This fall I will guide some 70 grade 11 students through the social studies curriculum. The guiding question that centers the scope of the course is: To what extent should nationalism be embraced? There is almost an ironic quality to that question being asked of a Canadian audience. To many it would seem that Canada best embodies a fairly a-nationalistic persona. The most patriotic sentiment that Canada might muster is “I am Canadian, Meh…”
This perspective is a little dishonest since it really doesn’t account for the fact even this tacit denial of nationalistic pride or identity might itself be evidence of a strong nationalism. This is especially true since Canada has unavoidably advanced its strongest elements of it national character against that of USA. Since American patriotism is so bold – a lackadaisical perspective on Canada’s collective pride might seem like a vindication against the perceived American arrogance. Of course a non-committal approach to themes of national identity are not well supported in the main. One only needs to ask a few poignant questions to bring out some of the most ardent opinions with relative ease. So here is my challenge:
What does it mean to you to be Canadian?
Is being Canadian substantially different than being American? If so in what ways? If not which factors constribute tot he assimilation?