Tag Archives: civil society

Culture and Empire, Canada and Asia Then and Now: Part 2 – Canada

Eric Koch is spending two weeks in Europe. A number of his regular readers have generously volunteered to compose guest-postings – this is the second of three by Tim Lash. Part 1 – Asia

What of Asia in Canada now, and to come? Sketches has spoken of multiculturalism before. Who’s imperial now?

Around 2025, India – land of the serene Taj Mahal and storied Ramayana, original home of the compassionate Buddha – will just overtake China as the world’s most populous country.

Numbers alone won’t tell the tale. At home in Asia, there will be questions of food supply, age-pyramids and family structures, distribution of domestic economic activity, exports, imports and investments, freedoms and discipline, education and interconnectivity, emigration and immigration.

Of course Canada will respond to these most populous cultures in the world. They’re expressed now in many-generation native Canadians. Increasingly, it will be in the persons of new immigrants and colonizers in Canada, offshore customers and owners of Canadian resources, innovators, providers of technologies, services, creations, and material and cultural goods from elsewhere. People to teach and learn from.

What social frameworks, what knowledge frameworks will we respond with? And will they? How do we navigate the wide borderland that joins and transforms “we” and “they” into “us”?

Exchanging curated cultural treasures and history like The Warrior Emperor is surely one good way.

Sharing informed understanding of democratic and autocratic civics is another.

Especially since Mr. Harper’s strategically intelligent campaign for the May 2 election. For many it was civically deceptive. To recap: Parliament fired him for insubordination – beyond how public money’s spent, it had become about who’s in charge, he or the elected body? His campaign belittled and deflected the question, purported (incorrectly) that we elect Prime Ministers, and demeaned Parliament’s maximum decision as “bickering.” The effect of targeting ethnic ridings is still being assessed. Whatever it was, he added the full legislature to his close hegemony over Canada’s executive, judiciary, military, police, prisons, civil service, independent advisors, financial and monetary instruments, foreign agreements and commitments, government information, the head of state, and his own party.

Paid social marketers will explore culture in the Asia–Canada borderlands, and elsewhere. They’ll influence how these civics play out.

Watching as voters, what changes will we see in public broadcasting, individual freedom, state surveillance and policing, shifts and revelations about where sovereignty and civic power reside, institutional room for alternatives, more proportional representation? These affect our ability to act as citizens. As Parliament acts with full power to implement a force-filled worldview endorsed by fewer than 25% of eligible Canadian voters, how might political energy evolve in civil society outside Parliament? What will matter for the people, places and creatures you care about? As a watchful citizen, will you act to shape the civics that enable you?

These questions aren’t new in history, but the discovery that they’re real is new for each person.

Reference: Civics, East and West

On June 10 — Civic Canada: A Nearby Choice for the Long Run