This article is one of a series commissioned by Government and Opposition exploring identity politics in several national and international contexts. Most discussions of ‘the Canadian identity’ focus on how ‘being Canadian’ relates to various sub-state group identities, such as Québécois, Aboriginal or immigrant identities. There is often said to be a distinctly Canadian model of reconciling national identity with sub-group identities. I argue that the Canadian model of accommodating identities is not unique, but rather reflects broader trends throughout the West. I also suggest that an equally important but neglected part of ‘being Canadian’ is the external dimension i.e., how Canadians relate to the wides world.