national culture is intended to create a shared and special experience, the most significant motive for Canadian cultural security policies: the common sense of fragility of national identity itself. The Anglo-Canadians was metaphorically Americanized by “90 percent.” This of course, raises the urgency to preserve the remaining “10%” of the gap. The prohibition on international control of print and broadcast media, such as newspapers and television, is a significant feature of Canadian cultural security.
In developing its cultural industries, especially book publishing and popular music, Canada has been met with remarkable progress. Authors such as Margaret Atwood, Alice Monro, and Rohinton Mistry have gained considerable recognition and are taught at colleges around the world in English literature classes. The top charts include mainstream and jazz musicians, particularly female singers such as Celine Dion, Shania Twain, Alannis Morissette, and Diana Krall. Canada is generating more than its share of comedians from North America.
Because of globalisation, Canada must ensure that rising growth can enhance the society and national identity of a country rather than undermine it. The “deepening” dilemma from a Canadian point of view is whether Canada should open up critical sectors such as the educational financial, agricultural and natural resource industries, thus facilitating greater cooperation with its counterparts in the United States. In the second case, it questions if the two countries should align mutual policies on immigration, tourists, and defence, or maybe even converge.
The second big phase required to abolish customs barriers will be to transfer NAFTA, or at least its CUFTA portion, from a free trading region without harmonised external tariffs and, ultimately, cumbersome and ambiguous provisions on rules of origin to a full-fledged customs union, as in the E.U.
Being Canadian implies loving one’s national sovereignty and defending it. Canada-the-U.S. Immigration controls must harmonise the criteria and processes for accessing North America and for entering Canada and the United States. Immigration and border controls are significant as it also plays a strong role in maintaining Canadian culture. The goal of these controls is to make it simpler for officials to keep out undocumented aliens, track down others in the nation and hinder their movement within Canada.
In essence, Canadian community and community, motivated by the socialisation of culture and socialisation of education in Canada and by a more equal distribution of wealth, become more inclusive and less elitist. The family income adjusted for the marginal purchasing power parity (PPP) is higher in Canada than in the United States, although the mean income is the same. Because of the balanced income tax schedule in Canada, this indicates a less unequal income structure in Canada than in the United States.
As a free exchange in products, facilities, money, and citizens, Canada’s union with the United States has not weakened Canadian society. Canada and the United States, much as they have converged politically, seem to have diverged socially and culturally. Canada’s democratic system reflects the Westminster-style representative government of Adams (2003), and is somewhat distinct from the United States’ Presidential-Congressional Republic hybrid.
Socially, in contrast to the United States, Canada has become somewhat more egalitarian on issues such as gay rights, contraception, and capital punishment. The continuing fissuring of refugee pools into the two countries supports this separation in part: whilst the United States derives mainly from Spanish-speaking southern nations, Canada’s immigration is made up of English-speaking Asian refugees. If the beliefs of these communities are a major factor that influences the policy of each country, it provides data that supports the claim that the social identity of Canada and its cultural outputs would stay independent with or without government security. (About Dean and Deheji, 4).
Often, Canadian foreign policy has always been different, emphasising more than international action, peacekeeping and “nation building.” (Dean and Dehejia, 5).
In effect, cultural identity has been reinforced by Canadian globalisation. A live community can experience continuous and revivifying transition as opposed to a “empty” or museum culture. Globalization and economic liberalisation are probably the main forces of the national cultural identity of Canada, far from becoming a threat.
Being Canadian brings with it the necessity of being a global citizen. The prevailing globalization has raised the levels of competition in business, industry and culture. Young Canadians must preserve a living Canadian culture given the strong influence of American culture in all aspects of daily life. They have the obligation to ensure that authentic Canadian culture is transmitted to the next generation in the midst of globalization and economic liberalization.
- Adams, Michael, Amy Langstaff and David Jamieson. (2003). Fire and Ice: The United States, Canada and the Myth of Converging Values. Toronto: Penguin Canada.
- Prince Charles visit to Canada. Speech to the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly following investiture of the Saskatchewan Order of Merit, Regina. April 26, 2001. Royal Endorsement of Canada’s Spiritual Culture. Canadian Speeches. Volume: 15. Issue: 2.
- Dean, James and Vivek Dehejia. “Would a Borderless North America Kill Canadian Culture?.” American Review of Canadian Studies. Volume: 36. Issue: 2. 2006.