100 Million as Policy – Part II

21CQ Topic President's Blog


Irvin Studin


9 years ago

In my last blog post, I discussed “100 Million as Metaphor,” arguing that the Canadian at 100 million (or imagining himself or herself in such a country) will be armed with a far more effective and world-beating mentality – a mentality that will issue in far greater national achievement, and improved prospects for national survival and success this century.

The most vociferous strands of public critique of the 100 million thesis have related to the environment, broadly put, as well as to the manifest challenge of integrating many more new Canadians into Canadian society. I shall address these critiques below.

However, in my analysis, these two critiques are less compelling than two other potential lines, which I myself should like to put forward: on the one hand, legitimate concerns about the future of Quebec and the character of the “Quebec Question” in the context of a Canada at 100 million (see 21CQ’s work on the Quebec Question); on the other hand, uncertainty about how Canada’s indigenous peoples, in all their diversity, will react or fare in such a Canada (see 21CQ’s work on the Aboriginal Question). Let me take up these last two critiques before I turn to what I think are the less threatening first two lines.

Critique 1 – The Future of the Quebec Question
The argument “from Quebec,” as it were, against the 100 million thesis would essentially go something like this: the constitutional bargain at the heart of Canada, even if never perfectly or definitively articulated, is that the Canadian federation will protect Quebec’s distinct language (French), religion (Catholicism), system of law (civil code) and culture (via the educational system), in exchange for which French Canadians (or their dominant political unit) will remain loyal to the institutions of a country in which the majority is English-speaking. The protection bargain acquires particularly sharp profile in the context of Quebec existing not just in an English-majority country, but in an English-language-majority continent.

An additional, arguably quasi-constitutional element of this bargain is that the demographic weight of Quebec in Canada – or the proportion of the Canadian national population represented by Quebec – will not be significantly diminished over time. Such demographic erosion would, from the Quebec perspective, likely compromise the ability of Quebec to play a leading role in protecting and supporting its unique institutions.

If Canada were to reach 100 million by century’s end, then this would mean that Quebec’s population – assuming preservation of the demographic weight it enjoys today – would be over 20 million (or over 20% of the Canadian population). At first blush, this quantum might seem an extraordinary leap from the current Quebec population of 8 million. And yet, for the province’s vast territory – territory larger than that of France – such a population increase would, over the course of almost a century, seem far from absurd (provided we take care of some of the environmental and integration challenges we discuss below).

The more surgical question would be as follows: even if Quebec’s demographic weight is preserved, would all or most of these new Quebeckers necessarily speak French? The answer should be a resounding yes, if the essential protection bargain is to be preserved. (Of course, immigrants may speak French as a first, second or even third language.) And if this is the case, then this will affect the choice of source countries for immigrants to Quebec as well as provincial and federal resources devoted to language training of newcomers. (We discuss source countries and regions in addressing the critique on integration.)

Quebec may actually find that, with over 20 million mostly French-speaking people in the province, it will begin to enjoy many of the economies of scale and scope that will benefit Canada as a whole in the context of its own much larger population. And this will mean that Quebec will have a larger capacity to protect its language, culture and institutions than it has in the current context of 8 million people out of a Canadian population of 36 million.

But let me go further: the rest of Canada should also participate in bolstering the protection bargain. Indeed, Canada will be compelled to participate should the country’s increased population actually fail to result in the 20 million or so Quebeckers – that is, if Quebec ends up with, say, 15 or 14 million in a Canada of 100 million. What could Canada do? Answer: launch a national languages strategy, today, to promote full bilingualism among all young Canadians, outside of and within Quebec. This would lead to future generations of Canadians who, even while not residing in Quebec, are able to read literature coming out of Quebec (or to read what Quebeckers read), consume news and music and films of Québécois progeny, understand Quebec political and cultural debates beyond the surface level (today’s reality), and, perhaps most importantly, form deep friendships and networks with French-Canadians across the territory of Quebec. For now, such deep friendships and networks between English-speaking Canadians outside Quebec and French-speaking Québécois are, even in this early new century, more the exception than the rule. Some of the brightest and most networked young professionals in English Canada, for lack of full bilingualism and facility with Québécois culture, today have a rolodex that includes precious few French-Canadian Québécois. This fatally compromises their ability to understand many of the core debates in Quebec society, and increases the costs of any intervention, even if well-intentioned, in such debates – especially in periods of potential unity crisis. Simply put, if one has poor networks and little French, then how is a non-Quebecker to play a meaningful role in supporting the protection mandate at the heart of Canadian constitutionalism? More broadly, how can we form a reasonably common political imagination in the country if most Canadians are not speaking the same language, as it were – or, in other words, speaking each other’s language?

