Who we are (II) - Macleans.ca

Who we are (II)

So, how often does the word ‘mulitcultural’ show up in the new Guide to Citizenship—less than the word ‘Blackberry’?


The word ‘multiculturalism’—perhaps the most coveted and controversial word in the Canadian lexicon—appears twice in the new guide to citizenship. It fares better than the word ‘lumberjack,’ which does not appear at all.

After the jump, an entirely unscientific index of words and how often each is mentioned.

Confederation 23
Aboriginal 31
Inuit 13
Metis 13
Immigrant 8
Refugee 4
French 59
English 40
Freedom 16
Liberty 2
Multiculturalism 2
Diversity 6
Equality 4
Environment 10
Health 8
Arts 5
Mountie 3
Maple Leaf 6
Syrup 0
Lumberjack 0
Igloo 0
Military 12
Soldier 15
1867 10
1812 5
First World War 8
Second World War 8
Residential schools 1
Constitution 19
Charter 4
Snow 6
Winter 7
Summer 5
Polar Bear 1
Canadarm 5
Hockey 13
Football 6
Lacrosse 1
Britain 10
England 5
France 14
Ottawa 33
Toronto 18
Vancouver 12
Montreal 14
Edmonton 6
Calgary 3
Halifax 12
British Columbia 13
Alberta 27
Saskatchewan 12
Manitoba 16
Ontario 42
Quebec 73
Nova Scotia 22
New Brunswick 14
Prince Edward Island 9
Newfoundland 14
Queen 29
Monarch 7
Election 43
Parliament 43
Democracy 10
Louis Riel 5
Blackberry 3
Frederick Banting 2
Tommy Douglas 0
House of Commons 24
Governor General 22
Prime Minister 18
John A. Macdonald 8
Wilfred Laurier 2
Robert Borden 1
All other prime ministers 0

Note: photo credits included.


Who we are (II)

  1. Blackberry appears? LOL.
    I think we should emphasis how Canada came to be. The French and the English created this country that is true. And so immigrants who come to Canada should acknowledge that. They have to conform to our moral and values. They should not bring their conflicts and wars to our country.

    • Actually, they just have to learn an official language (or be dependant on someone who does), and follow the laws. A newcomer to Canada doesn't have to conform to anyone's morals or values, any more than you have to conform to mine or I must conform to yours. that's what Canada is all about.

      • Mike, I've read you long to know that you don't actually believe your second sentence.

        • Nonsense! people can believe whatever ridiculous drivel they wish. But I won't respect or pander to absurdity or stupidity, or approve of it becoming public policy.

          • You don't support your morals/values being enacted as public policy such that everyone has to conform to them?

            Um, yes you do. Just one example: you think gay marriage is a good thing and should be maintained as public policy so that everyone has to recognize it or else face discrimination charges. Another (less controversial) example: I assume you believe that theft is wrong and that it's prosecution should remain public policy.

            There's nothing wrong with wanting one's values to become public policy – that's how all laws come about. But it's a bit rich to claim that you don't think anyone should enact their values as public policy.

    • The French and English came to this land and appropriated it from the First Nations in a prickish bout of imperialism. Also, the French and English brought their conflicts to this land.

      Perhaps we would do well to acknowledge our own distasteful history before we ask people to conform to 'our ways'. We don't genuinely want that, after all.

  2. Wilfred Laurier 2

    That's interesting, that Wilfred Laurier would yield two results, considering that's not how his name is spelled.

    I can hear the Liberals now, screaming about Tory partisanship games by misspelling Laurier's name in the new citizenship handbook.


    • It was spelled correctly in the handbook, I believe. Wherry's spellchecker likely got the better of him.

  3. Hockey-13
    If that doesn't illustrate what a pile of dreck this guide is then nothing will.

    • I'm curious, Robert. What would you have preferred included (or excluded) in the guide?

      • Charter of Rights, Human Rights, freedom of speech, medicare, Lester Pearson, Tommy Douglas, A Just Society, peacekeeping, equality of opportumity, equalty before the law. etc etc.

        • It does mention the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, freedom of "thought, belief, opinion, and expression," freedom of conscience and religion, association and peaceful assembly. Among others. It mentions peacekeeping (albeit briefly):

          "Canada has taken part in numerous UN peacekeeping missions in places as varied as Egypt, Cyprus, and Haiti, as well as in other international security operations such as those in the former Yugoslavia and Afghanistan."

          None of the Prime Ministers after Borden are mentioned by name, probably to skirt the question of partisanship entirely, so I'm not surprised Pearson and DOuglas aren't. National health care is mentioned:

          "As prosperity grew, so did the ability to expand social assistance programs. The Canada Health Act ensures common elements and a basic standard of coverage. Unemployment insurance (now called “employment insurance”) was introduced by the federal government in 1940. Old Age Security was devised as early as 1927, and the Canada and Quebec Pension Plans since 1965. Publicly funded education is provided by the provinces and territories."

          And 10 of those mentions of "hockey" are in one short paragraph, 5 in one sentence. It's not much of a barometer for the quality of the guide. If it helps, the old one (from 1997) didn't mention Pearson, Douglas, or the health care system. Or have anything substantive on Canadian history.

      • Just to give you one quick example, gay equality should replace the drivel about hockey.

        • Same-sex marriage if it was not mentioned in the guide was definitely one of the few misses.

          To your point about equality though:

          Freedom 16
          Liberty 2
          Multiculturalism 2
          Diversity 6

          These are all variations on the same theme.

