Canada and USA: 1st July vs 4th July

The 1st July is the Canada Day, and the 4th July is the Independence Day, the birthday of USA. In the recent days, the U.S. marked the 235th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independenc, and Canadians marked the 144th anniversary of the formation of the union of the British North America provinces in a federation under the name of Canada, in 1867. In fact, The US is at least 100 years older than Canada and quite different. After the American revolution, the British politicians thought that the new republic and federal system could not succeed in forming an independent country and sooner or later most of Americans would turn back to their British masters. But in 1860s, after the Civil War, the Britain was totally disappointed at the fall of the American regime, the first republic system of the world. The English and French wars and conflicts were a unique opportunity for the Americans, but a historical obstacle for Canadians . When in 1763 Britain defeated France and became the lone European imperial power in North America, they never thought that within 20 years they would lose most of what they had gained. The British politicians became more arrogant and dug their own grave. The Sugar and Currency acts, the stamp act, the tea act, etc were the final nails in the British empire’s coffin in the colony of America. In the early 1770s the revolutionary wars began, and the pamphlet Common Sense by Thomas Paine presented powerful arguments opposing kings and supporting a pure republic; It changed the minds of many colonists. In the summer of 1776, Thomas Jefferson prepared the initial draft of the declaration, and Congress voted for independence on July 2, 1776, and signed the formal declaration two days later. The France supported the American rebels by all means, and had a very important role in the defeat of the British empire in the colony of America . The American Revolution ended in 1783 with the Treaty of Versailles (Paris), recognizing the independence of the US and the division of the North American continent. But Canada was a garrison for the British soldiers and the Loyalists (royalists)- who had fled to Canada as refugees of the American Revolution and became the founders of two provinces, Ontario and New Brunswick – and an unstable home for some small groups of British and French colonists. The wars between Canada and America, like the war of 1812, were wars between the Americans and the British empire in North America. The Americans could not defeat the British army in the North America, and the British North America colonies remained and finally were called Canada .

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The American Civil war in 1860s, was the last hope of Britain for defeating the Americans and the American system. The economic and population growth that the British North American colonies experienced after 1815, was accompanied by challenges to the system of government established in reaction to the American Revolution. To restrict the rise of democracy, the excess of which supposedly had induced the thirteen colonies to rebel, the imperial authority encouraged a form of representative government that allowed political control to rest in the hands of an oligarchy, an elite group of appointed colonial officials . The outbreak of rebellion in 1837 forced a reconsideration of imperial policy toward colonial governance. The union of the Canada and responsible government achieved during the 1840s. And finally, after the American Civil war, the British authorities reconsidered their plans for Canada. The realities of the North American environment, required a American-style federalism, and since Canada was to have the first federal structure of government within the British Empire, the architects of Confederation naturally looked for guidance to the US Constitution. But Confederation did not confer full national independence. Britain retained control of foreign affairs and could theoretically veto Canadian legislation . On July 1, 1867, the Dominion of Canada, with four provinces -Quebec (formerly Canada East), Ontario (formerly Canada West), New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia – came into being, and Macdonald was appointed as the first prime minister of the Dominion. But Canada was not an independent country. In fact, the Canadian full national independence has a long story. In 1920s, the Liberals under Mackenzie King continued the quest for national autonomy and reconstitution of the British Empire into a Commonwealth of Nations, ultimately achieved by the Statute of Westminster in 1931, that officially recognizes Canadian autonomy in foreign affairs . Some analysts say that it’s the declaration of Canadian independence. But is was not a full independence, and Canada still had to consult the British Parliament to change the Canadian constitution. Finally in the early 1980s, with the new Constitution Act (1982) , that included a Charter of Rights and Freedoms, no longer was it necessary to consult the British Parliament to change the Canadian constitution. Of course Canada still has the British crown as its head of state, and the Governor General is considered as a representative of the British crown, but it’s just a weird tradition/legacy and has not any special meaning and effect.

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The American Revolution/Independence of 1776, unlike the French Revolution of 1789 and the subsequent Reign of Terror and many other disasters, was a stable democracy. And the Canadian system like the British system was a conservative system and finally could establish a stable democracy after 1867. In the recent days, the British royal couple, (Prince) William and Kate were in Canada for celebrating the country’s 144th birthday. In fact, Canada’s relations with Britain (and France and USA) is one of the most complicated relationships in the world. Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Governor-General David Johnston officially welcomed William and Kate, with Johnston describing this country as the “honeymoon capital of the Commonwealth” !! But as the Canadian media say: “Half of the Canadian agree that the monarchy was a ‘relic of our colonial past that has no place in Canada today . An Angus Reid poll showed support for Canada’s remaining a monarchy had reached 36 per cent, up from 33 per cent . The monarchy is considered irrelevant or of little interest to the largest number of Canadians. Those who care passionately about it, one way or the other, are in a minority” But it’s not the whole story. The Canadian media say: “But there has never been a sustained, serious debate in Canada about the monarchy, as in Australia . No political party has ever demanded one; no political leader has ever encouraged one … In any event, even if Australia, followed by New Zealand, ditched the royal link, Canada’s Constitution would make it nigh impossible to sever the link to Charles and Camilla and William and Kate and their progeny .” Canada is the country of immigration and immigrants. All Canadians are immigrants. Aboriginals were first immigrants and the French and British immigrants came in the recent centuries. The continuous flow of immigrants ensures the Canadian prosperity. In Quebec, Canada Day is not celebrated as fervently as in the rest of the country. Federal offices, schools, banks are closed but many people in Quebec look at July 1st as “moving day,” as this date has been historically the end of lease agreements. Many new Immigrants celebrate Canada Day like the old immigrants, and are happy being Canadian, but the Conservative’s policy on immigration continue. Recently the immigration laws has changed again. Effective July 1, 2011 and for the ensuing 12 months, only 500 applications in each occupation will be considered for a permanent resident visa. It should come as no surprise to anyone who follows Canadian politics that the party in power, with a fresh majority of seats in the House of Commons, has reduced by half the number of applications to be accepted for processing, without a job offer, under the FSW Program . The decrease in the FSW numbers fits the philosophy of the Conservative government. There has been a gradual but steady shift in Canadian Immigration policy since the Conservatives formed government some five years ago. Before then, Canada assumed the role of chief selector of individuals who wanted to immigrate to Canada. Since 2006 much of immigrant selection has devolved to the provinces and territories and they all now administer their own Immigration departments and selection systems. To qualify for the Federal Immigrant Investor Program, applicants must have: A minimum net worth of C$1,600,000 CAN; and Make a C$800,000 CAN secured investment. And as of July 1, 2011, CIC will not be accepting any new Federal Entrepreneur applications. And all of these new restrictions are a result of the Conservatives’ victory in May 2011 election. Some people ask: “Does the Conservatives want to restore the immigration laws of 1970s or before 1970s ?” Prior to 1970s, almost 90 percent of immigrants were of European origin , by the early 1970s about half came from other regions, including the West Indies, Africa, South America, and Asia. According to the 2001 census, 2.2 million immigrants were admitted to Canada from 1991 to 2000. Nearly three-fifths of the 1.8 million immigrants who actually took up permanent residence in Canada came from Asia, including the Middle East, and only about one-fifth came from Europe. The 2000s had almost the same pattern, but the 2010s could be different.

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