On Guard: The Discourse of Difference in Trudeau’s Speech on National Unity
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s July 1, 2017 speech to commemorate 150 years of Canadian Confederation and its seemingly banal content and delivery ironically beckons for critical attention. Delivered to the Prince of Wales on Parliament Hill and millions via television and Internet, the address capped off the immense cultural spectacle of Canada’s sesquicentennial with tributes to Canadian exceptionalism in battle and in sport. However, behind references to reconciliation and tolerance is a well-documented history of contestation that runs contrary to the international myth of Canadian unity. This essay deconstructs a consonance of perspectives on Indigenous relations, multiculturalism, and citizenship proposed by Prime Minister Trudeau in his Canada 150 address on Parliament Hill that is inconsistent with a defining decade of Canadian resistance. I analyze the speech’s attempts to whitewash Canada’s colonial origins and dispel numerous claims of peaceful coexistence between the nation-state and various minorities, fundamentally challenging perceptions of Canadian identity and national values.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Francis Rweyongeza
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