  4. This cries out for a wordle.

  5. What? No mention of Trudeau? Not even Trudeaumania?

    Life has obviously moved on. Justin will be devastated.

    • History isn’t so easly undone whether you wish it so or no. Thank goodness this is the only book this govt and many of its members will likely ever get their hands on.

    • That's OK. He can console himself knowing that his photo will appear even more often in Ottowa Diary.

  6. Awww… no Tommy Douglas. Of course, there is no Preston Manning, Ralph Klein, or Maurice Duplessis either. If you are talking raw impact on the cultural and political life of the country any of those three men deserve mention just as much as Tommy Douglas does.

    So saying that Tommy Douglas was not mentioned because of partisan ideology is foolish.

    • To many, universal medicare is a pillar of our society, and for that reason Douglas could be coinsidered a more pivotal figure (nationally) than those you list.

      • If the historical implementation of universal health care is mentioned in that book, then Tommy Douglas perhaps should be. Otherwise…

        • "As prosperity grew, so did the ability to expand
          social assistance programs. The Canada Health
          Act ensures common elements and a basic
          standard of coverage…" (p.24)

          • That's not the historical implementation.

    • This is where the bias comes in. I put Douglas and Pearson way, way, way higher than Preston Manning. Preston Manning??? You're joking. Ralph Klein? Hilarious.

      • Tommy Douglas was someone who formed his own party, was a provincial premier, and was influential nationally.

        Preston Manning was someone who formed his own party, one more successful politically than that of Tommy Douglas. Ralph Klein and Maurice Duplessis were powerful and long serving provincial premiers who were also influential nationally.

        So unless you want this book to be paean to socialistic and progressive values that you think embodies the true Canadian spirit, I don't see why Tommy Douglas should be mentioned and any of these three men shouldn't. That's just your bias showing through I'm afraid.

        • Duplessis was a known political thug and arguably a fascist. And that’s a word i do believe shouldn’t be overused at all.

          • Regardless of what you feel about him (and I don't think he is any worse than many of the leaders Quebec has had since) he is still an influential part of history just as Tommy Douglas was.

          • Bearing in mind this is a brochure, not an encycolpaedia of Canadiana. They can't possibly include everything.

          • Exactly.

    • Right. I don't think anyone after Borden who held political office is mentioned.

  7. There's no Emmett Hall either. If you're going to write a handbook on citizenship, universal healthcare being seen by many Canadians as a vital point thereof, not mentioning either of the men (Douglas more than Hall, ashe is probably better known) seem remiss.

  8. Before Jason Kenney starts examining Canadians, shouldn't he finish college first? Wouldn't that make his case more persuasive?

    • Meow!

  9. Only one mention of Lacross???? I knew that when Jean Chretien made hockey our official winter time sport that someday an Immigration Minister would come along try to make it hockey seem more important than our national summer time sport.
    A pox on all their houses.

  10. I heard that Terry Fax is mentioned in the guide but he's not on Wherry's list. Terry Fox is my Canadian hero. I hope he is there.

  11. Hey I just learned something from reading the new book.
    A million more Canadians identify their first language as neither French or English than Canadians who say their first language is French.

  12. I'm not sure why hockey needs to be mentioned 13 times though. It seems to be the worst sort of schmaltzy stereotype of Canadian nationalism that only exists because we have no better symbols.

    If we are going to make knowledge of hockey a mainstay of our identity as being Canadians though, why not do it right? All immigrants who are physically able have to be able to skate and to shoot a puck into the net from the blue line in order to enter the country.

    • I think if you are moving to Canada you might be forewarned that hockey (the type played on ice) is a fairly central part of most people's entertainment and idle gossip. The intent of the brochure, among other things, is to give people a sense of what general life in Canada is like, and how it might differ from that of the country they are coming from. Our general national obsession with hockey is, all things considered, worthy of mention more than once.

    • Mostly it's mentioned that many times due to phrasing. Seven whole sentences on hockey, 10 mentions:

      Hockey is Canada's most popular spectator sport and is considered to be the national winter sport. Ice hockey was developed in Canada in the 1800s. The National Hockey League plays for the championship Stanley Cup, donated by Lord Stanley, the Governor General, in 1892. The Clarkson Cup, established in 2005 by Adrienne Clarkson, the first Governor General of Asian origin, is awarded for women's hockey. Many young Canadians play hockey at school, in a hockey league, or on quiet streets — road hockey or street hockey — and are taken to the hockey rink by their parents. Canadian children have collected hockey cards for generations.

    • Most of the world thinks "hockey " is played on grass. "Ice hockey is what is played in Canada

  13. Doesn't anybody take The Cape Breton Liberation Army seriously anymore ?

  14. I'm disappointed there are no moose in the book. Moose rule.

    • Good news! There's a moose on the cover! (I don't know if there is a squirrel – one would assume so).

  15. This isn't a Guide to Leftist Causes, folks, it's a Guide to Canadian Citizenship.

    No, the two are not identical.

    • Canada used to be a progressive country admired around the world. We're just nostalgic.

      • The rest of us are nostalgic for the era before that when Canada was a free country admired around the world.

        • R. B. Bennett, a nation turns its longing eyes to you.

  16. I have not perused the new Guide to Citizenship yet, but I am wondering whether there is a recommended concise "History of Canada" publication for new (and old) immigrants to read. This might be helpful.