Definding Canada

“Definding Canada” is a strong concept for a compelling and engaging book, determined to “defind” an inclusive national identity for Canada through an exploration of the relationship between the people and the land. It’s often that relationship that shapes regional and national preferences, perceptions and priorities.

This definding of Canada would be achieved through a coordinated approach that would include: historical research on Indigenous Canada, the colonizers of Canada, and the settlers of Canada; the use of images of the geography, the people and the industry that has shaped our country with accompanying related background historical anecdotes; and possible interviews of the men, women and children who make up our diverse population.

Background:

Canada is a vast and diverse country that has long defied any kind of national identity based on culture. Ours is a nation built on diversity. We have little in the way of shared ethnicity, religion, or cultural traditions. We do, however, have the land in common. Imagine discovering how the land itself defines us, gives us an inclusive identity that celebrates our diversity. How interesting would it be to take a trip across Canada, interviewing people, photographing and filming the geography they called home and the work and lifestyle that geography defined?

Geography and Identity

There is a distinct relationship between the land and the character of the people who live on and work that land. The land, furthermore, not only influences employment, habitation and social priorities and preferences, it also shapes what can become deeply embedded perceptions of threat and opportunity. This is a concept recently referred to as Strategic Paradigm.

In 2011 I completed the requirements for an MA in International Studies with a focus on defining Strategic Culture. I have since been working on an expanded version of my thesis, titled “Strategic Paradigm”. The concept was first introduced to political theorists in 1977 by Jack Snyders’ work on Soviet Strategic Culture.[1] In his research he tried to identify why the Soviets did not respond to US nuclear deterrence as anticipated. Researchers have theorized that aspects of a society’s culture can influence security policy and practice but have had difficulty producing a reliable definition. I contended in my thesis that this could be resolved by establishing a consistent relationship between specific aspects of culture and distinctive security preferences as they relate to a people’s environment. 

In my thesis I proposed to establish a direct, causal relationship between a society’s dominant strategic and biophysical environment, and the aspects of their culture that influence security priorities and preferences, as the basis for a redefinition of the concept.

My research is based on the recognition of a fundamental human preference for collective security that requires collaborative interaction with predominating, physical resources, and strategic challenges. The result is the development of a Strategic Paradigm, or shared, core, political, social, and economic values, and security preferences and priorities specific to a peoples’ unique environment.

I define Strategic Paradigm as the shared, social, economic, and political values and priorities of a people, relevant to security preferences, as historically shaped and embedded by repeated interaction with and adaptation to their prevailing strategic and bio-physical environment. It is this concept that will be the basis of my exploration of Canada and Canadians in an effort to Defind Canada.


[1] Jack Snyder, “The Soviet Strategic Culture: Implications for Limited Nuclear Operations,” (New York: Directorate of Operational Requirements, Deputy Chief of Staff/Research and Development, HQ, USAF 1977).