Basic Info on Canada - History

Basic Info on Canada - History


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Canada

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Canada, second largest country in the world in area (after Russia), occupying roughly the northern two-fifths of the continent of North America.

Despite Canada’s great size, it is one of the world’s most sparsely populated countries. This fact, coupled with the grandeur of the landscape, has been central to the sense of Canadian national identity, as expressed by the Dublin-born writer Anna Brownell Jameson, who explored central Ontario in 1837 and remarked exultantly on “the seemingly interminable line of trees before you the boundless wilderness around you the mysterious depths amid the multitudinous foliage, where foot of man hath never penetrated…the solitude in which we proceeded mile after mile, no human being, no human dwelling within sight.” Although Canadians are comparatively few in number, however, they have crafted what many observers consider to be a model multicultural society, welcoming immigrant populations from every other continent. In addition, Canada harbours and exports a wealth of natural resources and intellectual capital equaled by few other countries.

Canada is officially bilingual in English and French, reflecting the country’s history as ground once contested by two of Europe’s great powers. The word Canada is derived from the Huron-Iroquois kanata, meaning a village or settlement. In the 16th century, French explorer Jacques Cartier used the name Canada to refer to the area around the settlement that is now Quebec city. Later, Canada was used as a synonym for New France, which, from 1534 to 1763, included all the French possessions along the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes. After the British conquest of New France, the name Quebec was sometimes used instead of Canada. The name Canada was fully restored after 1791, when Britain divided old Quebec into the provinces of Upper and Lower Canada (renamed in 1841 Canada West and Canada East, respectively, and collectively called Canada). In 1867 the British North America Act created a confederation from three colonies (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Canada) called the Dominion of Canada. The act also divided the old colony of Canada into the separate provinces of Ontario and Quebec. Dominion status allowed Canada a large measure of self-rule, but matters pertaining to international diplomacy and military alliances were reserved to the British crown. Canada became entirely self-governing within the British Empire in 1931, though full legislative independence was not achieved until 1982, when Canada obtained the right to amend its own constitution.

Canada shares a 5,525-mile- (8,890-km-) long border with the United States (including Alaska)—the longest border in the world not patrolled by military forces—and the overwhelming majority of its population lives within 185 miles (300 km) of the international boundary. Although Canada shares many similarities with its southern neighbour—and, indeed, its popular culture and that of the United States are in many regards indistinguishable—the differences between the two countries, both temperamental and material, are profound. “The central fact of Canadian history,” observed the 20th-century literary critic Northrop Frye, is “the rejection of the American Revolution.” Contemporary Canadians are inclined to favour orderly central government and a sense of community over individualism in international affairs, they are more likely to serve the role of peacemaker instead of warrior, and, whether at home or abroad, they are likely to have a pluralistic way of viewing the world. More than that, Canadians live in a society that in most legal and official matters resembles Britain—at least in the English-speaking portion of the country. Quebec, in particular, exhibits French adaptations: more than three-fourths of its population speaks French as their primary language. The French character in Quebec is also reflected in differences in religion, architecture, and schooling. Elsewhere in Canada, French influence is less apparent, confined largely to the dual use of French and English for place names, product labels, and road signs. The French and British influences are supplemented by the cultures of the country’s Native American peoples (in Canada often collectively called the First Nations) and Inuit peoples, the former being far greater in number and the latter enjoying semiautonomous status in Canada’s newest territory, Nunavut. (The latter prefer the term Inuit, which is commonly used in Canada, to the term Eskimo.) In addition, the growing number of immigrants from other European countries, Southeast Asia, and Latin America has made Canada even more broadly multicultural.

Canada has been an influential member of the Commonwealth and has played a leading role in the organization of French-speaking countries known as La Francophonie. It was a founding member of the United Nations and has been active in a number of major UN agencies and other worldwide operations. In 1989 Canada joined the Organization of American States and signed a free trade agreement with the United States, a pact that was superseded in 1992 by the North American Free Trade Agreement (which also includes Mexico). A founding member (1961) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Canada is also a member of the Group of Seven (G7), which includes the world’s seven largest industrial democracies and, as the Group of Eight (G8), had included Russia until it was indefinitely suspended from membership in 2014.

The national capital is Ottawa, Canada’s fourth largest city. It lies some 250 miles (400 km) northeast of Toronto and 125 miles (200 km) west of Montreal, respectively Canada’s first and second cities in terms of population and economic, cultural, and educational importance. The third largest city is Vancouver, a centre for trade with the Pacific Rim countries and the principal western gateway to Canada’s developing interior. Other major metropolitan areas include Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta Quebec city, Quebec and Winnipeg, Manitoba.


  • OFFICIAL NAME: Canada
  • FORM OF GOVERNMENT: Federal parliamentary state
  • CAPITAL: Ottawa
  • POPULATION: 35,881,659
  • OFFICIAL LANGUAGES: English, French
  • MONEY: Canadian dollar
  • AREA: 3,849,674 square miles (9,970,610 square kilometers)
  • MAJOR MOUNTAIN RANGES: Rockies, Coast, Laurentian
  • MAJOR RIVERS: St. Lawrence, Mackenzie

GEOGRAPHY

Canada is a vast and rugged land. From north to south it spans more than half the Northern Hemisphere. From east to west it stretches almost 4,700 miles (7,560 kilometers) across six time zones. It is the second largest country in the world, but it has only one-half of one percent of the world's population.

Canada features black-blue lakes, numerous rivers, majestic western mountains, rolling central plains, and forested eastern valleys. The Canadian Shield, a hilly region of lakes and swamps, stretches across northern Canada and has some of the oldest rocks on Earth.

