With election season rolling around later this year, Canadian political parties are directing massive amounts of attention into making sure that, you, a Canadian citizen, hear their claims, promises, beliefs, and smears loud and clear. However, whether this information reaches you through a TV ad or a newspaper flyer, we can see that various political narratives are woven through them to prompt you to believe that the narrative they present is in the best interest of Canada. Canadian identity, economy, geography, and government, are all examples of narratives the various parties present, but the one that I feel holds the most weight, the one that I find most compelling, is Canadian identity. In my opinion, a party that advocates for Canadian identity understands the importance of the people within a country, and therefore strives create a vision of a future country that people can buy into. Identity is all-encompassing, which is why it strikes more deeply and personally with myself and other citizens of Canada. However, as I go into more depth on why I believe Canadian identity to be important, I should also mention that my interest in the geography narrative is strong as well, more specifically, in actions taken to sustain the natural environment. I do believe these two to be linked, as the actions we take to preserve the world around us factor into who we are as Canadians, regarding our moral responsibilities to our environment and future generations.
Firstly, our Canadian identity is largely shaped around our collective values. Therefore, a party that is commenting upon their values is most likely trying to paint a picture of their proposed identity for Canada. Take the Liberals, for example. Justice is one of major pillars of their political narratives that has spanned many years (and the service of two Trudeaus), and still exists in their campaign today, in the form of #fairness. The idea of having a single word that acts as a foundation for all of the Liberal’s political actions, is admirable in my eyes, as it creates an obligation to be consistent. This is true for all political parties who aim to emphasize their goals for the Canadian identity; it takes political integrity to remain committed to a set of values over a long period of time, and to keep their values and ideals realistic for implementation in Canada. When it comes to national identity, parties are forced to ask themselves the question, “What are Canadians?”, “What do we stand for?”, and when the answers to these questions are largely aligned with those of the Canadian population, proposed identity can be a powerful thing. However, we would be naive to think that politics is just about voting for the party with the most convincing hashtagged value. Unfortunately, its more complicated than this; political parties also have to find compromise between values to create a happy and safe Canada. The balance between security and freedom is just one example of this, and while the Conservatives put a large emphasis on security, freedom is more readily valued in the right wing parties. Thus, the struggle to propose, build, and articulate Canada’s identity is a difficult task, which is one of the reasons I find it most compelling. If a party is able to express how they wish to shape Canada’s identity for the better, their message seems inherently more personal, as they are targeting the very conducts of the country we live in.
In my recent exploration of Canadian politics, I believe that the Liberals present a Canadian Identity that I could buy into. Their more progressive mindset could be a new and refreshing asset to the Canadian government, especially after long years of Conservative rule. However, although I have found myself impressed by the freedom-heavy values of Justin Trudeau and his crowd, I was unimpressed by Trudeau’s actions to vote for C-51 and then vowing to abolish it once he is in power. It seemed contridictory, and in a way, just downright wish-washy. It just goes to show how difficult it is to maintain a consistent image or idea of Canadian Identity, but also to demonstrate it in one’s actions.