Sunday, November 29, 2009

522)SECTION 11: CANADIAN SYMBOLS; The Stephen Harper Government's Citizenship Guide; Quotes Of Minister Jason Kenney

Among the tens of thousands of people from six continents who visit my Blog there must be a significant number who may show an interest in becoming Canadian citizens now or in the future. Consequently I am showcasing on my Blog the Stephen Harper Conservative Government's magnificent new Citizenship Guide for prospective Canadian citizens unveiled on November 12th 2009, the day after Rememberance Day. When I read the online version of this booklet I came away feeling a deep sense of awe and admiration for the country I have lived in for the past 36 years, 5 as a landed immigrant and 31 as a citizen. Indeed this booklet should not just be required reading for prospective Canadians but also for established Canadian citizens of all ages. It's always refreshing to remind ourselves about our secular democracy-its evolution, history, system of government, regions, rights and responsibilities, justice system, economy, symbols, achievements and much, much more. The text of the booklet has been carefully researched and well written and the many photographs wisely chosen. While I have reproduced all the text from the Guide in the following Blogposts one cannot fully appreciate the material without also looking at the photographs and their captions. For that reason each Blogpost has two links to the original page on the Citizenship And Immigration Canada(CIC) website, one at the beginning and one at the end of the post.

On another forum I made the following comment to commemorate Rememberance Day on November 11th 2009: Canada is a stable secular democratic state with a solid, longstanding and admirable history. It is not a disparate bunch of autonomous multicultural fiefdoms as some political parties would have you beleive. Canada is the Magna Carta(1215), War of 1812, British North America Act(1867), Boer War(1899-1902), Vimy Ridge, Ypres and Paschendale(1914-1918), Dieppe, Monte Cassino, D-Day, Juno Beach, Belgium and Holland(1939-1945), Korean War(1950-1953), Cold War(1917-1989), Vietnam War(1960's) and Afghanistan(post 2001).

Study Guide – Discover Canada
The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship


Canada has many important symbols — objects, events, and people that have special meaning. Together they help explain what it means to be Canadian and express our national identity. Important Canadian symbols appear throughout this booklet.

From left to right:
Mace of the House of Commons, OttawaCanadian Flag of 1965
The Royal Arms of Canada
Parliament at dusk

The Canadian Crown

The Crown has been a symbol of the state in Canada for 400 years. Canada has been a constitutional monarchy in its own right since Confederation in 1867 during Queen Victoria’s reign. Queen Elizabeth II has been Queen of Canada since 1952, marked her Golden Jubilee in 2002, and celebrates her Diamond Jubilee (60 years as Sovereign) in 2012. The Crown is a symbol of government including Parliament, the legislatures, courts, police services, and the armed forces.

(Picture): The Snowbirds(431 Air Demonstration Squadron) are a Canadian icon

The National Flag

The National Flag was first raised on February 15, 1965. The red-white-red pattern comes from the flag of the Royal Military College, Kingston, founded in 1876. National Flag of Canada Day is February 15. The provinces and territories also have flags that embody their distinct traditions.

The maple leaf

The maple leaf is Canada’s most known and respected symbol. Maple leaves were adopted as a symbol by French-Canadians in the 1700s, have appeared on Canadian uniforms and insignia since the 1850s, and are carved into the headstones of our fallen soldiers buried overseas and in Canada.

Coat of arms and motto

As an expression of national pride after the First World War, Canada adopted an official coat of arms and a national motto, A Mari Usque Ad Mare, which in Latin means “from sea to sea.” The arms contain symbols of England, France, Scotland, and Ireland as well as red maple leaves. Today the arms can be seen on dollar bills, government documents, and public buildings.

Parliament buildings

The towers, arches, sculptures, and stained glass of the Parliament Buildings embody the French, English, and Aboriginal traditions and the Gothic Revival architecture popular in the time of Queen Victoria. The buildings were completed in the 1860s. The Centre Block was destroyed by an accidental fire in 1916 and rebuilt in 1922. The Library is the only part of the original building remaining. The Peace Tower was completed in 1927 in memory of the First World War. The Memorial Chamber within the Tower contains the Books of Remembrance, in which are written the names of soldiers, sailors and airmen who died serving Canada in wars or while on duty.

The provincial legislatures are architectural treasures. The Quebec National Assembly is built in the French Second Empire style, while the legislatures of the other provinces are Baroque, Romanesque, and neoclassical, reflecting the Greco-Roman heritage of Western civilization in which democracy originated.

Popular sports

(Picture): Montreal Canadiens Stanley Cup Champions, 1978

Hockey is Canada’s most popular spectator sport and is considered to be the national winter sport. Ice hockey was developed in Canada in the 1800s. The National Hockey League plays for the championship Stanley Cup, donated by Lord Stanley, the Governor General, in 1892. The Clarkson Cup, established in 2005 by Adrienne Clarkson, the first Governor General of Asian origin, is awarded for women’s hockey. Many young Canadians play hockey at school, in a hockey league, or on quiet streets — road hockey or street hockey — and are taken to the hockey rink by their parents. Canadian children have collected hockey cards for generations.

Canadian football is the second most popular sport. Curling, an ice game introduced by Scottish pioneers, is popular. Lacrosse, an ancient sport first played by Aboriginals, is the official summer sport. Soccer has the most registered players of any game in Canada.

From top to bottom:
RCMP Musical Ride,Ottawa, Ontario
A Beaver, AlgonquinPark, Ontario

The beaver

The beaver was adopted centuries ago as a symbol of the Hudson’s Bay Company. It became an emblem of the St. Jean Baptiste Society, a French Canadian patriotic association, in 1834, as well as other groups. This industrious rodent can be seen on the five-cent coin, on the coats of arms of Saskatchewan and Alberta, and of cities such as Montreal and Toronto.

