The idea of political unity contains its own opposite, because a political community can never guarantee the equal status of all its members. The price of belonging is an entrenched social stratification within the political unit itself. This book explores how the desire for political unity generates a collective commitment to certain lived fictions - the citizen-state, the market economy, and so forth - that shape our understanding of political legitimacy and responsibility. Canada promises unity through democratic politics, reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, a welfare state, and a multicultural approach to cultural relations. John Grant documents the historical failure of these promises, elaborating the radical institutional and intellectual changes needed to overcome our lived fictions.