New Canadian Media

History

by Tazeen Inam in Mississauga

Sports has the ability to unite Canada, show the recently released findings of an Association for Canadian Studies survey.

“A majority of Canadians agree that sports break down linguistic and cultural barriers to unite people,” the report states.

In Canada, immigrants from different countries and origins also bring with them some of their own favourite sports.

Dr. John Shields, interim academic director at Ryerson Centre for Immigration and Settlement (RCIS), highlights the growing popularity of cricket in Canada as an example.

“[There are a] lot of people coming from South Africa, Pakistan and India who are avid fans of cricket,” says Shields.

Immigrants from different countries and origins also bring with them some of their own favourite sports.

Sports history important to know

University of Toronto vice-president Bruce Kidd says including sports history in the country’s narrative is an important step in telling a complete story.

“If you don’t understand the role of sports in Canadian history, you missed an important part and your sense of Canadian history will be incomplete.”

For instance, Canadian national sports like lacrosse and hockey were part of the nation’s culture even before confederation. They were the outdoor games played by First Nations. Curling and golf arrived with Scottish immigrants in the 1600s.

Canadians also played important roles in the early beginnings of popular sports like football and basketball.

Kidd explains that when sports are adopted in Canada they are infused with Canadian values, skills and narratives.

“I would say that Canadians have put their own stamp on the games that we play.”

“I would say that Canadians have put their own stamp on the games that we play.”

Sports as a unifying force

Today, hockey alone can ignite patriotism throughout the country.

Jennifer Anderson, historian at the Canadian Museum of History, says hockey is often reflected in Canadian popular culture. Even those who are not enormous hockey fans come across cultural references to the game in everyday life through TV shows, books and children stories.

“Somewhere there is a link between the game and our culture, and I think it demonstrates the relationship that Canadians have to the game,” she explains.

While sports can be a unifying force, like other aspects of Canadian culture, it can also be divisive, says Kidd.

“During those times when Canadian teams made up of Anglophone and Francophone athletes lead internationally, it forges bilingualism and commonality,” he says.

However, he adds, “When you have the Canada games, which put efforts from each of the different provinces against each other, it may create rivalries on linguistic ground.”

Exclusion also part of sports history

While Shields says that sport “tends to bring people together in terms of common cause,” he points out there certainly has been a history of exclusion and racism in Canadian sports, too.

“Historically it was very hard for Aboriginal people to get into the professional hockey leagues, as was for Black people,” Shields says.

“Historically it was very hard for Aboriginal people to get into the professional hockey leagues, as was for Black people.”

Anderson explains that it’s not that First Nations people are dissatisfied with the way games like hockey and lacrosse have evolved; it’s more about the acknowledgement of their participation.

“They would like to be acknowledged as having participated in the game over an extended period of time,” she states. “Not just the beginning perhaps, not just the origin, but they continued to participate in the sport.”

Similarly, women have always been engaged in Canadian sports, but pre-Confederation, they were often barred from sports and had to participate informally.

Kidd says that women have gradually succeeded in winning opportunities for themselves in this area.

“I would say since the First World War, they played every sport that men played and today are an important, proud part of Canadian sports,” he adds.     

Anderson emphasizes that “this hasn’t always been acknowledged in the same way as men sports has.”

Increasing the media’s coverage of women’s sports has been a long-fought battle, and there have been movements and conversations about ensuring equality.

“Currently [women’s sport is] still underperforming in the kind of media coverage it gets,” Anderson says. “But I think social media has changed this to some degree and to some extent has shifted the way women sports is being covered.”

Sports have long been an important part of the Canadian economy, culture and education system, but experts like Anderson suggest that more efforts are required to promote equality in Canadian sports.

Specifically, they suggest we need to counter the growing cost of playing sports, ensure greater exposure of women’s sports and include more First Nations people in the national sports arena.

This content was developed exclusively for New Canadian Media and can be re-published with appropriate attribution. For syndication rights, please write to publisher@newcanadianmedia.ca

by Tazeen Inam in Mississauga

Although a mass expulsion in 1755 resulted in their dispersal, the Acadians of present day New Brunswick and Nova Scotia remained undaunted and, upon their return, revived their cultural roots.

The Acadians are the descendants of 17th century French immigrants. For 100 years, they lived as a French colony called “Acadie.”

Under British rule since the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, they did not want to bear arms in the event of war and were recognized as neutral subjects within the colony from 1730.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, Governor Charles Lawrence of Nova Scotia refused to trust them because of their religious and linguistic affiliation — Catholic and French. In 1755, the Acadians were deported in small groups to British and French colonies around the Atlantic.

