Canadian provincial political cultures

Canada, second largest country in the world in area after Russiaoccupying roughly the northern two-fifths of the continent of North America. In addition, Canada harbours and exports a wealth of natural resources and intellectual capital equaled by few other countries. The word Canada is derived from the Huron - Iroquois kanata, meaning a village or settlement. In the 16th century, French explorer Jacques Cartier used the name Canada to refer to the area around the settlement that is now Quebec city.

Canadian provincial political cultures

There are 2 traditional approaches to the study of political culture. The "individualistic" approach examines the values and attitudes of individuals, frequently through the use of surveys. Because political culture cannot be directly measured, respondents are asked questions designed to illuminate their views about political culture.


Unfortunately, there is always the possibility that the questions asked do not adequately represent the feelings of the population and may not properly measure the concepts being tested.

This approach has been applied in 3 different ways. First, academics attempt to describe a political culture by observing and analysing political behaviour as reflected by a constitution and by legislation and the structure of government. Second, the geographic, demographic and socioeconomic features of a society are analysed; and third, the historical underpinnings which have determined a political system are sometimes examined.

The systems approach has resulted in 2 popular theories of political culture.


According to the second, the members of the 2 founding cultures and the later immigrants from other cultures have combined to produce a new and distinct political culture. This includes a belief that the majority rules in the political decision-making process.

The recognized legitimate role for competing interests in Canadian society is qualified by the view that the majority will prevail when a compromise solution cannot be found.

Also, according to the principle of majority rule, any political decision can be changed once the majority has altered its own position.

Under the first layer lies a uniquely Canadian political culture which transcends provincial boundaries.

Political Culture | The Canadian Encyclopedia

As well, research indicates that Canadians strongly support political authority and widely accept the role of elites in leadership.

These contradictory sentiments toward the US have occasionally helped to unite Canadians and at the same time have helped the development of their political and popular culture.

The third layer of political culture contains attitudes which are uniquely Canadian but which, at the same time, distinguish one Canadian from another.

Canadian provincial political cultures

There may be several different belief systems in this category, including one involving French-English differences and another, more difficult to define, based on notions of economic development and geographical diversity.

The political cultures of English- and French-speaking Canada are different because the 2 communities have experienced different patterns of development and different educational systems, religion and language. Finally, Canadians living in different regions vary markedly in the degree to which they trust politicians and government and perceive government as being responsive to their needs.Canadians (French: Canadiens) are people identified with the country of connection may be residential, legal, historical or cultural.

For most Canadians, several (or all) of these connections exist and are collectively the source of their being Canadian.. Canada is a multilingual and multicultural society home to people of many different ethnic, religious, and national origins. According to the second, the members of the 2 founding cultures and the later immigrants from other cultures have combined to produce a new and distinct political culture.

Canada's political culture can usefully be described as "layered," although the layers are not easily demarcated.

edy a shortage in Canadian political studies, that of comparative provincial political cultures. Political historians have not taken the trouble to compare Canada’s re-. The political culture of Canada is in some ways part of a greater North American and European political culture, which emphasizes constitutional law, freedom of religion, personal liberty, and regional autonomy; these ideas stemming in various degrees from the British common law and French civil law traditions, North American aboriginal .

Canada has been an influential member of the Commonwealth and has played a leading role in the organization of French-speaking countries known as La was a founding member of the United Nations and has been active in a number of major UN agencies and other worldwide operations.

In Canada joined the Organization of American States and signed a free trade agreement with . The hierarchy of culture areas.

A multitiered hierarchy of culture areas might be postulated for the United States; but the most interesting levels are, first, the nation as a whole and, second, the five to 10 large subnational regions, each embracing several states or major portions thereof.

There is a remarkably close coincidence between the political United States and the cultural United.

In Search of Canadian Political Culture | BC Studies