John Ralston Saul speaks on his latest writing, where Canada has been shaped not only by the English and French heritages, but also the Metis. He was interviewed by Mike Powell.
Saul is an excellent author: he creates prose that is engaging and interesting, drawing the reader in even if regardless of whether they buy the argument. That’s at least where I am- A Fair Country, at least in the first third, is a book about the origins of Canada’s political culture. There are a couple of broad thoughts as to how Canada’s political culture was formed: the first looks at ideas being imported by people that come to the country (so, the loyalists brought a deference to authority, as an example), the other looks to the evolution of attitudes based on events (the Act of Union forces English and French Canada to work together, producing bi-culturalism.) I tend to think the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
Saul takes a different approach: Canada, he says, is a Metis Nation, suggesting that the aboriginal influence on Canadian political culture is as important as all the rest, if not more important. Essentially, most of the modern things that we take pride in as Canadians, such as cultural cooperation, he ties back to an aboriginal influence, with more or less a straight line.