“They (the British) saw them as an obstacle to the larger empire that they wanted to build in North America,” says Maurice Basque, a scientific advisor at the University of Moncton.

Several thousand Acadians died during deportation of illness, drowning and starvation.

Today, as a global strategy, Acadians are working to revitalize their traditions and bring back Acadians from around the world to their origin in Canada.

“[The] 300,000 Acadians that you find today in Atlantic Canada speak French on a daily basis and [call] themselves Acadians.”

The return of the Acadians

The Acadians were allowed to return after 1764 on humanitarian grounds. They rebuilt their villages in eastern Canada and began rebuilding their culture.

“[The] 300,000 Acadians that you find today in Atlantic Canada speak French on a daily basis and [call] themselves Acadians,” says Basque.

The Musée des Acadiens des Pubnicos et Centre de recherché in Pubnico-Ouest has preserved Acadian history and culture since 1653. It prominently features the Acadian craft of quilting.

“We have workshops and classes that we give to people who are interested in keeping the traditions alive,” says Bernice d’Entremont, museum coordinator.

With new techniques and sewing machines, quilting is not usually done the way it was 350 years ago. But at “Quilting Bees”, d’Entremont and others enthusiastically teach the art of hand quilting to a new generation.

 “There is a pride in doing the quilting and having it displayed,” she explains.

In eastern Canada, the Acadian flag proudly flies next to the Canadian flag.

Acadian revival

With time, Acadians have become “open-minded.” Basque says that they have proudly adopted Canadian identity. In eastern Canada, the Acadian flag proudly flies next to the Canadian flag.

Basque adds, “Canadian identity is very elastic.”

Now many Acadians work at the international level with Francophone organizations that focus on the youth. Association acadienne des artistes professionnel.le.s du Nouveau-Brunswick supports individual, French-speaking artistes and collectives.

The association, through its immigration initiatives, invites people to delve into Acadian artisan and take missions to other countries. 

René Cormier, president of the Société nationale de l’Acadie says, “We go to promote this region as the real region; we bring with us artists so the people of other countries can see, hear and feel what we are.”

They organize the World Acadian Congress every five years, which invites people from all over the world. The objective is to promote Acadian culture as an active and present part of the Canadian community.

“Our objective is to contribute to the development of Canada — what Acadian people can bring through the development of our culture,” says Cormier.

The group has members in almost all the provinces of Canada. They work for Francophones’ immigration that includes post-graduate students, young entrepreneurs and artisans.

Cormier adds, “We [are] really an organization that brings people together, not only to talk, but to work together.”

Future challenges

Among the challenges facing Acadians today is creating a closer relationship with the First Nations people of New Brunswick and helping them preserve their language.

“Acadians are Francophone and should understand, in my opinion, the wish of the First Nations to keep their languages, so the first languages of this continent won’t disappear,” says Marque.

It’s still mostly what we could call traditional white.”

Historically, the Acadians were allies of the Mi’kmaq and Maliseet First Nations who taught them how to survive extreme cold, dyke marshland, fish, farm, and locate spices and medicines.

“I must say as a historian that there is lots of goodwill, but concrete actions may be missing,” suggests Marque.

Acadians also need to build bridges with new groups that are arriving in Canada. New Brunswick is one of the least multicultural provinces in the country. “It’s still mostly what we could call traditional white,” Marque explains.

Marque concludes, “But the city I live [in], Moncton, is changing. More people that are arriving and settling here with different cultures, Acadians are now opting to the cultures of the world that are becoming part of their culture now.”

This content was developed exclusively for New Canadian Media and can be re-published with appropriate attribution. For syndication rights, please write to publisher@newcanadianmedia.ca

Commentary by Valerie Knowles in Ottawa

This past February, an enterprising and cheeky Cape Breton radio disk jockey set up a website entitled “Cape Breton If Donald Trump Wins.” By this means, Rob Calabrese sought to poke fun at the narcissistic buffoon and presumptive Republican nominee for U.S. President, and, more importantly, interest disaffected Americans in immigrating to beautiful Cape Breton.

According to Rolling Stone Magazine, Calabrese and his wife had been following the U.S. election campaign closely and thought that it might be “the key” to reversing the fortunes of an island that has been witnessing a steady decline in population. Still, the DJ was stunned by the reaction to his site.

Hundreds of inquiries poured in, many of them from Yankees expressing a serious interest in moving to Nova Scotia. And the avalanche of inquiries continued. When he could no longer handle the huge volume, Calabrese passed them on to the local tourist board, which then started to refer to the uptick as the “Trump bump".

