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An Ethnic History of Canada.

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Introduction

Canada: An Ethnic Nation An ethnic nation is made up of people who share characteristics such as race, culture, or a common language. These characteristics contribute to a collective identity. Pre-Confederation: 1604: Samuel De Champlain leads the first colonizing mission for France. They settle in Île Ste-Croix, in Acadia. Although the settlement fails, and over half the colonists perish, it marks the beginning of the many attempts of colonization in Canada by the French. The French however, come to abandon their settlements, leading to the creation of a unique Francophone group in Canada. The land in which they colonized eventually becomes the province of Quebec. The Francophones unite due to a shared language, culture and history. 1713: The War of the Spanish Succession comes to an end in Europe. This leads to the signing of treaties which divide North American colonies between the British and the French. The treaty of Utrecht gives Britain possession of Hudson Bay, Newfoundland, and Acadia, while France is given Cape Breton Island. France also agrees to compensate the Hudson’s Bay Company for its losses during the war, and drop land claims in Newfoundland. France loses a majority of its territory, and as a result, French influence in North America is lessened. English speaking, Protestants become a majority in Eastern Canada. 1755: When the British attack major French positions in Canada, the Acadians’ oath of neutrality comes under suspicion. ...read more.

Middle

1917: The Conscription Crisis during the First World War: The start of the First World War succeeded in creating a rift between the cultural groups in Canada, particularly the Anglophones and Francophones due to their conflicting interests. The war was supported by English Canada, whose residents expressed patriotism for Britain, and supported their cause in Europe. French Canada however, felt no connection to Britain or to France. They also felt that the Canadian army (which mostly consisted of English speaking Protestants) did not support their causes or their Canadian ethnic identity. When voluntary enlistment dropped, the Canadian government introduced a Conscription Bill- the Military Service Act, which made serving in the military mandatory for all male adults. This bill created outrage within Francophone communities, leading to a series of riots and protests. This contributed to Canada?s linguistic divide. 1969: The White Paper and Aboriginal Peoples: The White Paper was a piece of legislation that agreed to end the Indian Act and dissolve the relationship the Aboriginal Peoples had with the government. Ultimately, it worked towards eliminating ?Indian status?, dissolving the Department of Indian Affairs, abolishing the Indian Act, and converting reserve lands to private property which the native bands could sell or own. In this way, Aboriginal citizens would be regarded simply as citizens without any special conditions or advantages (which the government considered discriminatory to other citizens). ...read more.

Conclusion

The Assembly of First Nations is one group that actively fights for the rights of Aboriginal peoples. This type of advocacy has also encouraged he government to play its role. In 2010, the government planned to make changes to its policy so that more than 45,000 people would be recognized as status Indians. Because of events driven by ethnic nationalism, the Aboriginal culture still exists today and will exist for the foreseeable future. Immigration and Diversity: Canada has always been a land of immigrants, from the early First Nations traveling across the Bering land bridge to the Chinese workers that came to Canada during the time of the railway. This and the events after have resulted in Canada being a diverse nation rather than one tied to a common ethnicity. The Red River resistance for example, ensured that the Metis received land rights. Opposition to the White paper, made sure that Aboriginal peoples were not marginalized. The Francophones rebelled in 1791 when they felt they were being suppressed by the English power. The English themselves attempted to assimilate the other minorities numerous times through legislation. All of these cultural groups attempted to increase their influence in Canada, although sometimes not in the most humanitarian ways. But because of the ethnic bonds that motivated the founding peoples to be patriotic, Canada has become a country where diversity is welcomed and accepted. A climate in which people of many backgrounds live together can exist. ...read more.

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