Belonging is about the past, present, and future of Canadian citizenship. Nineteen distinguished individuals, politicians, historians, political scientists, writers and legal scholars, Canadian by birth or by choice, discuss what it means to be a Canadian and how Canadian citizenship must evolve if it is to serve as a unifying ideal.
Several contributors deal with the quality of Canadian citizenship and the principle of distributive justice applied to all citizens. Others offer a "lament" for the Canadian nation, analysing and explaining why the vision of Canadian citizenship as an allegiance to the federation did not succeed in overcoming the varied loyalties pulling Canadians in different directions. Some authors celebrate this failure, arguing that maintaining dual alliance to the nation and province is more important.
The essays reflect a consensus that Canada and Canadians have failed to give their citizenship meaning. One explanation for this, offered by the editor William Kaplan, is that Canadians are private about their patriotism, even if it is deeply felt. If Canadian citizenship is to endure, that patriotism will have to be more strongly and publicly expressed.
Contributors to this volume are Daryl Bean, Neil Bissoondath, Robert Bothwell, Alan Cairns, Marc Cousineau, Robert Fulford, J.L. Granatstein, Darlene Johnston, William Kaplan, the late Paul Martin Sr, Rosella Melanson, Desmond Morton, Peter Neary, Maureen O'Neil, Robert J. Sharpe, Monique Simard, Glenda Simms, Daniel Turp, and Michael Walker. The essays by Simard and Turp are in French.