Canada's Struggle with an Identity

By: Katherine Casey

History

Ever since the 1500 and 1600's, the French and the British have been competing over land. In the early 1600's each party wanted land because of the fur trade. Then in 1689-1763 the French and the British started battling for that land. They fought four wars in North America. Finally in 1759 the British defeated the French in the Battle of Quebec. In 1763 the French surrendered all of its empire in what is now Canada. But the French had settled in that area for over 200 years, so not many of the French left. In 1867 the British created the Dominion of Canada which gave Canada it's own government but most of the power was still in the hands of the British. Finally in 1931 Canada became a completely independent country. Still English and French remained living there. The great majority of French-speaking Canadianslive in Quebec. Both French and English are official languages in Canada, but only about 1/4 of the population speaks French. Many French Canadians feel descriminated against by the Enlgish-speaking majority. The Quebecoins consider themselves as gaurdians of the French culture in Canada. The first thought of separatism from Quebec was in 1960, so this has been an ongoing thing.

Separatism

Many people in Quebec want to separate from the rest of Canada and form their own country. There are many different reasons why people think that this should happen.


Melanie Hotchkiss, an Anglophone who moved to Quebec in 1998 says, "When you look at the politics in Quebec and the people here, I think we're just so different than the rest of Canada. You see the last federal elections the way that Quebec voted completely differently than the rest of Canada and I think that's a huge indicator of that."


Nicholas Moran of Quebec states, "I don't feel that the people who live in Quebec are part of the Canadian people. We are definitely different. And the thing that's really sad about it is we're gonna lose. The people who speak French in Canada are a minority and faced to a language like English we will disappear. Immigrants who come here see it as being way more advantageous to learn English rather than French and you know what, they know we will comply with them. We will eventually serve them in English, even though we pretend that we're tough and we only want to speak French we eventually always fold."



Source of quotes: This is What Quebec Separatism Looks Like in 2013 by: Joel Balsam

http://www.vice.com/en_ca/read/chatting-with-quebecs-young-separatists

Current Status

Canada is still having problems between the French-speaking part, and the English-speaking part. Quebec wants to separate from the rest of Canada. Quebec is definitely the most "European" like provinces. They are also more "European" in their politics which means they are more suspicious of immigrants. As more people immigrate into Canada, there is a larger variety of cultures that are introduced to the already "unstable" (in terms of trying to find an identity) country. Canada never had an "official" language like the U.S. To live in the U.S. you pretty much have to learn English. All of our schools, signs, and paperwork are in English. In Canada, you can speak English or French, so when new people come, why would and should they give up their language and other parts of their culture because there is no real "identity" to begin with. Now there are not only English and French speaking people living in Canada, you now have Asians, Europeans, and people from the middle east. This makes it even harder to find a true identity for Canada.