Trump convention

Website viewers who had contemplated seeking refuge in Nova Scotia if Trump became President came closer to taking that step when Republican National Convention delegates voted Donald Trump the party’s presidential nominee. The convention, held in Cleveland, Ohio from July 18 to July 21, could aptly be described as the Trump Convention. As such, it  was a disorganized, ramshackle affair, in short, a bizarre showcase for the New York City businessman’s political style.

[The Trump convention] was a disorganized, ramshackle affair, in short, a bizarre showcase for the New York City businessman’s political style.

In his long acceptance speech, Trump painted an America on the verge of collapse, a country beset by violence and chaos everywhere. To make it great again, he will ban immigration from countries where terrorism is rife and build “a great border wall to stop illegal immigration.” He will also enforce law and order in his own country; boost employment in the hard-hit manufacturing sector by prohibiting companies from moving their production outside the U.S. “without consequences", “turn bad trade agreements into great ones”; and reconsider America's membership in NATO. 

With Trump becoming the Republican Party’s standard bearer and Hillary Clinton becoming the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate, the race for the White House became a real one. In fact, on July 28, Nate Silver, of the poll aggregation site fivethirtyeight.com, placed the probability of Clinton being voted into the presidency at just 52 percent, down from 75 percent the previous week.

Lifestyle change

The serious threat of a Trump presidency made the promise of an attractive lifestyle in Nova Scotia resonate even more with many Americans.

Each year, thousands of Americans pack up and move to Canada, but not after being aggressively courted by Canadian government officials and radio disk jockeys. As my book Strangers At Our Gates notes, when it comes to assiduously courting American immigrants, we have to look back to the early years of the 20th century.

These were the years when dynamic Clifford Sifton (picture at right, courtesy Library and Archives Canada) oversaw immigration as Minister of the Interior and Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs in Wilfrid — Laurier’s “Sunny Days” Liberal government (1896-1905). A lawyer from Brandon, Manitoba, Clinton was convinced that massive agricultural immigration was the key to general Canadian prosperity; if primary resources were developed, then industry and commerce would follow naturally.

This close-mouthed man stated his immigration goals nowhere more explicitly than in a memorandum that he wrote to Laurier in 1901. Said Sifton, “Our desire is to promote the immigration of farmers and farm labourers. We have not been disposed to exclude foreigners of any nationality who seemed likely to become successful agriculturalists ... (Strangers At Our Gates, p85).

When wearing his immigration hat, Sifton sought to attract agricultural settlers from the U.S., Great Britain and continental Europe to the almost empty Canadian prairies. Pamphlets in several languages flooded the U.S., Britain, and Europe; foreign journalists were wined and dined on guided tours across the West and Canadian exhibits were mounted at fairs and public displays in targeted countries.

Heading north

When it came to recruiting immigrants from the United States, Sifton pulled out all the stops to attract experienced farmers with capital. Thanks to his effective advertising campaign, the expansion of his department’s network of offices and agents and the widespread  perception in rural America that the frontier had closed, more Americans than ever before headed north. In fact, Americans constituted the largest immigrant group in the newly formed provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

When it came to recruiting immigrants from the United States, Sifton pulled out all the stops to attract experienced farmers with capital.

Could a similar surge in American immigration take place in Nova Scotia and the rest of Canada in the months to come?

Or, will the “Trump bump” be short-lived, another example of progressive thinking Americans joking about moving north when American politics threaten to take a “conservative” turn. 

Valerie Knowles is an Ottawa author with degrees from Smith College (B. A. Honours History), McGill University (M.A. History), and Carleton University (B.J.). In addition to authoring books, Knowles has written for magazines, newspapers, and federal government departments, taught history, and worked briefly as an archivist. Her book, From Telegrapher to Titan: The Life of William C.Van Horne (Dundurn Press, 2004), won the University of British Columbia Medal for Canadian Biography for 2004, the City of Ottawa Non-Fiction Book Award for 2005, and the Canadian Railroad Historical Association Annual Book Award for 2005.  

This content was developed exclusively for New Canadian Media and can be re-published with appropriate attribution. For syndication rights, please write to publisher@newcanadianmedia.ca

by Shan Qiao in Toronto 

From a machine gun wielding high school girl-yakuza boss to time travelling samurai; from sexual awakening in the final devastating days of WWII Tokyo to the true story of “the Japanese Schindler”, Canadian and Japanese audiences enjoyed yet another cultural feast at the 5th annual Toronto Japanese Film Festival.