As I have written elsewhere, Canada’s national languages strategy should stress French-English bilingualism, but should go beyond this. It should aim to have many future educated Canadians become functionally trilingual – this in a world in which bilingualism is, frankly, nothing to write home about. Most educated Europeans and Asians from leading countries are increasingly at ease in three or more tongues. If French-English bilingualism is key to the Canadian national unity and the protection bargain underpinning it, then competence or fluency in at least one more tongue would help future Canadians compete effectively – and win – in an increasingly complex world in which Canada has not one international border (with the US), but indeed four: America (or the Americas) to the south, China to the west, Russian to the north (across the Arctic), and Europe to the east. We may call these new borders, and therefore Canada’s geopolitical “game” this century “ACRE.” And this game would seem to dictate that more Canadians should be able to conduct business meetings in a third tongue like Spanish, Mandarin (or another Asian tongue), Russian, or any number of other European languages. Arabic or Persian – that is, Western Asian tongues – will also be extremely important this century.

As I shall note below in the response to the potential Aboriginal critique of 100 Million, we might even imagine adding an Aboriginal tongue – say, Cree or Ojibwe – to the roster of third or fourth languages that Canadians could acquire in the context of the national languages strategy – for reasons I shall make clear.

Finally, as it approaches 100 million people, Canada should, beyond languages, be working extra hard to bolster knowledge of civil law and the Quebec Civil Code among the country’s jurists. Today, Canada trains some of the world’s best lawyers in some of the world’s best common law faculties, but these lawyers – who inevitably form the talent pool from which are drawn our justice ministers, deputy ministers and Supreme Court Justices – are, with few exceptions, not even superficially versed in the country’s ‘other’ legal system. This is a failure of policy and imagination in Canada, and one with material consequences for the protection bargain with Quebec: it means that Canada’s English-speaking legal classes do not fully appreciate how Quebec jurists and legal commentators think, and how Quebec forms many of its constitutional-political ‘asks’ in respect of the federal project in Canada – for instance, the preference in Quebec for explicit language (a civil code preference) rather than implicit understanding (a common preference).

Critique 2 – The Aboriginal Argument
The Aboriginal critique may be similar to the Quebec one in the sense that Canada’s indigenous peoples would also become understandably anxious if their demographic weight were to shrink markedly in favour of newer Canadians. They might fear that their economic and political weight in the country might, as a result, shrink, and that Aboriginal issues would become marginalized – or, some might say, even more marginalized than today.

And yet, unlike with Quebec, there is no constitutional or even quasi-constitutional requirement or expectation that the Aboriginal demographic weight in Confederation be preserved. (Note that, at present, by natural increase, the Aboriginal demographic footprint in Canada is actually growing, not shrinking.) There are other constitutional strictures, like duty of care and consultative obligations for the Crown, that have arisen through the growing body of Supreme Court jurisprudence on Aboriginal law, but these have little to do with demography and everything to do with natural resources, land and treaty rights.

So what’s to be done to address legitimate Aboriginal concerns about a much larger Canada in which their demographic weight both in the aggregate and possibly also for certain individual nations will be smaller? The answer must begin with the brutal premise that the Aboriginal people in Canada still live as history’s losers; that is, most of the Aboriginal people in Canada are descended most recently from people who in their legal, social, economic, organizational and geopolitical interactions with non-Aboriginals – principally European settlers and their own descendants – were over time and for a variety of reasons stripped of territory, prestige, rights and the underpinnings of social and material well-being.

In some cases, they were plainly outmanoeuvred; in others, they were tricked; and in others still, they were assimilated, killed or sickened by extra-continental diseases. The aggregate effect of these blows was historical defeat for the majority of the First Nations to the white man – a defeat that has mercilessly conditioned the logic of the relationship between First Nations people and what would become Canadian governments and Canadian society.

To this day, the Aboriginal people have generally not been relieved – in their own minds or in the minds of the winning majority – of the status of Canadian history’s losing people. This is not a merely formal status; it is a properly psychological-spiritual one. It means that to a large extent the negative drag of the Aboriginal question today continues to be psychological-spiritual in nature, and that a good part of the answer to this Aboriginal question must deal frontally with this reality.

