World War II made a large impact on Canada during the post war period and today. The post war period is what really shapes Canada into what it is today. Canada has formed the Canadian identity culturally, politically and internationally through the conflicts of post World War II.
It is accepting towards people of different race, religion, culture, ethnic origins and gender. Canada has also changed many things to ensure that citizens are protected under the law and have the rights to being human and who they are without an opposition. It has made a mark in the world as a peacekeeper and when there is a country in need of help, Canada steps up to take on the mission. Canada is one of the most multicultural countries in the world and many people of different backgrounds seem to respect how far Canada has come with accepting people of different origins. The Immigration Act in 1967 really shapes what Canada started to value, the skill set of a person rather than the colour or origin. In 1962, Prime Minister John Diefenbaker amends the immigration policy so that a person coming into Canada is to be assessed by skill sets that will impact Canada in a positive manner. In 1967, Lester B.
Pearson turned the policy under the law and is now known as the Immigration Act of 1967 (On Point: Fifty Years Ago, Canada Changed Its Immigration Rules and in Doing so Changed the Face of This Country). Since then, many people with qualifications all around the world are accepted into Canada, making Canada a very accepting country where race or origin does not matter. The Indigenous population has always been stepped on in the past but everything changes when the Indigenous were allowed to vote in federal elections. When Diefenbaker started to draft the Canadian Bill of Rights, it meant that they could not leave out the equality that the Indigenous population deserved (Indigenous Suffrage). Thus, the relation between white Canadians and the Indigenous had strongly progressed since and now the acceptance of the Indigenous is outstanding. The legalization of homosexuality made a tremendous impact on the Canadian identity today as society now accepts who one is for their sexual orientation.
Prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau made amendments to the Criminal Code decriminalizing homosexuality after a man named Everett Klippert was arrested twice on the basis of having partners of the same sex. He went to court for an appeal twice, but he was rejected both times. The day after, Tommy Douglas, an NDP leader, announced that homosexuality should not be considered a crime (George Klippert). Since then, there have been many movements, such as the LGBTQ community, that have impacted many different people’s lives, creating movements so that a person does not have to fear the law and society and is proud of who they are.
The previous events brought in so many people of different origins that it is viewed as one of the most multicultural countries in the world. It also strengthened ties with people of different race and sexual orientation do not have to fear for the following future. Canada’s political standings have remarkably changed long since the post war era, it now fights for the rights of everyone and gives all its citizens equal rights in legal matters. The Canadian Bill of Rights was a law that formed to protect the rights and freedoms to be human, it caused everyone to have a say in political matters.
Although the Bill only applied to federal laws and government actions, it still recognized the rights of liberty, life, personal security and enjoyment of property (Canadian Bill of Rights). The Bill of Rights also began the process of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms which impacted Canadians significantly as now every citizen in Canada has the same rights and freedoms no matter what background. The Patriation of the Constitution officially gave Canada to make its own decisions for its constitution. Pierre Elliott Trudeau transferred authority from the British Parliament to the Canadian federal and provincial legislatures (Patriation of the Constitution). Trudeau lost support from many provinces for making amendments to the Constitution so he brought in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and put it under the Constitution. It reflects on the rights a person has to practicing religion and speech as well as the freedoms to just be human. The legalization of abortion impacted Canada in such a way that many would not have thought of.
Abortion is a very sensitive topic but Pierre Trudeau brings it up causing an outcry within the religious communities. Beforehand, women would get botched abortions resulting in thousands of women and children to be killed. The bill was passed in 1969, but to be done only under certain circumstances, if the woman’s life is in danger, any other reason would be considered illegal (Abortion in Canada). This impacted Canada in a way that people of religion would not like, but women now have a choice to have a child or not if they knew that their life was on the line. Politics were a big turning point for Canada as it now gives every citizen a right to be free and have a choice without the burden of the Criminal Code on their shoulders. During the postwar period, Canada steps up internationally taking up a bigger role in the world as peacekeepers. Establishing NATO was one of the biggest accomplishments of Canada that impacted the Canadian identity today.
In 1949, Canada formed alliances with 11 other northern countries to fight the communist world as the Soviet Union and America were in a cold war. This was the first time Canada signed a defensive military pact for peace time (The North-Atlantic Treaty Organization). This impacted Canada in such a way where it built more relations across the world to keep peace. The Suez Crisis is when Canada really took up the opportunity to keep peace between two countries.
A British owned company was seized by the Egyptian president and nationalized, this caused an uproar between Britain, France and Israel as they planned to attack together. Lester B. Pearson develops the idea of the UN’s first peacekeeping force and Canada is one of the candidates to participate in this mission (Suez Crisis). Canada was then always thought of as a mediator, impacting today positively for if there is any issue between countries which involve physical attacks, Canada is ready to take on the mission. Likewise, during the issue of South Africa and the Commonwealth, Canada chose to stand with Africa when they stood up for the discrimination they have been through.
John Diefenbaker, for being a conservative, did not want South Africa to leave the Commonwealth as he was a supporter of human rights. Since South Africa did not change its views about being discriminated against, Diefenbaker supported them and was the only white leader who did so (John George Diefenbaker – Canada’s 13th Prime Minister). It showed the world that Canada will not continue to discriminate against and stand up for the injustice that one has had to face. Therefore, Canada’s international identity has been viewed as a peacekeeper and human rights supporter. The three main tiers that frame the Canadian identity is cultural identity, political identity and international identity. These are the strands that have continuously been amended to make Canada what it is. People from all over the world are accepted into the country without having the fear of being discriminated against.
People of the LGBTQ community no longer have to hide in fear. Politically, Canada had made sure that every single citizen in Canada had a right to be human, without living under the law or prejudice. Canada’s international relations had greatly improved as a peacekeeper, trying to defeat communism and conflicts between countries.
The three tiers was what made Canada what it is today in the world, as a country with rights and freedoms of being human, and the acceptance of an individual.