In a 1998 article in the Social Contract Journal, Mark Wiegerski has written that Canada’s identity is crisscrossed with lines of fracture. The original Canadian nation consists of two distinct cultures, English Canada and French Canada. The lingering guilt over the historical treatment of the aboriginal population called the First People, led to the appointment of a Royal Commission to study aboriginal issues in 1991. Their 1996 report recommended virtual sovereignty for about 100 aboriginal nations and the giving of $ 2 billion a year by the Federal Government for 20 years as an aid to the aboriginal people. The recent non-white immigrants into Canada form a visible minority in many of the larger Canadian cities who claim the right to absolute cultural self-determination. These non-white immigrants treat the white immigrants (Ukrainians, Portuguese, Italians and other Europeans) as part of the oppressive majority (4). In addition to the impact of large-scale immigration, Canadian culture is influenced by the overbearing proximity to the United States. The US has 10 times Canada’s population and the two countries share a common British colonial heritage. As discussed in Class 5, as far back as 1951, the Massey Commission report expressed the fear that Canadian Arts, Letters, and Sciences would be swamped by US influence and make it impossible for Canada to develop a distinct expression (Canadian Studies 2210, Class 5). In the decades after 1951, the two countries have become even closer. They share the world’s longest non-militarized border and there is the free movement of some 400,000 people and 8,000 trucks each day across the borders. Nationals of one country are free to live and work in the other country. In some US publications, Canada is sometimes referred to as the 51st state of the US, reinforcing the inherent fears of the Massey Commission report. Even serious observers advocate that it makes perfect economic sense for the US with its capital, manpower, technology, and military strength and Canada with its vast natural resources to merge, as each has what the other needs (5).
Canadian Culture and the Influence of Neil Youngs Music