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The history of the modern Western nation-state is built on three founding monolithic mythologies; race and language and mythology itself. After the murderous disasters of the twentieth century, the race element has been happily downplayed, but it is still there as an unspoken assumption. In this model a real nation-state comprises these three elements and must have a singular face. The very idea of a nation-state intentionally built on ideas and a multiplicity of races, languages and myths doesn’t fit into the historic Western framework and therefore cannot be real. And yet what began to emerge in April 1839 was exactly that alternative model.

– John Ralston Saul on the reform movement of the newly united Canadas

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