The creation over time in Canada of a formally and properly bilingual, bicultural and binational state (although not yet a truly bilingual population, as mentioned) points the way forward on the Aboriginal question. Canada’s success to date in responding to the challenge to internal unity and cohesion posed by the linguistic and cultural differences between the English-speaking majority and the French-speaking minority has been premised on the idea that the endgame consists not in perfect harmony or amity between the tribes, but depends instead on how a historically victorious majority can rehabilitate and resuscitate defeated minorities into political and even cultural co-equals — co-equals who are equally invested in the continued existence of the state.

Historically defeated, the French Canadian in Canada, and in Quebec especially, today walks with his or her shoulders held high, properly self-respecting and in turn respected by the English-speaking majority as politically equal and as hailing from a culture that is just as prestigious as the Anglo-Saxon culture of the historical victors in North America. The French language is today not only studied in all schools of English-speaking Canada, but is held in equally high regard in official national institutions and, just as importantly, in the minds of most Canadians. An Anglophone can therefore become prime minister of Canada while being a rank naïf in international affairs, but not without more or less mastering (and respecting) the French language.

The rehabilitation or resuscitation of the French Canadians in Canada from historical losers to political and cultural co-equals did not happen overnight. It took at least a few generations of conspicuous pushes in policy and constitutional reform – propelled also by the heroism and strategy of many intellectuals and political actors from French Canada in general and Quebec in particular.

While there continues to be (and always will be) great debate in Canada and in Quebec about degrees of respect, dignity, constitutional power and division of responsibilities, the character of the French Canadian or Quebec question by now has precious little to do with historical tragedy and the lower extremes of basic material and social well-being for French Canadians and Quebecers. Instead it is, in its sweet spot, a question about how to govern between centre and region or between the general and the local.

Of the four major Anglo-Saxon democracies with large indigenous populations – Canada, the US, Australia and New Zealand – it is New Zealand that has enjoyed the greatest success in the relationship between its indigenous peoples (mostly the Maori) and the white majority. Unlike indigenous people in the other three countries, the Maori in New Zealand are highly represented in the professions, in the national army, in sports (most famously dominating the All Blacks rugby union team and inspiring its magical haka) and in politics, where the national parliament affords a designated number of seats exclusively for Maori representation.

To be sure, the Maori also suffer from many of the social dislocations of indigenous people in the other three countries; however, in no case do the indigenous populations of these countries have anything resembling the upside suggested for New Zealand’s Maori on the score of most indicators of socioeconomic well-being.

There would seem to be one  signal reason for this difference: the Maori fought the colonizing white man more or less to a strategic draw in the mid-19th century. While its interpretation (and implementation) remains hotly contested, the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi, the founding constitutional document of the New Zealand state, reflects this broad logic of strategic parity between settler and native. As such, the constitutional-political development of the New Zealand state has, in the main, been in the direction of making the Maori the constitutional-political equal of the white man in New Zealand – that is, self-respecting and respected by New Zealand’s majority, including linguistically and in national rituals and symbology.

By contrast, a deep spiritual and psychological disorientation prevails today among many members of Canada’s First Nations. This disorientation, or spiritual anomie, stems from strategic loss in history. It conduces to an insufficiency of self-belief and self-confidence, reinforced by a general and painful disrespect or outright misapprehension (at best, indifference) by and from the white majority. If we accept this premise, then the challenge for Canada must be to appreciate this spiritual-cultural disorientation and, over the medium and long term, to launch a process that aims to consciously rehabilitate and resuscitate the Aboriginal people into co-equals in the political stewardship of the country.

Indigenous history and tradition themselves arguably anticipate this path for Canada. Brutal and not infrequent wars took place among the many powerful indigenous confederacies prior to contact with the Europeans. These wars yielded winners and losers – changing but, critically, still preserving the relationships between the belligerent nations. The victor nations became the ‘big brothers’ in the relationship, assuming a responsibility to look out for the ‘younger brothers’ – that is, to protect them from their remaining enemies and to rebuild or reconstitute them so that they could become allies. In other words, victory led to protection and resuscitation of the defeated, which led, for purposes of survival, to reasonable co-equality in alliance.