Canada's far north lies in the frozen grip of the Arctic, where ice, snow, and glaciers dominate the landscape. Few trees grow here, and farming is not practical. Native Canadians, called First Nations people, live in this region by hunting and fishing.

Map created by National Geographic Maps

PEOPLE & CULTURE

In some ways Canada is many nations in one. Descendents of British and French immigrants make up about half the population. They were followed by other European and Asian immigrants. First Nations peoples make up about four percent of the population.

Inuit people live mostly in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Many Native Canadians live on their traditional lands, but many others have moved to cities across Canada. First Nations artwork is widely recognized and is seen as a symbol of Canadian culture.

NATURE

Canada's remote north and extensive forests are home to wildlife, from bears, wolves, beavers, deer, mountain lions, and bighorn sheep to smaller animals like raccoons, otters, and rabbits. The country's lakes and rivers, which contain about 20 percent of all fresh water on Earth, are full of fish such as trout and salmon.

Canada's prairies in the south are home to bison and pronghorn antelope. Farther north are Canada's sprawling evergreen forests, which have lots of wildlife, including moose and black bears. Even farther north is the cold, bare tundra, where herds of caribou and musk ox live.

Canadians work hard to protect the native wildlife. Canada has 41 national parks and three marine conservation areas. Nevertheless, species like wolves, lynx, and Atlantic fish have been overhunted and overfished.

GOVERNMENT & ECONOMY

The British monarch is the head of state of Canada. The monarch is represented by a governor-general, who has very limited powers. Laws are made by Canada's elected federal government, which includes a parliament and a prime minister.

Britain's Quebec Act of 1774 granted Quebec its own legal and religious rights. Despite this concession, many Quebec citizens have long sought independence. In votes held in 1980 and 1995, Quebec decided to stay in Canada. But the second vote was very close, and the debate is still alive.

Canada has provided fish, furs, and other natural resources to the world since the 1500s. Today, it is a world leader in agricultural production, telecommunications, and energy technologies. The vast majority of Canada's exports go to the United States.


Contents

While a variety of theories have been postulated for the etymological origins of Canada, the name is now accepted as coming from the St. Lawrence Iroquoian word kanata, meaning "village" or "settlement". [12] In 1535, Indigenous inhabitants of the present-day Quebec City region used the word to direct French explorer Jacques Cartier to the village of Stadacona. [13] Cartier later used the word Canada to refer not only to that particular village but to the entire area subject to Donnacona (the chief at Stadacona) [13] by 1545, European books and maps had begun referring to this small region along the Saint Lawrence River as Canada. [13]

From the 16th to the early 18th century "Canada" referred to the part of New France that lay along the Saint Lawrence River. [14] In 1791, the area became two British colonies called Upper Canada and Lower Canada collectively named the Canadas until their union as the British Province of Canada in 1841. [15]

Upon Confederation in 1867, Canada was adopted as the legal name for the new country at the London Conference, and the word Dominion was conferred as the country's title. [16] By the 1950s, the term Dominion of Canada was no longer used by the United Kingdom, which considered Canada a "Realm of the Commonwealth". [17] The government of Louis St. Laurent ended the practice of using Dominion in the statutes of Canada in 1951. [18] [19]

In 1982, the passage of the Canada Act, bringing the Constitution of Canada fully under Canadian control, referred only to Canada, while later that year the name of the national holiday was changed from Dominion Day to Canada Day. [20] The term Dominion was used to distinguish the federal government from the provinces, though after the Second World War the term federal had replaced dominion. [21]

Indigenous peoples

Indigenous peoples in present-day Canada include the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis, [22] the last being a mixed-blood people who originated in the mid-17th century when First Nations people married European settlers and subsequently developed their own identity. [22]

The first inhabitants of North America are generally hypothesized to have migrated from Siberia by way of the Bering land bridge and arrived at least 14,000 years ago. [23] [24] The Paleo-Indian archeological sites at Old Crow Flats and Bluefish Caves are two of the oldest sites of human habitation in Canada. [25] The characteristics of Indigenous societies included permanent settlements, agriculture, complex societal hierarchies, and trading networks. [26] [27] Some of these cultures had collapsed by the time European explorers arrived in the late 15th and early 16th centuries and have only been discovered through archeological investigations. [28]

The Indigenous population at the time of the first European settlements is estimated to have been between 200,000 [29] and two million, [30] with a figure of 500,000 accepted by Canada's Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. [31] As a consequence of European colonization, the Indigenous population declined by forty to eighty percent, and several First Nations, such as the Beothuk, disappeared. [32] The decline is attributed to several causes, including the transfer of European diseases, such as influenza, measles, and smallpox to which they had no natural immunity, [29] [33] conflicts over the fur trade, conflicts with the colonial authorities and settlers, and the loss of Indigenous lands to settlers and the subsequent collapse of several nations' self-sufficiency. [34] [35]

Although not without conflict, European Canadians' early interactions with First Nations and Inuit populations were relatively peaceful. [36] First Nations and Métis peoples played a critical part in the development of European colonies in Canada, particularly for their role in assisting European coureur des bois and voyageurs in the exploration of the continent during the North American fur trade. [37] The Crown and Indigenous peoples began interactions during the European colonization period, though the Inuit, in general, had more limited interaction with European settlers. [38] However, from the late 18th century, European Canadians encouraged Indigenous peoples to assimilate into their own culture. [39] These attempts reached a climax in the late 19th and early 20th centuries with forced integration and relocations. [40] A period of redress is underway, which started with the appointment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada by the Government of Canada in 2008. [41]

