Who we are - Macleans.ca

Who we are


Your new guide to Canadian citizenship is here.


Who we are

  1. It actually looks pretty good. A definite improvement from the previous guide. For once, the Conservatives didn't screw it up.

  2. Things were so much simpler when it was the CBC telling us what it meant to be Canadian and have Canadian Values. Now that CIC is muddying the waters, I…I…just don't know what I'm supposed to think anymore.

  3. This is a far superior document. It actually mentions our history.

    Shame on Wherry for his snarky pot shots and negativity.

    • Yes. No dount countless immigrants turned around upon hearing of Wherry's snark.

    • I lke the part where they say charter rights are optional…just funning…i believe they’re keeping that one back for the majority.

      • Are you talking about the notwithstanding clause ??

    • Some of us also think it to be superior to the Liberal platform in the 2004 election which purported to be the last word in "Canadian values".

      • Please – every politicaly party in Canada claims to be the party of "Canadian Values" or "Ordinary Canadians" or "Standing Up for Canada" or some such thing.

        But I agree this guide is overall pretty good, although I question the metric used to determine that Canadian Football is the second most popular sport in the country!

  4. Fixed election dates, except when the PM decides otherwise. Phenomenal.

    • Here's an interesting one.. what if the PM decides not to ask the GG to dissolve parliament after 4 years and instead goes for the constitutionally allowed 5 years? Does the legislation do anything at all?

    • My version is closer to the truth.

      Elections in Canada are held every four years or whenever President Harper thinks he has the best chance to gain a majority in order to determine which ridings will receive stimulus funding.

  5. While not particularly offensive and containing some basic information that should have been in the previous version, I find the tone to be very pre-1967.

    I also get the feeling that the Conservatives want to just mention in passing things they don't care for – overwhelming majority of people living in cities being one example.

    • No mention of legalized Gay Marriage from what I can see either (that kind of thing might be important for people coming from extremely patriarchial societies to know)

      • You're only in Grade 10?! You seem so much more mature than that — at least Grade 12!

        • teaching Grade10, wiseacre


    • I think the period from 1759-1867 could have been shortened, yes. (Immigrants need to know that the Montreal Stock Exchange opened in 1832? Really?)

      • Well, no doubt there is room for editing anywhere, but it is good to see emphanis on our history before 1867. To look at much current iconography and celebrations of Canadian history you'd think the nation sprang into being fully formed on July 1, 1867 and anything that occurred before that date happened to someone else. Much of what makes us tick today is a result of the pre-Confederation struggles and it is good to see proper reference given to that period.

        (On the other hand, they did leave some significant things out – like the Fenian invasions – so some editing was done. It is, after all, only a brochure, not an encycolpaedia)

  6. Generally a very good document, and one that it would be useful to have distributed to all students in Canada. Certainly a much better effort than the last version.

  7. Aside from a couple of gems*, this was a really great effort. Good for the government.

    *<<…It became an emblem of the St. Jean Baptiste Society, a French-Canadian <b>patriotic association…>

    • The description is accurate. Keep in mind that, in Stephen Harper's Canada, Québec is a nation, not a province–consistent with Harper's oft-lauded commitment to regional equality.

  8. I would have liked the justice portion to acknowledge our rich history of common law jurisprudence – something many actual citizens don't quite have a handle on. And in the courts section I would have liked a mention of our many and varied tribunals, which play an important role in administering the law.

    • Let me guess: you're a lawyer? :) The previous one didn't mention the courts at all, and this one seems like it's a lot of information for people to absorb already.

      Are those things valuable to know? I guess. Should they be necessary knowledge for anyone who wants to be a citizen? I think that would be going overboard.

  9. Did it include the part that describes Canada as a second-rate northern European welfare state?

    • That’s in the following addition.” Why Canada isn’t everything i want it to be, so give me @#%$ majority”! PMSH.

  10. One quibble is that the document describes the Battle of the Plains of Abraham as marking the end of the French Empire in North America. That over-simplifies the history, perhaps understandably, since the French in Canada did not surrender until the next year at Montreal – and even that was not a sure thing until the spring of that year. A further quibble might be that the French Empire continues, in very reduced form, in St. Pierre and Miquelon.

    But on the whole the historical section appears well done.

    • That over-simplifies the history, perhaps understandably, since the French in Canada did not surrender until the next year at Montreal…

      Quite true. And is it not the case that the French North American empire lived on until the Louisiana Purchase and the extirpation of the French presence in the Ohio valley? That would bring the terminal date up to 1803 or so.

      The guide should say that the Battle of the Plains of Abraham initiated the end of the French Empire in North America.

      • Yes, that would state the matter more precisely.

        (The French, however, did cede Louisiana to Spain in 1763, so their empire in North America really did end after the Treaty of Paris. They recovered it again only in 1800, although that acquisition was kept secret until 1803 and as far as anyone in Louisiana knew, they remained Spanish subjects until the territory was purchased by the Americans.)

      • But that wouldn't be quite true, either — that started to happen in 1710 or so when the British took Acadia…

        Complicated, our history is.

        • Yes, Yoda, it is.

  11. I took my citizenship test few years ago and I studied from the old book with passion but I also did my own researches.
    I love this country because I believe that a real Canadian knows the meaning of living in a multicultural society. That's why I chose this place.

    I found in this book religious topics, something we shouldn't teach in schools. If you pay attention (and just to start) on the cover of the book you can see pictures that suppose to represent what Canada is, just a brief first look. Why an indoor picture of a Cristian church with a crucifix? Why in the book it's mentioned that the majority of Canadians embrace Christianity? Is that relevant?
    Another thing is the lack of emphasis of aboriginal history in Canada; the fur trade was culturally and traditionally the foundation of the aboriginals of Kanata. It wasn't an European's invention. The Europeans didn't come to Kanata just for that; they also came with a religious mission… to convert them in the name of God, forcing aboriginals to convert to Christianity because that's what God wanted them to do. And the story goes on and on at the point of using the Bible to even justify slavery.

    This book seems to be an academic version of the previous concise version and not written to serve its real purpose, which is to help newcomers to study for the Citizenship test. The CLB (Canadian Language Benchmark) of an average newcomer is 3 or 4 (intermediate); this book has a 9 or 10 level (University level). All comments I hear and read came from native-English-Canadian-born Citizens.

    The new guide fits with a Conservative strategy to redefine itself with regard to immigration, an issue that historically has been closely linked with the Liberal Party.

    Conservatives have done it again. Trying to tell and project history from a white-male-Caucasian-European point of view.