Canada History and Culture

Multicultural society

After the 1984 Conservative election victory, B. Mulroney became Prime Minister (until 1993). In 1990, some provinces refused to agree to the Meech Lake Agreement (negotiated in 1987), which was supposed to guarantee Quebec a special status. In a referendum on October 26, 1992, the people of Quebec, five Anglo-Canadian provinces and the Yukon Territory rejected the compromise on constitutional reform (Charlottetown Accord) agreed in August 1992 by the federal, provincial and indigenous governments provided for a greater independence of the province as well as the strengthening of the rights of the indigenous population and v. a. the French Canadians striving for independence should also integrate through the recognition of Quebec as a “special community”. On October 30th In 1992 the federal government and representatives of the Eskimo (Inuit) signed an agreement on the self-government of the Inuit, which among other things. Pursuant to the December 1991 agreement, designated the establishment of a separate territory (nunavut) in the east of the Northwest Territories and reparation of Can $ 580 million; the actual treaty for the area was signed in May 1993 (on April 1, 1999, Nunavut was officially constituted as a self-administered territory).

According to Abbreviationfinder, Mulroney resigned as prime minister and leader of the Progressive Conservative Party in June 1993, faced with the dwindling popularity of the Federal Conservative government as a result of the ongoing recession; his successor was the previous Secretary of Defense Kim Campbell (* 1947). Despite the change in leadership, the Conservatives suffered a heavy defeat in the parliamentary elections on October 25, 1993 (they won two of 295 seats). The Liberals, on the other hand, achieved an absolute majority and made up J. J. Chrétien the Prime Minister (elected in June 1997). The separatist Bloc Québécois (BQ; amalgamation of federal representatives from Quebec, 54 seats) and the right-wing populist Reform Party (founded in 1987, 52 seats) also recorded large gains. With the election victory of the PQ under the leadership of Jacques Parizeau (* 1930) in the province of Quebec in September 1994, the unresolved constitutional conflict gained importance again. It culminated on October 30, 1995 in a (after 1980) second referendum on the separation of Quebec from Canada, which resulted in an extremely narrow majority of 50.6% of the votes cast in favor of remaining with Canada; then Parizeau resigned as party leader and head of government in Quebec.

On January 1, 1994, the North American Free Trade Area (NAFTA) formed by Canada with the USA including Mexico came into force. In 1996 there was also a fishing dispute with the USA (“salmon war” over fishing quotas off Alaska); this could be ended by an agreement of the two states concluded in June 1999. Temporary economic tensions with the USA also arose because of the American policy of sanctions against Canadian and other foreign companies in Cuba due to the US Helms-Burton Act passed in 1996.

At the beginning of 1998 the federal government apologized to the Indians (First Nations), Métis and Inuit for the injustice inflicted on them by the European settlers with a »declaration of reconciliation« and secured the creation of a »healing fund« (with around Can $ 250 million) for reparation to. After lengthy negotiations, the Canadian government and the British Columbia-based Nisga’a Indians agreed in 1998 on a land rights treaty approved by both chambers of parliament in 1999/2000 (transfer of around 2,000 km 2 of land and payment of Can $ 253 million; domestic policy controversial model contract for negotiations with other Indian tribes).

With the Clarity Act passed by parliament in July 2000, secession efforts by provinces (especially Quebec) were narrowly restricted (principle: “clear majority” for a “clear referendum question”). In early parliamentary elections on November 27, 2000, the ruling Liberal Party of Canada (LPC) secured its absolute majority for the third time in a row; Chrétien, who had considerable domestic success in lowering unemployment and reducing national debt, retained the post of prime minister.


Canada sees itself as a multicultural society and deliberately differentiates itself in this regard from the United States, whose society is described as a “melting pot”. Multiculturalism means that every ethnic group should be able to preserve their cultural identity without forcing the minorities to become culturally aligned with the majority. French and British settlers who met Indians (First Nations), Inuit and Métis and who were followed by other immigrant groups have had a decisive influence on Canada’s cultural development.

According to the settlement history of Canada, the literature is divided into a French-language and an English-language literature (Canadian literature). In the beginning, topics such as the vastness and the threats of nature were in the foreground, later also the search for cultural identity. The incorporation of experimental forms was characteristic of the later literary development. Internationally known writers are the French-Canadian L. Hémon and the Anglo-Canadians M. Atwood and M. Ondaatje . The Anglo-Canadian A. Munro received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2013 for her further development of the short story.

For a long time, architecture and fine arts in Canada showed strong European influences (Canadian art). For a long time, works of art by the Indians and Inuit, such as the totem poles on the Pacific coast or the stone sculptures of the Inuit, received little attention from European settlers. The various groups of immigrants have left their mark on the architecture. The old town of Lunenburg, founded by German emigrants in 1753, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Vancouver’s Chinatown is a tourist attraction and the colorful house facades in Toronto create a Caribbean flair.

The Canadian film was initially completely overshadowed by the American Hollywood. It was not until the late 1960s that it gained international recognition, especially in the documentary film and artistically demanding arthouse film. Production centers are Montreal for French-Canadian films and Toronto and Vancouver for Anglo-Canadian films.

Canada has symphony orchestras that have won several international awards in Montreal and Toronto. In the field of classical music, the pianist G. Gould was one of the best-known representatives. The stars of pop and rock music are much more numerous; these include B. Adams , C. Dion , A. Morissette , N. Young and many more.

The ball sport lacrosse is a Canadian national sport. In terms of the number of supporters and active players, however, ice hockey far surpasses it. In 1976 Canada hosted the Montreal Summer Olympics, and the Calgary and Vancouver Winter Olympics in 1988 and 2010.

Canada History and Culture

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