European colonization

It is believed that the first European to explore the east coast of Canada was Norse explorer Leif Erikson. [42] [43] In approximately 1000 AD, the Norse built a small encampment that only lasted a few years at L'Anse aux Meadows on the northern tip of Newfoundland. [44] No further European exploration occurred until 1497, when Italian seafarer John Cabot explored and claimed Canada's Atlantic coast in the name of King Henry VII of England. [45] In 1534, French explorer Jacques Cartier explored the Gulf of Saint Lawrence where, on July 24, he planted a 10-metre (33 ft) cross bearing the words "Long Live the King of France" and took possession of the territory New France in the name of King Francis I. [46] The early 16th century saw European mariners with navigational techniques pioneered by the Basque and Portuguese establish seasonal whaling and fishing outposts along the Atlantic coast. [47] In general, early settlements during the Age of Discovery appear to have been short-lived due to a combination of the harsh climate, problems with navigating trade routes and competing outputs in Scandinavia. [48] [49]

In 1583, Sir Humphrey Gilbert, by the royal prerogative of Queen Elizabeth I, founded St. John's, Newfoundland, as the first North American English seasonal camp. [50] In 1600, the French established their first seasonal trading post at Tadoussac along the Saint Lawrence. [44] French explorer Samuel de Champlain arrived in 1603 and established the first permanent year-round European settlements at Port Royal (in 1605) and Quebec City (in 1608). [51] Among the colonists of New France, Canadiens extensively settled the Saint Lawrence River valley and Acadians settled the present-day Maritimes, while fur traders and Catholic missionaries explored the Great Lakes, Hudson Bay, and the Mississippi watershed to Louisiana. [52] The Beaver Wars broke out in the mid-17th century over control of the North American fur trade. [53]

The English established additional settlements in Newfoundland, beginning in 1610 and the Thirteen Colonies to the south were founded soon after. [54] [55] A series of four wars erupted in colonial North America between 1689 and 1763 the later wars of the period constituted the North American theatre of the Seven Years' War. [56] Mainland Nova Scotia came under British rule with the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht, and Canada and most of New France came under British rule in 1763 after the Seven Years' War. [57]

British North America

The Royal Proclamation of 1763 established First Nation treaty rights, created the Province of Quebec out of New France, and annexed Cape Breton Island to Nova Scotia. [20] St. John's Island (now Prince Edward Island) became a separate colony in 1769. [58] To avert conflict in Quebec, the British Parliament passed the Quebec Act 1774, expanding Quebec's territory to the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley. [59] More importantly, the Quebec Act afforded Quebec special autonomy and rights of self-administration at a time when the Thirteen Colonies were increasingly agitating against British rule. [60] It re-established the French language, Catholic faith, and French civil law there, staving off the growth of an independence movement in contrast to the Thirteen Colonies. [61] The Proclamation and the Quebec Act in turn angered many residents of the Thirteen Colonies, further fuelling anti-British sentiment in the years prior to the American Revolution. [20]

After the successful American War of Independence, the 1783 Treaty of Paris recognized the independence of the newly formed United States and set the terms of peace, ceding British North American territories south of the Great Lakes and east of the Mississippi River to the new country. [62] The American war of independence also caused a large out-migration of Loyalists, the settlers who had fought against American independence. Many moved to Canada, particularly Atlantic Canada, where their arrival changed the demographic distribution of the existing territories. New Brunswick was in turn split from Nova Scotia as part of a reorganization of Loyalist settlements in the Maritimes which led to the incorporation of Saint John, New Brunswick to become Canada's first city. [63] To accommodate the influx of English-speaking Loyalists in Central Canada, the Constitutional Act of 1791 divided the province of Canada into French-speaking Lower Canada (later Quebec) and English-speaking Upper Canada (later Ontario), granting each its own elected legislative assembly. [64]

The Canadas were the main front in the War of 1812 between the United States and the United Kingdom. Peace came in 1815 no boundaries were changed. [65] Immigration resumed at a higher level, with over 960,000 arrivals from Britain between 1815 and 1850. [66] New arrivals included refugees escaping the Great Irish Famine as well as Gaelic-speaking Scots displaced by the Highland Clearances. [67] Infectious diseases killed between 25 and 33 percent of Europeans who immigrated to Canada before 1891. [29]

The desire for responsible government resulted in the abortive Rebellions of 1837. [68] The Durham Report subsequently recommended responsible government and the assimilation of French Canadians into English culture. [20] The Act of Union 1840 merged the Canadas into a united Province of Canada and responsible government was established for all provinces of British North America by 1849. [69] The signing of the Oregon Treaty by Britain and the United States in 1846 ended the Oregon boundary dispute, extending the border westward along the 49th parallel. This paved the way for British colonies on Vancouver Island (1849) and in British Columbia (1858). [70] The Alaska Purchase of 1867 by the United States established the border along the Pacific coast, although there would continue to be some disputes about the exact demarcation of the Alaska–Yukon and Alaska–BC border for years to come. [71]

Confederation and expansion

Following several constitutional conferences, the British North America Act 1867 officially proclaimed Canadian Confederation on July 1, 1867, initially with four provinces: Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. [72] [73] Canada assumed control of Rupert's Land and the North-Western Territory to form the Northwest Territories, where the Métis' grievances ignited the Red River Rebellion and the creation of the province of Manitoba in July 1870. [74] British Columbia and Vancouver Island (which had been united in 1866) joined the confederation in 1871 on the promise of a transcontinental railway extending to Victoria in the province within 10 years, [75] while Prince Edward Island joined in 1873. [76] In 1898, during the Klondike Gold Rush in the Northwest Territories, Parliament created the Yukon Territory. Alberta and Saskatchewan became provinces in 1905. [76] Between 1871 and 1896, almost one quarter of the Canadian population emigrated southwards, to the U.S. [77]