Clearly, part of this push to co-equal status in Canada for the Aboriginal people will involve making the binational logic at the heart of Canadian constitutionalism far more porous for purposes of Aboriginal representation, control of territory and governing responsibilities. This will require us to reimagine the internal borders and identities of Canada in ways that are more eclectic than the very Cartesian 10 provinces-plus-three territories paradigm that predominates in most school textbooks and therefore in the psyche of most Canadians. Indeed, in a country of 100 million, with Aboriginals – in all their diversity – as co-equals in governance, the internal political geography of Canada will acquire the manifestly complex, eclectic form and appearance befitting a continent-sized country with a large population spread across its territory.

As suggested above, the vector of culture – far more than rights or economics – must dominate in the resuscitation of the Aboriginal people. A pivotal aspect of this cultural game surely must be the stimulation, revival and mainstreaming of Aboriginal languages. Renewed study across Canada in provincial schools of, say, Cree, Ojibwe, Inuktitut and Michif — to take but four major Aboriginal tongues — would not only give Canadians a better understanding of Aboriginal realities and mentalities, but would also lend prestige to the Aboriginal cultures that were relegated to the peripheries of Canadian society.

Aboriginals, in turn, would be given an opening and an audience for the proliferation of books, magazines, blogs, films, radio and television shows across Canada and internationally in tongues that have renewed currency and credibility.

We might then imagine a Canadian prime minister, in the year 2050, easily mastering English, French and Cree – all in the larger context of the Aboriginal people having become co-equals in the governance of Canada and equally invested in the continued existence and success of this Canada.

A final important caveat is in order, however: empowering Aboriginals to become co-equals in governing Canada may both raise their standard of living and make them far more invested and effective in securing the success of Canada this century; at the same time, however, it could make governing this Canada very difficult. The Aboriginal question may suddenly take on strategic characteristics, over and above its current internal and moral colours: Aboriginals might have effective or even constitutional-legal veto powers in many aspects of Canadian governance that are critical to the advancement of core Canadian strategic interests, including rapid and efficient exploitation and distribution of natural resources (including in the North and the Arctic), population and settlement patterns for Canadians and new Canadians, control of specific territories (say, for purposes of national sovereignty or territorial integrity), and various species of infrastructure projects needed to continue to build and bind this country. In other words, in solving the moral dimension of the Aboriginal question, Canada will be increasingly confronted with it as a strategic level. And dealing with it at this level will require an evolved mindset among Canadians and their governing classes, as well as new tools in the toolkit.

Critique 3 – The Environmental Argument
Won’t a population of 100 million result in a Canada that is dirtier, less effective in stewarding its natural beauty, and, in the most modern of idioms, more damaging to the global commons – perhaps in terms of greenhouse gas emissions and the national ‘carbon footprint’? (Note that, in my humble view, having travelled all of Canada and much of the world, Canada is, in the natural sense, the most beautiful country in the world – more beautiful than Australia, Russia, the US and any other country. Architecture is a different matter…)

At the surface level, there is no doubt that many more people in Canada will mean more pressure on Canada’s resources, our green spaces, our air quality, our oceans, lakes and rivers (indeed, our water supply). Similarly, we might think it would become more difficult to preserve the cleanliness of our streets and cities and, of course, to stave off significant increases in national carbon emissions (even if these will continue to be a very small proportion of global carbon emissions).

It would be absurd to deny these challenges – challenges perhaps sharpened further by growing demand for Canadian resources and water supply from a growing global population based in countries with inferior natural resources.

And yet we might counter as follows: domestically, more people would result in a larger economy (that is, more wealth) and indeed in far greater national business competition and innovation (where Canada today starts from a position of significant weakness). Greater national wealth (and demographic density) will give the country the resources to make large-scale investments that today escape us in large part due to insufficient population – to wit, high-speed rail (or its technological equivalent at century’s end) connecting urban centres, the creation and regular upkeep of huge national parks across the country’s territory, the protection of endangered species, space exploration and research, and considerable expenditure in the clean up and revitalization of brown fields, polluted waters, and depleted forests (all realities today).

