In 2017 Canada celebrated its sesquicentennial – 150 years since Confederation. The Canada 150 Alliance was struck in 2015 with the aim of encouraging non-governmental organizations, community groups, businesses, municipalities and individuals around the country to celebrate the anniversary in whatever manner they felt was appropriate to the occasion. The federal government chose as the 150 emblem a design created by Ariana Cuvin, a 19-year-old university student in the University of Waterloo’s global business and digital arts programme. In addition, they created a commemorative C$10 dollar bank note and a series of stamps and provided free passes to national parks for the entire year. Canadians rose to the occasion, especially from a digital perspective. Digital content designed to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday seemed to be the order of the day, with stories, images, videos and featured events, as well as experts who addressed topics such as Canada’s constitution, Canadian literature, Indigenous issues, wildlife conservation and climate change. The overarching theme, like the theme of this volume, was diversity and inclusion.
The nine articles that comprise this special issue of the London Journal of Canadian Studies were initially featured as part of the Canada Inclusive/Exclusive: 150 Years and Beyond colloquium convened at the Institute of the Americas, University College London (UCL), in early July 2017. The thematic focus of the colloquium, a partnership of UCL, the Center for the Study of Canada at the State University of New York Plattsburgh and Fulbright Canada, was designed to encourage original scholarship from across the international community that carefully considered how the Canadian experience engaged with questions of inclusivity and exclusivity.
In particular, scholars and practitioners who gathered for the colloquium addressed five related enquiries. In what ways could Canada be rightly regarded as an inclusive society by the international community? What policies has Canada established and pursued over the past 150 years to foster and expand inclusivity? Have there, over time, been notable variations, across issues and governments, in Canada’s approach towards inclusivity, and how might these be explained? How might Canada be considered not to have embraced inclusivity? And how well placed is Canada to embrace inclusivity – rather than exclusivity – moving forward, given the variety of pressing global concerns, as it celebrated its sesquicentennial?
The first article in this collection, by Margaret Polk, makes extensive use of archival materials housed with the government of the United Kingdom to examine Anglo-Canadian relations against the backdrop of Canada’s 1982 constitutional patriation effort. Thibault Biscahie’s theoretically orientated work considers the concept of ‘post-nationalism’ and its intellectual links to scholarly works grounded in the political philosophy underpinning Canadian multiculturalism. Geoffrey Hale’s investigation of the economic and political mechanics and workings of Canadian federalism finds inclusivity, over the most recent 30-plus-year period, to be alive and well. The demographic and geographic placement of languages in Canada – included, excluded and ‘subcluded’ alike – form the core of Keith Battarbee’s inventive article. Antoine Burgard’s contribution carefully documents Jewish lobbying, particularly by the Canadian Jewish Congress between 1945 and 1948, and anti-Jewish sentiment in Canada immediately after the Second World War.
Eric Weeks’s article, which explores the relationship between Canadian national public monuments and societal inclusivity, simultaneously advances our understanding of what these highly visible public symbols represent and forces us to consider the appropriateness of removing or re-situating monuments to reflect modern sensibilities and understandings. Ian Urquhart’s contribution evaluates how Canadian courts have interpreted First Nations treaty rights, and how those rulings can be evaluated along a continuum model. John Soroski’s article addresses the contested issue of Indigenous peoples’ protest and reconciliation, carefully expressing and problematizing awareness of the complexities of values, nuances, multiple community and the ‘relative equality of moral value of different cultural heritages’. The final article in this collection, by Susan Billingham, focuses on the work of Tara
Goldstein and the idea of performed ethnography, or ‘research-informed theatre’, which, Billingham concludes, can be successfully employed to ‘improve the school environment and make curricula more inclusive for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning and two-spirit youth in Canada’.
The colloquium where these articles were presented was supported through funds provided by Global Affairs Canada, Fulbright Canada, SUNY Plattsburgh and the Canada-UK Foundation based at Canada House in London. In closing, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to our dear friend and colleague, Tony McCulloch, editor of the London Journal of Canadian Studies, for hosting the 2017 colloquium at University College London and for encouraging us in this issue of the journal to explore Canada and its empirical relationship with inclusivity and exclusivity.
Note on Contributors
Michael Hawes is a professor of International Relations in the Department of Political Studies at Queen’s University in Kingston and has been Executive Director of Fulbright Canada since September 2001. He has published widely on foreign policy, political culture, international economic relations, regional integration and related subjects. His most recent books are Canadian Public Diplomacy, co-edited with Nicholas Cull (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020) and, with Christopher Kirkey, Canadian Foreign Policy in a Unipolar World (Oxford University Press, 2018). Other recent publications include guest-edited special issues (with Christopher Kirkey) of the American Review of Canadian Studies 44.3 (2014) and 49.2 (2019), and of Canadian Foreign Policy Journal 18.1 (2012).
Christopher Kirkey is the director of the Center for the Study of Canada and Institute on Québec Studies at the State University of New York College at Plattsburgh. A scholar of comparative foreign policy and international relations theory, his recent works include Canadian Foreign Policy in a Unipolar World (Oxford University Press, 2016), co-edited with Michael Hawes; a second edition, co-edited with Gervais and Rudy, of Québec Questions: Québec Studies in the Twenty-First Century (Oxford University Press, 2016); the Winter 2015 special issue on Quebec co-edited with Cheryl Gosselin of the Journal of Eastern Townships Studies 45 (2015); and the co-edited special issue, with Tony McCulloch, of the British Journal of Canadian Studies 28.2 (2015).