To open the West and encourage European immigration, Parliament approved sponsoring the construction of three transcontinental railways (including the Canadian Pacific Railway), opening the prairies to settlement with the Dominion Lands Act, and establishing the North-West Mounted Police to assert its authority over this territory. [78] [79] This period of westward expansion and nation building resulted in the displacement of many Indigenous peoples of the Canadian Prairies to "Indian reserves", [80] clearing the way for ethnic European block settlements. [81] This caused the collapse of the Plains Bison in western Canada and the introduction of European cattle farms and wheat fields dominating the land. [82] The Indigenous peoples saw widespread famine and disease due to the loss of the bison and their traditional hunting lands. [83] The federal government did provide emergency relief, on condition of the Indigenous peoples moving to the reserves. [84] During this time, Canada introduced the Indian Act extending its control over the First Nations to education, government and legal rights. [85]

Early 20th century

Because Britain still maintained control of Canada's foreign affairs under the British North America Act, 1867, its declaration of war in 1914 automatically brought Canada into World War I. [86] Volunteers sent to the Western Front later became part of the Canadian Corps, which played a substantial role in the Battle of Vimy Ridge and other major engagements of the war. [87] Out of approximately 625,000 Canadians who served in World War I, some 60,000 were killed and another 172,000 were wounded. [88] The Conscription Crisis of 1917 erupted when the Unionist Cabinet's proposal to augment the military's dwindling number of active members with conscription was met with vehement objections from French-speaking Quebecers. [89] The Military Service Act brought in compulsory military service, though it, coupled with disputes over French language schools outside Quebec, deeply alienated Francophone Canadians and temporarily split the Liberal Party. [89] In 1919, Canada joined the League of Nations independently of Britain, [87] and the Statute of Westminster 1931 affirmed Canada's independence. [90]

The Great Depression in Canada during the early 1930s saw an economic downturn, leading to hardship across the country. [91] In response to the downturn, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) in Saskatchewan introduced many elements of a welfare state (as pioneered by Tommy Douglas) in the 1940s and 1950s. [92] On the advice of Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, war with Germany was declared effective September 10, 1939, by King George VI, seven days after the United Kingdom. The delay underscored Canada's independence. [87]

The first Canadian Army units arrived in Britain in December 1939. In all, over a million Canadians served in the armed forces during World War II and approximately 42,000 were killed and another 55,000 were wounded. [93] Canadian troops played important roles in many key battles of the war, including the failed 1942 Dieppe Raid, the Allied invasion of Italy, the Normandy landings, the Battle of Normandy, and the Battle of the Scheldt in 1944. [87] Canada provided asylum for the Dutch monarchy while that country was occupied and is credited by the Netherlands for major contributions to its liberation from Nazi Germany. [94]

The Canadian economy boomed during the war as its industries manufactured military materiel for Canada, Britain, China, and the Soviet Union. [87] Despite another Conscription Crisis in Quebec in 1944, Canada finished the war with a large army and strong economy. [95]

Contemporary era

The financial crisis of the Great Depression had led the Dominion of Newfoundland to relinquish responsible government in 1934 and become a Crown colony ruled by a British governor. [96] After two referendums, Newfoundlanders voted to join Canada in 1949 as a province. [97]

Canada's post-war economic growth, combined with the policies of successive Liberal governments, led to the emergence of a new Canadian identity, marked by the adoption of the Maple Leaf Flag in 1965, [98] the implementation of official bilingualism (English and French) in 1969, [99] and the institution of official multiculturalism in 1971. [100] Socially democratic programs were also instituted, such as Medicare, the Canada Pension Plan, and Canada Student Loans, though provincial governments, particularly Quebec and Alberta, opposed many of these as incursions into their jurisdictions. [101]

Finally, another series of constitutional conferences resulted in the UK's Canada Act 1982, the patriation of Canada's constitution from the United Kingdom, concurrent with the creation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. [102] [103] [104] Canada had established complete sovereignty as an independent country, although the monarch is retained as sovereign. [105] [106] In 1999, Nunavut became Canada's third territory after a series of negotiations with the federal government. [107]

At the same time, Quebec underwent profound social and economic changes through the Quiet Revolution of the 1960s, giving birth to a secular nationalist movement. [108] The radical Front de libération du Québec (FLQ) ignited the October Crisis with a series of bombings and kidnappings in 1970 [109] and the sovereignist Parti Québécois was elected in 1976, organizing an unsuccessful referendum on sovereignty-association in 1980. Attempts to accommodate Quebec nationalism constitutionally through the Meech Lake Accord failed in 1990. [110] This led to the formation of the Bloc Québécois in Quebec and the invigoration of the Reform Party of Canada in the West. [111] [112] A second referendum followed in 1995, in which sovereignty was rejected by a slimmer margin of 50.6 to 49.4 percent. [113] In 1997, the Supreme Court ruled unilateral secession by a province would be unconstitutional and the Clarity Act was passed by parliament, outlining the terms of a negotiated departure from Confederation. [110]

In addition to the issues of Quebec sovereignty, a number of crises shook Canadian society in the late 1980s and early 1990s. These included the explosion of Air India Flight 182 in 1985, the largest mass murder in Canadian history [114] the École Polytechnique massacre in 1989, a university shooting targeting female students [115] and the Oka Crisis of 1990, [116] the first of a number of violent confrontations between the government and Indigenous groups. [117] Canada also joined the Gulf War in 1990 as part of a United States–led coalition force and was active in several peacekeeping missions in the 1990s, including the UNPROFOR mission in the former Yugoslavia. [118]

Canada sent troops to Afghanistan in 2001, but declined to join the United States–led invasion of Iraq in 2003. [119] In 2011, Canadian forces participated in the NATO-led intervention into the Libyan Civil War, [120] and also became involved in battling the Islamic State insurgency in Iraq in the mid-2010s. [121] The COVID-19 pandemic in Canada began on January 27, 2020 with wide social and economic disruption. [122]