Huge investments can be made in environmental science to make Canada the global leader (with no qualifications attached to this avocation) in this field, developing and attracting the world’s best scientists to our country and its institutions. A greater population with a more competitive ‘hockey mentality’ will produce more world-beating Canadian companies and bring huge vitality to Canadian invention and innovation in the service of environmental goals: clean energy, clean air and water, medicine, fisheries, efficient transport and communications, materials science, and far better embeddedness of Canadian nature into our daily lives. These companies will bring cutting-edge products to Canadian society just as they will revolutionize the way many societies around the world interact with nature – for the better: that’s what the world’s best companies do. And a Canada at 100 million will be producing many many more of the world’s leading companies.

While Canada’s carbon footprint will surely be larger (though not necessarily far larger as a proportion of global emissions), this same Canada will have much greater diplomatic weight in international affairs – weight supported by a far larger economy. With our world-beating companies, we will suddenly be able to not only affect the terms of international negotiations in ways that are foreign to Canada today, but indeed also lead many of these international negotiations on environmental questions (again, lead without qualifications). Canadian assets, including our thinking, will be shaping international discourses and debates and deals on the questions that today matter a great deal to Canadians in respect of the Canadian and the global commons, but on which we as a country, for lack of population, punch and the right mindset, are ill-prepared and ill-equipped for impact. This will change at 100 million, and the favourable impact of this change will significantly outweigh the cumulative impacts of the environmental pressures that will accompany a far larger and energetic Canada.

Critique 4 – The Integration Argument
How are we to integrate an additional 64 million people into Canada – even if this influx is spread over the course of 80 or more years? Answer: strategically, skillfully, and with great patience.

A few basic presumptions or bottom lines ought to inform this integration imperative for Canada as it builds toward 100 million. These bottom lines are, in my view, critical to the stability of Canada (or to preventing its destabilization) in constitutional and social terms as its demographic volume and diversity expand:

    1. The proportion of the national population enjoyed by Quebec should be reasonably (even though not absolutely) stable as the population grows (see my notes on the Quebec critique above).
    2. The majority of the population should still be Christian and of Anglo- and Franco-European heritage. (I say this even as a Canadian of Russian/Ukrainian-Jewish origin.)
    3. There should be very deliberate and careful distribution of new populations across the country’s regions, cities and town.

Bearing this in mind, let us consider the integration imperative from both the upstream (selection) and downstream (on-the-ground) dimensions.

Upstream, integration turns on the source countries for Canadian immigrants and the selection criteria for these immigrants. Today, the conventional wisdom is that the only growth markets for sources of Canadian immigrants are in those parts of the world in which populations continue to grow – that is, in Asia, first and foremost (South Asia, Southeast Asia, and West Asia), but also Africa. Europe, on this logic, is generally considered a shrinking source of immigrants because of the continent’s ageing populations and general geopolitical and economic stability (even if the European economy has been weakened somewhat since the 2008 economic crisis). Strangely, the US, the massive country to our south – population almost 320 million – hardly enters our imagination when we consider possible future sources of immigration. Today, the US provides just over 8,000 permanent residents to Canada per annum, or as little as three percent of Canada’s annual intake of permanent residents.

And yet, historically, the US has been one of the major sources of Canadian immigrants, both before and after Confederation. Is 8,000 migrants per annum all that Canada can attract from its giant neighbour? Considering that Americans are, among all nationals, most likely to integrate rapidly into Canadian society, it would seem that Canada should be far more activist and aggressive in attracting, seducing and headhunting our American brethren to relocate to Canada. This recruitment campaign should, for the general American population, be all the more aggressive when the US undergoes periods of great political crisis and division (consider the 2000 election, which sharply divided the population). For the brightest and most talented Americans (there are so many), Ottawa should, on an ongoing basis and in concert with Canadian provinces, cities, companies and institutions, be floating carefully crafted recruitment packages to bring these people north – all to the benefit of Canada. The minister of immigration and his or her team should, in this respect, be on the phone regularly with some of these top people in order to bring to bear on this process the prestige of government, and to communicate to target recruits the seriousness of the state in bringing the best of the world to Canada – systematically.

The same recruitment algorithm should be applied to various European countries – the nationals of which, after the Americans, are most susceptible to rapid integration into Canadian society. In particular, Canada should not be shy about targeting nationals from countries in crisis or periods of conspicuous systemic weakness (consider Greece in today’s EU, or previously Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Italy). To be clear, there is nothing virtuous about Canadian immigration assuming an impersonal, passive or transactional posture in its advertising or recruitment when there is an opportunity for Canada to acquire differential advantage in attracting superior immigration candidates who are likely to fit into Canadian society with rapidity. Bref, when the next Eurozone crisis or political crisis or interethnic crisis hits a European state, one arm of the Canadian state should busy itself with helping our friends, while another arm of the state should be wooing some of the disaffected, lost or anxious of that crisis – all for Canadian advantage.

