21st Century Canadian History

Obviously, attempting to write anything definitive about 21st century Canadian history is ridiculously premature. We’re only entering the century’s second decade, after all, and a lot will no doubt happen in the remaining eight. But it may still be useful to review a few current events, just to bring us fully up to date.

The 2000s So Far…

The early 2000s saw Canada’s political situation stabilize after two decades of turmoil. A lot of scary movements that seemed intense in the eighties or nineties simply fizzled out, and suddenly became boring non-issues.

After spending decades obsessing over the question of secession from Canada, Quebecers in 2003 voted decisively to cast their separatist government, led by the Parti Quebecois, out of power, in an outcome many analysts attributed to growing “separation fatigue” with the nationalist issue. That same fatigue was later reconfirmed in the federal election of 2011, when almost every Quebec separatist candidate running for a seat in the Canadian parliament was soundly defeated, reducing the separatist caucus in the House of Commons from 47 to only four. In such a context, a third referendum on French-Canadian independence seems further away than ever.

Canada’s two conservative political partiesReform and the Progressive Conservatives — merged in 2003, and in 2006, Stephen Harper (b. 1959), a man whose political origins traced back to the western protest movement of the 1980s, became the first right-of-centre Canadian prime minister in over a decade. After three terms in office, he lost a 2015 bid for a fourth term to Liberal Justin Trudeau (b. 1971), the charismatic son of former prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau (b. 1919-2000).

Canadians in Afghanistan

After the Islamist terrorist attacks that struck New York City on September 11, 2001, Canada joined with other NATO countries in invading Afghanistan and deposing the fundamentalist Taliban regime. Canada's last combat mission in Afghanistan officially ended in 2010, and the final Canadian troops left the country in 2014.

Already underway in the late 1990s, the information revolution of the early 21st century brought enormous change to the lives of Canadians, with personal computers, cell phones and the Internet becoming must-haves across the country. Just as the dawn of the 20th century introduced new types of work through the mainstreaming of factories and machines, so too does the 21st promise to create all sorts of new jobs in fields such as programming, engineering and social media.

But it may take a while before those jobs start coming. Like much of the world, Canada was hit hard by the global recession of 2008, which saw unemployment jump and forced many employers to embark upon layoffs and other tough cost-cutting measures in order to balance their worsening bottom lines. Comparatively speaking, however, Canada experienced worse economic turmoil in the 1990s, and due to the financial reforms of that era, has avoided some of the debt and banking problems that now threaten to cripple other western countries.

Links About Canadian 21st Century History:

Quick Facts:

  • The 21st century has seen Canada enter a period of political and economic stability after years of turmoil.
  • Massive technological changes involving computers and the Internet have dramatically altered the day-to-day lives of Canadians.
  • Canadians enter the second decade of the 2000s mostly upbeat and optimistic about the future.