By total area (including its waters), Canada is the second-largest country in the world, after Russia. [123] By land area alone, however, Canada ranks fourth, due to having the world's largest proportion of fresh water lakes. [124] Stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the east, along the Arctic Ocean to the north, and to the Pacific Ocean in the west, the country encompasses 9,984,670 km 2 (3,855,100 sq mi) of territory. [125] Canada also has vast maritime terrain, with the world's longest coastline of 243,042 kilometres (151,019 mi). [126] [127] In addition to sharing the world's largest land border with the United States—spanning 8,891 km (5,525 mi)—Canada shares a maritime boundary with Greenland to the northeast and with the France's overseas collectivity of Saint Pierre and Miquelon to the southeast. [128] Canada is also home to the world's northernmost settlement, Canadian Forces Station Alert, on the northern tip of Ellesmere Island—latitude 82.5°N—which lies 817 kilometres (508 mi) from the North Pole. [129]

The physical geography of Canada is widely varied. Boreal forests prevail throughout the country, ice is prominent in northern Arctic regions and through the Rocky Mountains, and the relatively flat Canadian Prairies in the southwest facilitate productive agriculture. [125] The Great Lakes feed the St. Lawrence River (in the southeast) where the lowlands host much of Canada's economic output. [125] Canada has over 2,000,000 lakes—563 of which are greater than 100 km 2 (39 sq mi)—containing much of the world's fresh water. [130] [131] There are also fresh-water glaciers in the Canadian Rockies, the Coast Mountains and the Arctic Cordillera. [132] Canada is geologically active, having many earthquakes and potentially active volcanoes, notably Mount Meager massif, Mount Garibaldi, Mount Cayley massif, and the Mount Edziza volcanic complex. [133]

Biodiversity

Canada is divided into fifteen terrestrial and five marine ecozones. [134] These ecozones encompass over 80,000 classified species of Canadian wildlife, with an equal number yet to be formally recognized or discovered. [135] Due to human activities, invasive species and environmental issues in the country, there are currently more than 800 species at risk of being lost. [136] Over half of Canada's landscape is intact and relatively free of human development. [137] The boreal forest of Canada is considered to be the largest intact forest on Earth, with approximately 3,000,000 km 2 (1,200,000 sq mi) undisturbed by roads, cities or industry. [138] Since the end of the last glacial period, Canada has consisted of eight distinct forest regions, [139] with 42 percent of its land area covered by forests (approximately 8 percent of the world's forested land). [140]

Approximately 12.1 percent of the nation's landmass and freshwater are conservation areas, including 11.4 percent designated as protected areas. [141] Approximately 13.8 percent of its territorial waters are conserved, including 8.9 percent designated as protected areas. [141] Canada's first National Park, Banff National Park established in 1885, spans 6,641 square kilometres (2,564 sq mi) [142] of mountainous terrain, with many glaciers and ice fields, dense coniferous forest, and alpine landscapes. [143] Canada's oldest provincial park, Algonquin Provincial Park established in 1893, covers an area of 7,653.45 square kilometres (2,955.01 sq mi) is dominated by old-growth forest with over 2,400 lakes and 1,200 kilometres of streams and rivers. [144] Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area is the world's largest freshwater protected area spanning roughly 10,000 square kilometres (3,900 sq mi) of lakebed, its overlaying freshwater, and associated shoreline on 60 square kilometres (23 sq mi) of islands and mainland's. [145] Canada's largest national wildlife region is the Scott Islands Marine National Wildlife Area, which spans 11,570.65 square kilometres (4,467.45 sq mi), [146] protects critical breeding and nesting habitat for over 40 percent of British Columbia's seabirds. [147] Canada's 18 UNESCO Biosphere Reserves cover a total area of 235,000 square kilometres (91,000 sq mi). [148]

Climate

Average winter and summer high temperatures across Canada vary from region to region. Winters can be harsh in many parts of the country, particularly in the interior and Prairie provinces, which experience a continental climate, where daily average temperatures are near −15 °C (5 °F), but can drop below −40 °C (−40 °F) with severe wind chills. [149] In non-coastal regions, snow can cover the ground for almost six months of the year, while in parts of the north snow can persist year-round. Coastal British Columbia has a temperate climate, with a mild and rainy winter. On the east and west coasts, average high temperatures are generally in the low 20s °C (70s °F), while between the coasts, the average summer high temperature ranges from 25 to 30 °C (77 to 86 °F), with temperatures in some interior locations occasionally exceeding 40 °C (104 °F). [150]

Much of Northern Canada is covered by ice and permafrost however, the future of the permafrost is uncertain because the Arctic has been warming at three times the global average as a result of climate change in Canada. [151] Canada's annual average temperature over land has warmed by 1.7 °C (3.1 °F), with changes ranging from 1.1 to 2.3 °C (2.0 to 4.1 °F) in various regions, since 1948. [152] The rate of warming has been higher across the North and in the Prairies. [152] In the southern regions of Canada, air pollution from both Canada and the United States—caused by metal smelting, burning coal to power utilities, and vehicle emissions—has resulted in acid rain, which has severely impacted waterways, forest growth and agricultural productivity in Canada. [153]

Canada is described as a "full democracy", [154] with a tradition of liberalism, [155] and an egalitarian, [156] moderate political ideology. [157] An emphasis on social justice has been a distinguishing element of Canada's political culture. [158] Peace, order, and good government, alongside an implied bill of rights are founding principles of the Canadian government. [159] [160]

