Wither the Canadian Model? Evaluating the New Canadian Nationalism (2006–2015)

  • Patti Tamara Lenard
Part of the Palgrave Studies in European Political Sociology book series (PSEPS)


Historically, the story that has been told about Canada is this: Canadian nationalism is thin. It has been celebrated as a possible example of “rooted cosmopolitanism”, that is, a nationalism that is able to marry a commitment to the universal ideals that characterise cosmopolitanism with a rootedness that captures the particularly Canadian way of instantiating these ideals. However, during its nine years of rule (2006–2015), the Conservative government engaged in an attempt to significantly reshape the content of Canadian national identity. This chapter assesses the strategies adopted by the Conservative government to thicken the content of Canadian nationalism, by focusing on traditional dimensions of nationalist pride, thereby encouraging Canadians to abandon a relatively thin identity in favour of adopting a relatively thicker “ethnic-communitarian” outlook.


  1. Adams, M. (2009). Multiculturalism Ain’t Broke. Canada Watch, Fall(1), 4–6.Google Scholar
  2. Anderson, M. (2013). Does a Modern Canada Need Britain’s Royals Anymore? Chronicle Herald, February 17. Retrieved July 8, 2016, from
  3. Barbieri, W. A. (1998). Ethics of Citizenship: Immigration and Group Rights in Germany. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Basok, T. (2007). Canada’s Temporary Migration Program: A Model Despite Flaws. Migration Information Source.Google Scholar
  5. Beeby, D. (2012). Canada Day: Harper Government Hires Consultant to Highlight War of 1812. Huffington Post Canada, January 1. Retrieved July 8, 2016, from
  6. Bennhold, K. (2008). A Veil Closes France’s Door to Citizenship. The New York Times, July 19.Google Scholar
  7. Bertossi, C. (2010). Mistaken Models of Integration? A Critical Perspective on the Crisis of Multiculturalism in Europe. In A. Silj (Ed.), European Multiculturalism Revisited (pp. 235–251). New York: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  8. Blanchfield, M. (2014). Chris Alexander Cracking Down on ‘Barbaric’ Cultural Practices, Immigrant Polygamy. Huffington Post Canada, November 5. Retrieved July 8, 2016, from
  9. Bouchard, G., & Taylor, C. (2008). Building the Future: A Time for Reconciliation. Commission de Consultation sur les Pratiques d’Accommodement Reliées aux Différences Culture.Google Scholar
  10. Brubaker, R. (1992). Citizenship and Nationhood in France and Germany. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Castles, S. (1986). The Guest-Worker in Western Europe—An Obituary. International Migration Review, 20(4), 761–778.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Castles, S. (2006a). Back to the Future? Can Europe Meet Its Labour Needs through Temporary Migration? International Migration Institute Working Paper 01/2006. University of Oxford.Google Scholar
  13. Castles, S. (2006b). Guestworkers in Europe: A Resurrection? International Migration Review, 40(4), 741–766.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Chin, R. (2007). The Guest Worker Question in Postwar Germany. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Ditchburn, J. (2015). Harper Pays Tribute to Military on Canada Day. Huffington Post Canada, July 1. Retrieved July 8, 2016, from
  16. Dufay, C. (2014). Canada Day in Harperland: Militarism, Militarism, Militarism, July 16. Retrieved July 16, 2016, from
  17. Fitzpatrick, M. (2011). Feds Launch War of 1812 Anniversary Plans, October 11. Retrieved July 9, 2016, from
  18. Gillies, R. (2011). Canada Bans Burqa at Citizenship Swearing in, December 12. Retrieved July 8, 2016, from
  19. Globe and Mail. (2010). Strike Multiculturalism from the National Vocabulary. Globe and Mail, October 8.Google Scholar
  20. Gwyn, R. (1996). Nationalism Without Walls: The Unbearable Lightness of Being Canadian. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart.Google Scholar
  21. Iacovino, R. (2015). Contextualizing the Quebec Charter of Values: Belonging Without Citizenship in Quebec. Canadian Ethnic Studies, 47(1), 41–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Ibbitson, J., & Anderssen, E. (2012). How Stephen Harper Is Remaking the Canadian Myth. Globe and Mail, May 1. Retrieved July 9, 2016, from
