From “Peaceable Kingdom” to “Warrior Nation”: A comparative analysis of the Liberal and Conservative citizenship study guides

by Cassandra Joyce

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The Canadian citizenship study guide is a tool provided to immigrants to ensure success in the mandatory test that newcomers must pass to acquire Canadian citizenship. The guide is published by the federal government and emphasizes the key information the government deems necessary for immigrants to know. It enforces a representation of Canada based on the governing party’s idealized vision of Canada’s past and present. It also allows for the possibility for immigrants to utilize this tool to develop a strong platform for identity in Canada. However, over the past decade as the governing party has changed from Liberal to Conservative there has been a transformation in how Canada is represented as a nation within these study guides. This article will offer an analysis of the similarities and differences between the 2005 Liberal citizenship study guide, A Look at Canada, and the 2011 Conservative study guide, Discover Canada. This examination will demonstrate a shift representation from Canada as a “peaceable kingdom” under the Liberal government to the country as a Conservative “warrior nation”. Although the citizenship guides do share some similarities, a focus on the sections dedicated to history and national symbols present clear discrepancies between how each governing party presents Canada nationally and internationally to immigrants.


Citizenship; peaceable kingdom; warrior nation; representations


Cassandra is a graduate student in the School of Canadian Studies at Carleton University focusing her studies in the Canadian Cultural Policy and Cultural Studies stream. Originally from Renfrew, ON, Cassandra completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Ottawa in 2012 with a major in History and a minor in Canadian Studies. Her current research interests include the historical evolution of Canadian immigration policy, representations of Canada internationally, and the branding strategies that accompany these interpretations of the nation.