Canada’s official languages

English and French are the two official languages, and are important symbols of identity. English speakers (Anglophones) and French speakers (Francophones) have lived together in partnership and creative tension for more than 300 years. You must have adequate knowledge of English or French to become a Canadian citizen. (People under the age of 18, and over the age of 54 are exempted from this requirement.)

Parliament passed the Official Languages Act in 1969. It has three main objectives:

1)Establish equality between French and English in Parliament, the Government of Canada and institutions subject to the Act;
2)Maintain and develop official language communities in Canada; and
3)Promote equality of French and English in Canadian society.

National Anthem

O Canada was proclaimed as the National Anthem in 1980. It was first sung in Quebec City in 1880. French and English Canadians sing different words to the National Anthem.

O Canada
O Canada! Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command
With glowing hearts we see thee rise
The true North strong and free!
From far and wide, O Canada we stand on guard for thee
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee

Ô Canada!
O Canada! Terre de nos aïeux,
Ton front est ceint de fleurons glorieux!
Car ton bras sait porter l’épée,
Il sait porter la croix!
Ton histoire est une épopée
Des plus brillants exploits.
Et ta valeur, de foi trempée,
Protégera nos foyers et nos droits.
Protégera nos foyers et nos droits.

Royal Anthem

The Royal Anthem of Canada, “God Save the Queen (or King),” can be played or sung on any occasion when Canadians wish to honour the Sovereign.

God Save the Queen
God Save our gracious Queen!
Long live our noble Queen!
God save The Queen!
Send her victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us,
God save The Queen!

Dieu protège la reine
Dieu protège la Reine!
De sa main souveraine!
Vive la Reine!
Qu’un règne glorieux,
Long et victorieux,
Rende son peuple heureux,
Vive la Reine!

(Picture): Jazz pianist Oscar Peterson(left) receives the Order ofCanada from Roland Michener(right), the 20th GovernorGeneral, in 1973. In the centre are Norah Michener and a portrait of Vincent Massey, the 18th Governor General.

The Order of Canada and other honours

All countries have ways to recognize outstanding citizens. Official awards are called honours, consisting of orders, decorations, and medals. After using British honours for many years, Canada started its own honours system with the Order of Canada in 1967, the centennial of Confederation.

If you know of fellow citizens who you think are worthy of recognition, you are welcome to nominate them. Information on nominations for many of these honours can be found at

From left to right:
Col. Alexander Roberts Dunn, V.C.
Able Seaman William Hall, V.C.
Brig. Paul Triquet, V.C.
Filip Konowal, V.C., was promoted Sergeant

From top to bottom:
Air Marshal William A. Bishop,better known as flyingace Billy Bishop, V.C.
Lieut. Robert Hampton Gray, V.C.

The Victoria Cross

The Victoria Cross (V.C.) is the highest honour available to Canadians and is awarded for the most conspicuous bravery, a daring or pre-eminent act of valour or self-sacrifice, or extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy. The V.C. has been awarded to 96 Canadians since 1854, including:

Lieutenant Alexander Roberts Dunn, born in present-day Toronto, served in the British Army in the Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava (1854) in the Crimean War, and was the first Canadian to be awarded the Victoria Cross.

Able Seaman William Hall of Horton, Nova Scotia, whose parents were American slaves, was the first black man to be awarded the V.C., for his role in the Siege of Lucknow during the Indian Rebellion of 1857.

Corporal Filip Konowal, born in Ukraine, showed exceptional courage in the Battle of Hill 70 in 1917, and became the first member of the Canadian Corps not born in the British Empire to be awarded the V.C.

Flying ace Captain Billy Bishop, born in Owen Sound, Ontario, earned the V.C. in the Royal Flying Corps during the First World War, and was later an honorary Air Marshal of the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Captain Paul Triquet of Cabano, Quebec earned the V.C. leading his men and a handful of tanks in the attack on Casa Berardi in Italy in 1943, during the Second World War, and was later a Brigadier.

Lieutenant Robert Hampton Gray, a navy pilot born in Trail, B.C., was killed while bombing and sinking a Japanese warship in August 1945, a few days before the end of the Second World War, and was the last Canadian to receive the V.C. to date.

National public holidays and other important dates

New Year’s Day — January 1
Sir John A. Macdonald Day — January 11
Good Friday — Friday immediately preceding Easter Sunday
Easter Monday — Monday immediately following Easter Sunday
Vimy Day — April 9
Victoria Day — Monday preceding May 25 (Sovereign’s Birthday)
Fête Nationale (Quebec) — June 24 (Feast of St. John the Baptist)
Canada Day — July 1
Labour Day — First Monday of September
Thanksgiving Day — Second Monday of October
Remembrance Day — November 11
Sir Wilfrid Laurier Day — November 20
Christmas — December 25
Boxing Day — December 26

Quotes Of Canadian Minister Of Citizenship, Immigration And Multiculturalism Hon. Jason Kenney(2009):

1)When you become a citizen, you're not just getting a travel document into Hotel Canada.
2)I think it's scandalous that someone could become a Canadian not knowing what the poppy represents, or never having heard of Vimy Ridge, Passchendaele, Dieppe or Juno Beach.
3)We mention freedom of conscience and freedom of religion as important rights but we also make it very clear that our laws prohibit barbaric cultural practices, they will not be tolerated, whether or not someone claims that such practices are protected by reference to religion.
4)I think we need to reclaim a deeper sense of citizenship, a sense of shared obligations to one another, to our past, as well as to the future, a kind of civic nationalism where people understand the institutions, values and symbols that are rooted in our history.

Easy Nash