  23. Joppke, C. (2009). The Veil: Mirror of Identity. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  24. Korteweg, A. C. (2008). The Sharia Debate in Ontario: Gender, Islam, and Representations of Muslim Women’s Agency. Gender Society, 22(4), 434–454.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kymlicka, W. (1996). Multicultural Citizenship: A Liberal Theory of Minority Rights. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kymlicka, W. (1998). Finding Our Way: Rethinking Ethnocultural Relations in Canada. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Kymlicka, W. (2010). The Rise and Fall of Multiculturalism? New Debates on Inclusion and Accommodation in Diverse Societies. In S. Vertovec & S. Wessendorf (Eds.), The Multiculturalism Backlash: European Discourses, Policies and Practices (pp. 32–49). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  28. Lenard, P. T. (2010). What Can Multicultural Theory Tell Us About Integrating Muslims in Europe? Political Studies Review, 8(3), 308–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Lenard, P. T. (2012). The Reports of Multiculturalism’s Deaths Are Greatly Exaggerated. Politics, 32(3), 186–196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Lenard, P. T., & Moore, M. (2012). Rooted Cosmopolitanism: A Defence of Moderate Cosmopolitanism and/or Moderate Liberal Nationalism. In W. Kymlicka & K. Walker (Eds.), Rooted Cosmopolitanism: Canada and the World (p. 1). Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.Google Scholar
  31. Lenard, P. T., & Straehle, C. (Eds.). (2012a). Legislated Inequality: Temporary Labour Migration in Canada. Montreal-Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Lenard, P. T., & Straehle, C. (2012b). Temporary Labour Migration, Global Redistribution and Democratic Justice. Philosophy, Politics and Economics, 11(2), 206–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Li, P. S. (2003). Destination Canada: Immigration Debates and Issues. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  34. Martin, N. (2011). Muslim Families in Winnipeg Want Children Excused from Certain Classes, February 5. Retrieved July 8, 2016, from
  35. McQuigge, M. (2012). Does Monarchy Policy Signal Harper’s Cultural Agenda. CTV News, January 1. Retrieved July 8, 2016, from
  36. Moore, M. (2001). Liberal Nationalism and Multiculturalism. In R. Beiner & W. Norman (Eds.), Canadian Political Philosophy (pp. 177–193). Toronto: University of Oxford Press.Google Scholar
  37. Nakache, D., & Kinoshita, P. J. (2010). The Canadian Temporary Foreign Worker Program: Do Short-Term Economic Needs Prevail over Human Rights Concerns? IRPP Study 5.Google Scholar
  38. Ottonelli, V., & Torresi, T. (2012). Inclusivist Egalitarian Liberalism and Temporary Migration: A Dilemma. Journal of Political Philosophy, 20(2), 202–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Paperny, A. M. (2012). Jason Kenney Wants to Stop ‘the Madness’ in Immigration System. Globe and Mail, April 4. Retrieved July 8, 2016, from
  40. Parekh, B. (2002). Rethinking Multiculturalism: Cultural Diversity and Political Theory. Basingstoke: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  41. Pauls, K. (2015). Royal Family Support by Canadians Waning, Poll Indicates. CBC News, May 18. Retrieved July 8, 2016, from
  42. Quong, J. (2006). Cultural Exemptions, Expensive Tastes, and Equal Opportunities. Journal of Applied Philosophy, 23(1), 53–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Reitz, J. (2011). Pro-Immigration Canada: Social and Economic Roots of Popular Views. IRPP Study, 20, 1–32.Google Scholar
  44. Reitz, J. G., & Banerjee, R. (2007). Racial Inequality, Social Cohesion, and Policy Issues in Canada. In K. Banting, T. J. Courchene, & F. Leslie Seidle (Eds.), Belonging? Diversity, Recognition and Shared Citizenship in Canada. Montreal: Institute for Research on Public Policy.Google Scholar
  45. Smith, J. M. (2012, March/April). Reinventing Canada: Stephen Harper’s Conservative Revolution. World Affairs.Google Scholar
  46. Taber, J. (2011). Harper Spins a New Brand of Patriotism. Globe and Mail, August 19. Retrieved July 8, 2016, from
  47. Triadafilopoulos, T. (2004). Building Walls, Bounding Nations: Migration and Exclusion in Canada and Germany: 1870–1939. Journal of Historical Sociology, 17(4), 385–427.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Triadafilopoulos, T., & Schönwälder, K. (2006). How the Federal Republic Became an Immigration Country: Norms, Politics and the Failure of West Germany’s Guest Worker System. German Politics and Society, 24(3), 1–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Vertovec, S., & Wessendorf, S. (Eds.). (2010). The Multicultural Backlash: European Discourses, Policies, Practices. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  50. Winter, E. (2014, January 16). Becoming Canadian: Making Sense of Recent Changes to Citizenship Rules. Institute for Research on Public Policy.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patti Tamara Lenard
    • 1
  1. 1.Graduate School of Public and International AffairsUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada

Personalised recommendations