Is Canada a nation, simply a country, or a “post-national” state?
Canada is well on its way to becoming, as 23rd Prime Minister Justin Trudeau states, the world’s first post-national state. Postnationalism is essentially the transcension of a country in terms of nationalistic ideals in favour of more global outlooks on economics, politics, social and cultural issues, and other important factors of a country’s identity. The quintessential Candian identity has been hotly debated. The Canadian Encyclopedia argues that there may be too much social division for there to ever be a single one (Blattberg, 2016). Rather, we’re made up of multi-faceted cultures and identities, and our current “poly-ethnic” society may make it impossible for Canada to ever become as nationalistic as our neighbours to the south, or even other countries in the world (Blattberg, 2016). This absence of knowledge about our identity, however, is what makes us such a promising candidate for post-nationalism. We’re searching in the wrong place. Looking at Canada internally may not be the right way to find our core identity. Our long-awaited existential answer may lie in our ties to international culture and globalization.
Writer Ralston Saul says that we have “space for multiple identities and multiple loyalties”, which strengthens the notion that Canada’s identity is made of international influences (Foran, 2017). On the other hand, Candice Malcolm from the Toronto Sun believes that Trudeau’s statement in 2015 fuels “race-based ethnic politics” because those are “the politics and policies… Prime Minister Justin Trudeau [promotes]” (Malcolm, 2019). While both opinions paint Canada and our leadership in different lights, the core of their points is very similar. Canada has become internationalistic. Some may argue that this is solely to “override the rules, customs, and sovereignty of individual nations” and to maximize the flow of “unrestricted global migrants and money”, but I believe that’s the extreme (Todd, 2016). Canada is in no way there yet, which is why it’s nearly a post-national state. Rather than experiencing overwhelming patriotism for our country, Canadians look at the bigger picture. International trade, a multinational society, global politics and economics are all aspects of Canada we’re still attempting to develop. Until we truly change our mindsets from Canadian to global citizens, I don’t think Canada can truly be a post-national state. Working internationally in the best interests of the human race rather than focusing on the borders and cultures that divide us is the next step in making Prime Minister Trudeau’s statement a reality. Canada will be a post-national state. It’s only a matter of time.