[Review of the book Belonging: The meaning and ...



Title [Review of the book Belonging: The meaning and future of Canadian citizenship, ed. William Kaplan]
Author(s) Thomas N. Trenton
Journal Canadian Ethnic Studies/Etudes Ethniques au Canada,
Date 1996
Volume 28
Issue 2
Start page 185
End page 187
Abstract William Kaplan's thesis is that Canadian citizenship has historically failed and faces future failure unless it is reconceptualized to allow all groups to belong. Nineteen well-known academics and non-academics provide a multidisciplinary treatise. The book, a product of a preceding Roundtable on Citizenship sponsored by the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa, inevitably exhibits an uneven quality. Two essays are in French. However, an introduction with short summaries, little academic jargon, and wider audience appeal make this collection readable and enjoyable. It is ideal for undergraduate courses in Canadian Studies or ethnic/racial relations. Various pressures have undermined any universal notion of Canadian citizenship: weakening of British ties; Quebec nationalism; aboriginal demands; immigrant demographics; multiculturalism and the Charter; constitutional crises; deauthorization of elites; fiscal crisis with federal decentralization; and nation-state emasculation under globalization (Cairns). Pan-Canadianism, with equal citizen rights and provincial symmetry, is no longer possible. Four rather artificial sections: History; Regions; Law, the Constitution, and Economics; and Individuals and Groups address this problem. The historical-legal context of Canadian citizenship, the book's strength, cuts across these sections. Exploring the foundations of citizenship from ancient Athens and Rome to British North America, Bothwell traces the costs and benefits of allegiance, subjectship, and naturalization. Granatstein studies diverse meanings of commitment and belonging during Canada's world-war conscription crises. Amid regional and ethnic divisions, Morton discusses citizenship rights, duties, and identification during Confederation, the British Empire era, and wartime periods.

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