The Festival ran for two weeks in June in the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre (JCCC), located at Don Mills Rd. and Eglinton Ave. It screened more than two dozen Japanese movies to over 10,000 audience members from all over the GTA. 

“Our 2016 line-up again reflects the films that resonate with Japanese audiences, critics and Japanese Academy Award judges, providing a thorough cross section of the very diverse Japanese film industry. In our first four years we attracted large and diverse crowds and much positive reaction to the films,” says Gary Kawaguchi, President of JCCC. 

The 70th anniversary of the Second World War

A lot of films came out the end of 2015 that marked 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. These include Nagasaki – Memories of My Son, which centred around a mother who lost her son when the atomic bomb was dropped; and The Emperor in August, a powerful political drama that tells the little-known story of Japan’s surrender in the Pacific War.

There was also Persona Non Grata, the story of Ghiune Sugihara, known as the “Schindler of Japan” for saving 6,000 Jewish people from the Holocaust; and When I Was Most Beautiful, a story of Japanese people’s lives in the summer of 1945 when the war is drawing to a close. 

The Festival ran for two weeks in June in the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre (JCCC).

James Heron, Executive Director of JCCC, says that 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War is quite significant in Japan, particularly because many of the people involved in the war are at the end of their lives.  

“We saw a lot of the films from different perspectives. There are consistent anti-war films, mostly about the people who were trapped,” he continues. “Average Japanese people feel like they were trapped between the military government that started the War and the gigantic response from the Allies powers. The films are made for domestic markets, so they tend to look at things from Japanese perspective.”

Internment and Japanese persecution in Canada

“Last year we showed the film Asah, which was all about the internment of Japanese-Canadians. The film was made entirely in Japan but was about a Japanese-Canadian baseball team that really played for the pride of Japanese Canadians. The team was ended when Japanese Canadians were put into camps,” says Heron.

Japanese-Canadians had to suffer internment after the attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941. Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King announced that Japanese-Canadians were to move into prisoner of war camps. Their possessions were confiscated and their belongings were sold. 

Heron, who spent 11 years living and working in Japan, speaks fluent Japanese. His wife is also Japanese. “One of the reason the Festival and the Cultural Centre exists is many Japanese-Canadians feel that they were persecuted in the Second World War because people didn’t understand them and Japanese culture. Because Canadians didn’t understand, they were afraid of the Japanese, even the Japanese-Canadians who were born here, “ he explains.

Their possessions were confiscated and their belongings were sold.

By having the Cultural Centre where they could introduce Japanese-Canadian and Japanese culture, the organizers hope there will be better understanding and that persecution will never happen again to Japanese-Canadians.

Aftermath of the Festival 

When the audience enjoyed sushi and Japanese sake at TJFF’s closing ceremony, Dr. Sandra Annett, an assistant professor in the Department of English and Film Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University, announced that Being Good, a movie on raising children and having compassion, received the Grand Prize Jury Award for Best Film. 

A coming-of-age story, Flying Colors, won the Kobayashi Audience Choice.  

Toronto resident Shiming Fei, 29, particularly enjoyed The Magnificent Nine, which featured one of her favourite Japanese actors, Eita.

As a young Chinese person who came to Canada to study ten years ago, Shiming says she experiences Japanese culture through food and TV dramas. This is why Festivals like TJFF are so important to her.

 “I come here for the food and movie, maybe make a couple of new friends,” she giggles, renewing her search for her favourite hors-d’oeuvre at the closing reception of the Festival. 

This content was developed exclusively for New Canadian Media and can be re-published with appropriate attribution. For syndication rights, please write to publisher@newcanadianmedia.ca

Page 1 of 10

Poll Question

Do you agree with the new immigration levels for 2017?

Yes - 30.8%
No - 46.2%
Don't know - 23.1%
The voting for this poll has ended on: %05 %b %2016 - %21:%Dec

Featured Quote

The honest truth is there is still reluctance around immigration policy... When we want to talk about immigration and we say we want to bring more immigrants in because it's good for the economy, we still get pushback.

-- Canada's economic development minister Navdeep Bains at a Public Policy Forum economic summit

Zo2 Framework Settings

Select one of sample color schemes

Google Font

Menu Font
Body Font
Heading Font

Body

Background Color
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image

Top Wrapper

Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image

Header Wrapper

Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image

Mainmenu Wrapper

Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image

Slider Wrapper

Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image

Scroller Wrapper

Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image

Mainframe Wrapper

Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image

Bottom Scroller Wrapper

Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image

Breadcrumb Wrapper

Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image

Bottom Menu Wrapper

Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image

Bottom Wrapper

Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image
Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image