Not long ago, “national unity” was the trendiest slogan in Canadian politics. Keeping the people of Canada united, regardless of race, culture, language or geography was every politician’s purported dream; “hurting national unity,” the darkest insult.
There’s much less of that these days, however, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s tenure may wind up marking Canada’s formal abandonment of “national unity” as even an aspirational ideal in favor of a far humbler goal of “managed disunity.”
Rather than a single, unified country with a single, inclusive form of democratic citizenship, “managed disunity” would describe a Canada resigned to the notion that various prominent demographic groups will never see themselves as fully Canadian, with Ottawa — at best — merely aspiring to serve as their distant, supportive ally when asked.
The prospects of integrating indigenous Canadians into a broader Canadian identity certainly looks increasingly remote. Two deeply significant events on this front occurred in the past few weeks — the passage of a bill to “take all measures necessary to ensure that the laws of Canada are consistent with” the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), and an announcement from the Kamloops Indian Band (also known by their name in the Secwepemctsin language, Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc) that ground-penetrating radar had obtained “confirmation of the remains of 215 children” on the grounds of the community’s defunct Indian residential school.
For the rest of this column: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/06/15/canada-is-abandoning-national-unity-managed-disunity/