Should Scotland Join the Canadian Federation?

10 04 2017

The author Ken McGoogan has recently proposed that Scotland leave the UK and become part of Canada.  His argument is that Scotland would enjoy considerable autonomy as a Canadian province and tariff-free access to the EU market. His proposal, which has attracted some attention in the press, is reminiscent of the early twentieth century Irish and Scottish nationalists who favoured imperial federation, a constitutional arrangement in which there would be a common parliament for the British Empire along with a federal system in which each country (Scotland, Canada, England, etc) would enjoy internal autonomy– Home Rule All Round.  I would say that there is a zero percent chance of this proposal being implemented  but it is interesting that some people in Scotland are thinking in such terms. The sentimental ties between Scotland and Canada remain strong. Moreover, the social memory of the historic ties between the two countries is being used by a variety of social actors, including Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister, who made an appearance yesterday at the 100th anniversary commemoration of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. (It is not entirely clear what agenda drove Ms. Sturgeon to travel to France for this event, which was also attend by the French president and other EU leaders).  Even though academic military historians tend to scoff at claims that it was important, the Battle of Vimy Ridge now looms large in the Canadian historical consciousness in which the same way that Galliopi is important to present-day Australian. For those who want to learn more about how the memory of Vimy Ridge is used by Canadian social actors, I would recommend this recent piece by the journalist Tony Keene as well as this article by Jean Martin, a historian.


Sturgeon at Vimy Ridge




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