What about the world’s best scientists, mathematicians, architects, artists, craftspeople, writers, athletes, business people, and builders? What should Canada be doing to attract them with great regularity and in significant numbers, in the context of the 100 million push? Answer: get on the phone – meet them in person; fly them in – and make them offers they can’t refuse. Invest the energy, resources and prestige of the federal government, provinces and cities, our leading companies, universities and institutions in order to decisively change the calculus of these world-beating people such that they see that Canada, which is building to 100 million, is the best place in the world for them (and their families) to live and work in the 21st century. Do this shamelessly and as a matter of national interest.

Let’s now turn to the downstream dimension of integration.

Everyone will move to Toronto, goes the cry. In other words, Toronto would become a city of 30 million. But why should this be so? Why has our national imagination become so small? At 100 million, there will be new cities in Canada, and new major ones at that. Toronto may well become a city of 10 or 12 million (likely still the largest in Canada by century’s end), but so too will there be new major centres in Canadian north – if not in the three territories, then in northern Quebec and Ontario and the northern Prairies (all to respond to the growth in the strategic and economic importance of the Arctic space) – as well as in the Canadian west and east. This is only natural: about a hundred years ago, Montreal (population nearly half a million) was larger than Toronto (population 400,000), while Ottawa, at less than 100,000 people, was a village. If there will be new cities, and more importantly, if Canada will need new cities and population centres in particular parts of the country (again, for strategic and economic reasons – the same reasons that drove early Canadian settlement patterns, as well as Canadian rail or transport lines), it would seem to behoove Canadian governments – in particular and above all, Ottawa – to be more strategic and deliberate in ensuring that new Canadians populate many different parts of the country, and not just the present three or four largest cities in the country. How can this be done? On the one hand, evidently, Ottawa and the provinces, municipalities and business concerns must be far more aggressive in seducing immigrants (and also incumbent Canadian citizens) to decide to locate in Canadian cities and towns that require more people – starting evidently with the Maritimes, the Prairie provinces and the North. And on the other hand, the Government of Canada and the provinces should be far more courageous in saying what would seem uncontroversial to many new Canadians but is not at all broached in Canadian policy discourses – to wit, part of the bargain of coming to Canada is that there may be a need for you to live or be based in a particular part of the country for at least x years. On this logic, there is nothing constitutionally controversial about requiring people (including as a condition for certain benefits or employment or status) to relocate between two points within a particular province. But in my assessment, as I wrote in The Strategic Constitution – Understanding Canadian Power in the World, a constitutional defence can also be made for requiring new Canadians – for instance, before they become permanent residents or citizens – to live or be based in city or town y for z years. Of course, this area of the Charter (section 6) is largely unlitigated, but the state could, if serious, combining a requirement with a possible incentive package for new Canadians to live in particular parts of the country, make a persuasive argument that this is defensible on strategic, economic and other grounds – all part of the overall push to populate the land.

Will there be pogroms, as it were, between older and new Canadians – that is, will there be major social tensions relating to integration challenges for these many new Canadians? Answer: surely there will be some tensions along the way, as there have always been in the course of integrating new Canadians over Canada’s first 150 years: degrees of discrimination, alienation, and even some fighting (particularly in parts of the country that have been less exposed to immigration). However, the longer-term tendency in Canada is always toward exceptional absorption of newcomers into the body politic – provided the aforementioned three bottom lines are observed (in relation the Quebec question, the Christian/non-Christian fact, and the distribution of the population).

More complex will be whether the overall Canadian population at 100 million, for all its dynamism and hardened mentality, will be one that is still willing to ‘fight’ for the country. What will a ‘Canadian’ be at 100 million? (I once wrote a book on the topic, albeit for a country of far less than 100 million.) Around which idea of Canada can we unite this large, diverse mass spread across a continent-sized country? If the ‘Canadian’ is still, as I once argued, a political construct (that is, if our identity is politically negotiated), this will likely be even more true in a country with a far larger and more complex population. A country this size, with citizens who are Canadian because of Canadian politics, will surely need significant political leadership and significant political projects in order to continue to do things together. Let me explore some of this in future blogs at 21CQ.

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