At the federal level, Canada has been dominated by two relatively centrist parties practising "brokerage politics", [a] the centre-left leaning Liberal Party of Canada and the centre-right leaning Conservative Party of Canada (or its predecessors). [167] The historically predominant Liberal Party position themselves at the centre of the Canadian political spectrum, [168] with the Conservative Party positioned on the right and the New Democratic Party occupying the left. [169] [170] Far-right and far-left politics have never been a prominent force in Canadian society. [171] [172] Five parties had representatives elected to the Parliament in the 2019 election—the Liberal Party, who currently form a minority government the Conservative Party, who are the Official Opposition the New Democratic Party the Bloc Québécois and the Green Party of Canada. [173]

Canada has a parliamentary system within the context of a constitutional monarchy—the monarchy of Canada being the foundation of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. [174] [175] [176] The reigning monarch is Queen Elizabeth II , who is also monarch of 15 other Commonwealth countries and each of Canada's 10 provinces. The person who is the Canadian monarch is the same as the British monarch, although the two institutions are separate. [177] The monarch appoints a representative, the governor general, with the advice of the prime minister, to carry out most of her federal royal duties in Canada. [178] [179]

While the monarchy is the source of authority in Canada, in practice its position is mainly symbolic. [176] [180] [181] In practice, the use of the executive powers is directed by the Cabinet, a committee of ministers of the Crown responsible to the elected House of Commons and chosen and headed by the prime minister (at present Justin Trudeau), [182] the head of government. The governor general or monarch may, though, in certain crisis situations exercise their power without ministerial advice. [180] To ensure the stability of government, the governor general will usually appoint as prime minister the individual who is the current leader of the political party that can obtain the confidence of a plurality in the House of Commons. [183] The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) is thus one of the most powerful institutions in government, initiating most legislation for parliamentary approval and selecting for appointment by the Crown, besides the aforementioned, the governor general, lieutenant governors, senators, federal court judges, and heads of Crown corporations and government agencies. [180] The leader of the party with the second-most seats usually becomes the leader of the Official Opposition and is part of an adversarial parliamentary system intended to keep the government in check. [184]

Each of the 338 members of Parliament in the House of Commons is elected by simple plurality in an electoral district or riding. General elections must be called by the governor general, either on the advice of the prime minister or if the government loses a confidence vote in the House. [185] [186] The Constitution Act, 1982 requires that no more than five years pass between elections, although the Canada Elections Act limits this to four years with a fixed election date in October. The 105 members of the Senate, whose seats are apportioned on a regional basis, serve until age 75. [187]

Canada's federal structure divides government responsibilities between the federal government and the ten provinces. Provincial legislatures are unicameral and operate in parliamentary fashion similar to the House of Commons. [181] Canada's three territories also have legislatures, but these are not sovereign and have fewer constitutional responsibilities than the provinces. [188] The territorial legislatures also differ structurally from their provincial counterparts. [189]

The Bank of Canada is the central bank of the country. In addition, the minister of finance and minister of innovation, science and industry utilize the Statistics Canada agency for financial planning and economic policy development. [190] The Bank of Canada is the sole authority authorized to issue currency in the form of Canadian bank notes. [191] The bank does not issue Canadian coins they are issued by the Royal Canadian Mint. [192]

The Constitution of Canada is the supreme law of the country, and consists of written text and unwritten conventions. [193] The Constitution Act, 1867 (known as the British North America Act prior to 1982), affirmed governance based on parliamentary precedent and divided powers between the federal and provincial governments. [194] The Statute of Westminster 1931 granted full autonomy, and the Constitution Act, 1982 ended all legislative ties to Britain, as well as adding a constitutional amending formula and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. [195] The Charter guarantees basic rights and freedoms that usually cannot be over-ridden by any government—though a notwithstanding clause allows Parliament and the provincial legislatures to override certain sections of the Charter for a period of five years. [196]

Canada's judiciary plays an important role in interpreting laws and has the power to strike down Acts of Parliament that violate the constitution. The Supreme Court of Canada is the highest court and final arbiter and has been led since December 18, 2017 by Richard Wagner, the chief justice of Canada. [197] Its nine members are appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister and minister of justice. All judges at the superior and appellate levels are appointed after consultation with non-governmental legal bodies. The federal Cabinet also appoints justices to superior courts in the provincial and territorial jurisdictions. [198]

Common law prevails everywhere except in Quebec, where civil law predominates. [199] Criminal law is solely a federal responsibility and is uniform throughout Canada. [200] Law enforcement, including criminal courts, is officially a provincial responsibility, conducted by provincial and municipal police forces. [201] However, in most rural areas and some urban areas, policing responsibilities are contracted to the federal Royal Canadian Mounted Police. [202]

Canadian Aboriginal law provides certain constitutionally recognized rights to land and traditional practices for Indigenous groups in Canada. [203] Various treaties and case laws were established to mediate relations between Europeans and many Indigenous peoples. [204] Most notably, a series of eleven treaties known as the Numbered Treaties were signed between the Indigenous peoples and the reigning monarch of Canada between 1871 and 1921. [205] These treaties are agreements between the Canadian Crown-in-Council with the duty to consult and accommodate. [206] The role of Aboriginal law and the rights they support were reaffirmed by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982. [204] These rights may include provision of services, such as health care through the Indian Health Transfer Policy, and exemption from taxation. [207]

Foreign relations and military

Canada is recognized as a middle power for its role in international affairs with a tendency to pursue multilateral solutions. [208] Canada's foreign policy based on international peacekeeping and security is carried out through coalitions and international organizations, and through the work of numerous federal institutions. [209] [210] Canada's peacekeeping role during the 20th century has played a major role in its global image. [211] [212] The strategy of the Canadian government's foreign aid policy reflects an emphasis to meet the Millennium Development Goals, while also providing assistance in response to foreign humanitarian crises. [213]

