Conservative women and democracy: defending Cold War Canada

John M. MacKenzie

in Female Imperialism and National Identity

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print December 2002 | ISBN: 9780719063909
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700396 | DOI:
Conservative women and democracy: defending Cold War Canada

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This chapter looks at Cold War Canada, including the often-ignored gendering of democracy, and considers the effects of the perceived Communist threat on Canadian identity. It argues that the IODE's representation of democracy changed during the Cold War and that this change involved an ideological as well as a spatial shift away from Britain towards North America. The IODE believed that Communism within Canada posed a severe threat to Canadian citizenship, and its women and mothers sought to rigorously ‘sweep away the Communist stain’. The IODE's reaction to the Cold War reflected a forced reconsideration of Canadian identity. While the IODE promoted democratic principles of progressive conservatism, its methods and attitude to Communists were influenced by individualism and a politics more often associated with the USA, and with an ideal of home and motherhood as ‘private’ gendered spaces. The IODE consistently expressed clear organic sentiments, emphasising the importance of training future generations in its construction of Canadian identity. In the Cold War, it was against the Communist threat rather than the USA that these beliefs were directed. During the Cold War, the IODE's response to perceived threats to Canada caused a shift whereby colonial attachments weakened and there was a move to a focus on Canadian space. This shift was influenced by diverse ideologies from Britain and the practices of the USA.

Keywords: cold war; Canadian space; progressive conservatism; democracy; Communist threat; Canadian identity

Chapter.  11989 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Colonialism and Imperialism

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