Canadas Emerging Identity

Topics: Canada, British Empire, United Kingdom Pages: 5 (1623 words) Published: May 18, 2013
Canada’s Emerging as a Country
Canada at the turn of the twentieth century was an emerging new country eager to make life in Canada one to be envied across the world. This was not an easy task. Canada did not separate on violent terms like their neighbor to the south. They had done so on diplomatic terms which left them a country still part of the British Empire unable to handle her own foreign affairs. Though this was a success, in later years it was cause for many problems. Britain was unable to let go of her colony. How was Canada expected to emerge as a country on a global scale if she could not even handle her own foreign affairs? Over and over again Canada was forced into wars that almost split the country. With such a delicate population of two dominating cultures (English and French) Britain was slowly tearing the country they created apart. Canada's emerging identity was hindered by Great Britain's inability to let go of her former colony as shown in the Bohr War, the Alaska Boundary dispute, and in the Great War. On October 11th 1899 the second Bohr War broke out in South Africa. This was a direct result of Britain’s failure to sign the Transvaal Ultimatum which called for the disputes to be settled with an arbitration.[1] Almost immediately Britain called on Australia for support. Throughout the war Australia alone supplied more than 16000 men, most trained as militia.[2] In the first few months of the war the British military suffered huge losses, this caused for her to call on her colonies for more reinforcement. The war from then on out turned and a lot of that was credited to Lord Kitchener’s leadership.[3] He followed a threefold plan to end the war, first a scorched earth policy to deprive the enemy of food, second was to create concentration camps to keep women and children in hopes to lure their husbands, and third to keep all black peoples confined so that the Bohr's loose their cheep labor.[4] This three-fold plan eventually worked in favor of the British, and is considered a success. In Russia a popular song proclaimed; “We don’t want to fight, But by jingo if we do, We’ve got the shops, we’ve got the men, we’ve got the money too”, this gave rise to the term jingoism meaning intense patriotism.[5] This term and its meaning scared Prime Minister Wilfred Laurier who was trying to keep two distinct cultures at a balance, and the French weren’t displaying any jingoism at all.[6] The French had no ties to Britain, no reason to feel compelled to fight with her. The majority of Canada however was English and many people were recent immigrants from Great Britain. They felt great jingoism and felt it was their moral obligation to fight with their mother country. Britain expected her colony to come to her rescue and held great influence on the military officers of Canada at the time.[7] Laurier thought up a compromise to please both sides of his country, he would sent voluntary troops, only if Britain paid for them. Unfortunately this still put strain on English-French relations, The Montreal Star headline after the statement was released read: “Canada Disgraced”.[8] Also working against him was Canada’s own military who had already promised Britain troops before Laurier had announced his decision.[9] Britain singlehandedly pulled a country apart in her expectations and her tremendous influence over Canada. Britain's negative influence over Canada can not be seen more than in the Alaska Boundary dispute. The boundary was established by a poorly worded treaty between the Russian Empire and Great Britain. When Russia sold its land to the United States there was no question of the oblique boundary; not until Klondike gold rush that is. Both the Canadian and American governments wanted the panhandle since it served as excellent access to much of the gold. To resolve this issue both parties involved were expected to sent three delegates to discuss the issue. There were three Americans, and two Canadians, all well...
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