Canada was a founding member of the United Nations and has membership in the World Trade Organization, the G20 and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). [208] Canada is also a member of various other international and regional organizations and forums for economic and cultural affairs. [214] Canada acceded to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in 1976. [215] Canada joined the Organization of American States (OAS) in 1990 and hosted the OAS General Assembly in 2000 and the 3rd Summit of the Americas in 2001. [216] Canada seeks to expand its ties to Pacific Rim economies through membership in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC). [217]

Canada and the United States share the world's longest undefended border, co-operate on military campaigns and exercises, and are each other's largest trading partner. [218] [219] Canada nevertheless has an independent foreign policy, most notably maintaining full relations with Cuba, and declining to officially participate in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. [220] Canada also maintains historic ties to the United Kingdom and France and to other former British and French colonies through Canada's membership in the Commonwealth of Nations and the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie. [221] Canada is noted for having a positive relationship with the Netherlands, owing, in part, to its contribution to the Dutch liberation during World War II. [94]

Canada's strong attachment to the British Empire and Commonwealth led to major participation in British military efforts in the Second Boer War, World War I and World War II. [222] Since then, Canada has been an advocate for multilateralism, making efforts to resolve global issues in collaboration with other nations. [223] [224] During the Cold War, Canada was a major contributor to UN forces in the Korean War and founded the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) in cooperation with the United States to defend against potential aerial attacks from the Soviet Union. [225]

During the Suez Crisis of 1956, future prime minister Lester B. Pearson eased tensions by proposing the inception of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force, for which he was awarded the 1957 Nobel Peace Prize. [226] As this was the first UN peacekeeping mission, Pearson is often credited as the inventor of the concept. [227] Canada has since served in over 50 peacekeeping missions, including every UN peacekeeping effort until 1989, [87] and has since maintained forces in international missions in Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia, and elsewhere Canada has sometimes faced controversy over its involvement in foreign countries, notably in the 1993 Somalia affair. [228]

In 2001, Canada deployed troops to Afghanistan as part of the U.S. stabilization force and the UN-authorized, NATO-led International Security Assistance Force. [229] In February 2007, Canada, Italy, the United Kingdom, Norway, and Russia announced their joint commitment to a $1.5-billion project to help develop vaccines for developing nations, and called on other countries to join them. [230] In August 2007, Canada's territorial claims in the Arctic were challenged after a Russian underwater expedition to the North Pole Canada has considered that area to be sovereign territory since 1925. [231] In September 2020, Canada joined the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) program, which aims to ensure equal access to a potential COVID-19 vaccine for all member countries and to help lower-income countries secure doses. [232]

The nation employs a professional, volunteer military force of approximately 79,000 active personnel and 32,250 reserve personnel. [233] The unified Canadian Forces (CF) comprise the Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Navy, and Royal Canadian Air Force. In 2013, Canada's military expenditure totalled approximately CA$19 billion , or around one percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP). [234] [235] Following the 2016 Defence Policy Review, called "Strong, Secure, Engaged", the Canadian government announced a 70 percent increase to the country's defence budget over the next decade. [236] The Canadian Forces will acquire 88 fighter planes and 15 naval surface combatants based on the Type 26 frigate design, the latter as part of the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy. [237] [238] Canada's total military expenditure is expected to reach CA$32.7 billion by 2027. [239] Canada's military currently has over 3000 personnel deployed overseas, including in Iraq, Ukraine, and the Caribbean Sea. [240]

Provinces and territories

Canada is a federation composed of ten provinces and three territories. In turn, these may be grouped into four main regions: Western Canada, Central Canada, Atlantic Canada, and Northern Canada (Eastern Canada refers to Central Canada and Atlantic Canada together). [241] Provinces have more autonomy than territories, having responsibility for social programs such as health care, education, and welfare. [242] Together, the provinces collect more revenue than the federal government, an almost unique structure among federations in the world. Using its spending powers, the federal government can initiate national policies in provincial areas, such as the Canada Health Act the provinces can opt out of these, but rarely do so in practice. Equalization payments are made by the federal government to ensure reasonably uniform standards of services and taxation are kept between the richer and poorer provinces. [243]

The major difference between a Canadian province and a territory is that provinces receive their power and authority from the Constitution Act, 1867, whereas territorial governments have powers delegated to them by the Parliament of Canada. [244] The powers flowing from the Constitution Act, 1867 are divided between the federal government and the provincial governments to exercise exclusively. [245] As the division of powers between the federal government and the provinces are defined in the constitution, any changes require a constitutional amendment. The territories, being creatures of the federal government, changes to their role and division of powers may be performed unilaterally by the Parliament of Canada. [246]

Canada is the world's tenth-largest economy as of 2018 [update] , with a nominal GDP of approximately US$1.73 trillion. [247] It is one of the least corrupt countries in the world, [248] and is one of the world's top ten trading nations, with a highly globalized economy. [249] [250] Canada has a mixed economy ranking above the U.S. and most western European nations on The Heritage Foundation's Index of Economic Freedom, [251] and experiencing a relatively low level of income disparity. [252] The country's average household disposable income per capita is "well above" the OECD average. [253] The Toronto Stock Exchange is the ninth-largest stock exchange in the world by market capitalization, listing over 1,500 companies with a combined market capitalization of over US$2 trillion. [254]

In 2018, Canadian trade in goods and services reached CA$1.5 trillion. [255] Canada's exports totalled over CA$585 billion, while its imported goods were worth over CA$607 billion, of which approximately CA$391 billion originated from the United States, CA$216 billion from non-U.S. sources. [255] In 2018, Canada had a trade deficit in goods of CA$22 billion and a trade deficit in services of CA$25 billion. [255]

