Canada has a complicated relationship to empire. On one level, Canada still maintains its formal attachment to Britain and its proximity to the US means that the country is deeply entangled in the project of American imperialism, in both its internal and external manifestations. Yet Canada is not simply a victim of US imperialism or puppet of the monarchy. Indigenous peoples rightfully speak of Canada as a colonising power. And Canada’s economic and political role in the Caribbean and its decade-long role in the war in Afghanistan recast this country as an imperial aggressor. Given its unique relationship to colonialism and colonisation, its close proximity to the world imperial centre, and its ‘quiet’ imperial designs, the stories housed within Canada offer unique insights into processes of nation-building, race, gender, class and the collision between histories of colonialism and imperialism.
Yet, for many readers who live outside Canada, we suspect it is probably counterintuitive to imagine that the histories of empire, colonialism, imperialism, decolonisation, and the current ramifications of the ‘war on terror’ and the destruction of Haiti, can be found here. For that matter, many Canadians do not realise this either. Perhaps this comes from both the internal and external images that often portray Canada as neither violent nor born of violence. The self-image that the country presents to the world is of itself as a western, democratic power that does deeds of global goodness. When your neighbour is the US, it is not hard to convince yourself of such an idyll."