“There is no core identity, no mainstream in Canada. Those qualities are what make us the first postnational state.”
-Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (2015)
Event: Canada 2018 Federal Budget
- Mainstream is current thought that is widespread.
- Postnationalism or non-nationalism is the process or trend by which nation states and national identities lose their importance relative to cross nation and self organized or supranational and global entities.
Choose an event from Canada’s past or present (social, political, environmental, or economic) and describe / illustrate (show cause and effect) how this event influenced / influences all four of the quadrants. Provide images / primary source evidence where possible.
The 2018 Federal Budget influences the economic, social, political, and environmental aspects of Canadian identity. The $18.1 billion deficit encourages private investment in government bonds, which increases output and generally stimulates economic growth, usually in the form of higher employment rates. As unemployment is already at an all-time low, the projected deficit will be reduced through “continued economic strength” and by encouraging more women to join the workforce. This connects to the social aspect, with the budget championing gender/wage equality and reaching nine Early Learning and Child Care Bilateral Agreements, as well as the new EI Parental Sharing Benefit, which gives parents employment insurance for their careers, especially young mothers (51)(46). Connecting back to the $18.1 billion deficit, the Conservative party, namely Andrew Scheer, is attacking Trudeau for “failing to balance the budget by 2019, as he promised” (Scheer, 2018). By focusing on the failings of the Liberals, they may be able to successfully take power in 2019. The backlash against the Liberal budget is changing the political environment, while the budget itself proposes more protection of Canada’s natural environment and support of clean energy. “To support Canada’s biodiversity and protect species at risk, the Government of Canada proposes to make historic investments totalling $1.3 billion over five years”, with $19 million focusing on protection of BC wildlife and expansion of BC campsites. This ties back into social by encouraging outdoor activities among Canadians, and economic by stimulating the Canadian camping and RV industries. The overarching significant effects that this budget will have on Canada and Canadian identity will influence these four quadrants for years to come.
Does your event represent a step towards creating and maintaining a coherent Canadian identity, or does it move Canada more clearly in the direction of Trudeau’s discussion of a “postnational” state?
The 2018 Federal Budget moves Canada more clearly into the direction of a “postnational” state, with one example being how feminist values are much more prominent in Canada’s fiscal priorities. The budget places focus on gender equality within Canada as well as internationally, through the “Feminist International Assistance Policy, focusing on six interlinked areas: gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, human dignity, peace and security, inclusive governance, environment and climate action, and growth that works for everyone” (budget.gc.ca, 2018). As a first world country, Canada should continue to take the global initiative in empowering women worldwide. Not to say that Canada is the first, as it definitely isn’t, but in the amount of visibility Canada is able to gain from Western media when compared to Nordic countries. The missions of WHO, the UN, the Paris Climate Accord, Red Cross/Crescent, and other global entities will become lasting markers of humankind. The importance of a single, coherent, Canadian identity becomes less and less relevant in the face of international organizations for the betterment of the world.
In your opinion, is there any value in trying to define a specific Canadian identity, or should we abandon this idea towards a more open and global idea of nationhood? Why?
A postnational identity is one that loses importance relative to “cross nation and self organized or supranational and global entities.” (postnationalism, n.d.) As technology and Earth as a whole advances, the political, socio-cultural, economic, and environmental quadrants will expand beyond something as banal as borders. Transportation and communication technologies have made countries a lot more cosmopolitan and multicultural than they were before, and it is very likely that most first-world countries will lose the concept of a national identity as people around the world become “global citizens”. It is highly unlikely that Canada will be able to maintain a specific identity (already slippery, fluid, and generally difficult to grasp in the 21st century) in the future, and equally unlikely that the concept of a national identity is even necessary or even relevant. An open idea of nationhood is a natural conclusion, an obvious transition from national identity to global. What better way to minimize conflict than to group everyone under the communal umbrella of human? Technology, education, and understanding can overcome language/cultural barriers, as we become one race : human.