Jun. 28th, 2017

jsburbidge: (Default)
In the run-up to the Sesquicentennial celebrations in Canada, I am hearing a fair bit on the CBC that Canada is a "young country".

This is manifestly untrue. It is older than Germany and Italy; it is older than most Balkan nations (Greece is older), older than most African nations, older than any eastern European nation, with the exception of Russia, and older than many Asian nations. That's because countries' ages aren't based on how long the peoples living there have been there. (If it's used as hidden shorthand for the fact that European descended humans have lived here for only a few hundred years, then it's an act of Aboriginal erasure, in which I'm sure the CBC would not be complicit.)

Britain, France, Spain, Portugal, China, Russia (assuming continuity from the Empire through the USSR to today), the Netherlands, Belgium and Sweden are among the relatively small number of countries older than Canada. If we count "under their current constitution" then France, Russia, and China (at least) come off the list. 

ETA: Canada is younger than many states in the Americas - many if not most states in Central and South America are older, and the US is almost a hundred years older. But I suspect that that comparison is not what is on the minds of the people making the statement.

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