Since the early 20th century, the growth of Canada's manufacturing, mining, and service sectors has transformed the nation from a largely rural economy to an urbanized, industrial one. [256] Like many other developed countries, the Canadian economy is dominated by the service industry, which employs about three-quarters of the country's workforce. [257] However, Canada is unusual among developed countries in the importance of its primary sector, in which the forestry and petroleum industries are two of the most prominent components. [258]

Canada's economic integration with the United States has increased significantly since World War II. [260] The Automotive Products Trade Agreement of 1965 opened Canada's borders to trade in the automobile manufacturing industry. [261] In the 1970s, concerns over energy self-sufficiency and foreign ownership in the manufacturing sectors prompted Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau's Liberal government to enact the National Energy Program (NEP) and the Foreign Investment Review Agency (FIRA). [262] In the 1980s, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney's Progressive Conservatives abolished the NEP and changed the name of FIRA to Investment Canada, to encourage foreign investment. [263] The Canada – United States Free Trade Agreement (FTA) of 1988 eliminated tariffs between the two countries, while the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) expanded the free-trade zone to include Mexico in 1994 (later replaced by the Canada–United States–Mexico Agreement). [264] Canada has a strong cooperative banking sector, with the world's highest per-capita membership in credit unions. [265]

Canada is one of the few developed nations that are net exporters of energy. [258] [266] Atlantic Canada possesses vast offshore deposits of natural gas, and Alberta also hosts large oil and gas resources. The vastness of the Athabasca oil sands and other assets results in Canada having a 13 percent share of global oil reserves, comprising the world's third-largest share after Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. [267] Canada is additionally one of the world's largest suppliers of agricultural products the Canadian Prairies are one of the most important global producers of wheat, canola, and other grains. [268] The federal Department of Natural Resources provides statistics regarding its major exports the country is a leading exporter of zinc, uranium, gold, nickel, platinoids, aluminum, steel, iron ore, coking coal, lead, copper, molybdenum, cobalt, and cadmium. [269] Many towns in northern Canada, where agriculture is difficult, are sustainable because of nearby mines or sources of timber. Canada also has a sizeable manufacturing sector centred in southern Ontario and Quebec, with automobiles and aeronautics representing particularly important industries. [270]

Science and technology

In 2018, Canada spent approximately CA$34.5 billion on domestic research and development, of which around $7 billion was provided by the federal and provincial governments. [271] As of 2020 [update] , the country has produced fifteen Nobel laureates in physics, chemistry, and medicine, [272] and was ranked fourth worldwide for scientific research quality in a major 2012 survey of international scientists. [273] It is furthermore home to the headquarters of a number of global technology firms. [274] Canada has one of the highest levels of Internet access in the world, with over 33 million users, equivalent to around 94 percent of its total 2014 population. [275]

Some of the most notable scientific developments in Canada include the creation of the modern alkaline battery [276] and the polio vaccine [277] and discoveries about the interior structure of the atomic nucleus. [278] Other major Canadian scientific contributions include the artificial cardiac pacemaker, mapping the visual cortex, [279] [280] the development of the electron microscope, [281] [282] plate tectonics, deep learning, multi-touch technology and the identification of the first black hole, Cygnus X-1. [283] Canada has a long history of discovery in genetics, which include stem cells, site-directed mutagenesis, T-cell receptor and the identification of the genes that cause Fanconi anemia, cystic fibrosis and early-onset Alzheimer's disease, among numerous other diseases. [280] [284]

The Canadian Space Agency operates a highly active space program, conducting deep-space, planetary, and aviation research, and developing rockets and satellites. [285] Canada was the third country to design and construct a satellite after the Soviet Union and the United States, with the 1962 Alouette 1 launch. [286] Canada is a participant in the International Space Station (ISS), and is a pioneer in space robotics, having constructed the Canadarm, Canadarm2 and Dextre robotic manipulators for the ISS and NASA's Space Shuttle. [287] Since the 1960s, Canada's aerospace industry has designed and built numerous marques of satellite, including Radarsat-1 and 2, ISIS and MOST. [288] Canada has also produced one of the world's most successful and widely used sounding rockets, the Black Brant over 1,000 Black Brants have been launched since the rocket's introduction in 1961. [289]

The 2016 Canadian Census enumerated a total population of 35,151,728, an increase of around 5.0 percent over the 2011 figure. [291] [292] Between 2011 and May 2016, Canada's population grew by 1.7 million people, with immigrants accounting for two-thirds of the increase. [293] Between 1990 and 2008, the population increased by 5.6 million, equivalent to 20.4 percent overall growth. [294] The main drivers of population growth are immigration and, to a lesser extent, natural growth. [295]

Canada has one of the highest per-capita immigration rates in the world, [296] driven mainly by economic policy and also family reunification. [297] [298] The Canadian public, as well as the major political parties, support the current level of immigration. [297] [299] In 2019, a total of 341,180 immigrants were admitted to Canada, mainly from Asia. [300] India, Philippines and China are the top three countries of origin for immigrants moving to Canada. [301] New immigrants settle mostly in major urban areas such as Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. [302] Canada also accepts large numbers of refugees, accounting for over 10 percent of annual global refugee resettlements it resettled more than 28,000 in 2018. [303] [304]

Canada's population density, at 3.7 inhabitants per square kilometre (9.6/sq mi), is among the lowest in the world. [305] Canada spans latitudinally from the 83rd parallel north to the 41st parallel north, and approximately 95 percent of the population is found south of the 55th parallel north. [306] About four-fifths of the population lives within 150 kilometres (93 mi) of the border with the contiguous United States. [307] The most densely populated part of the country, accounting for nearly 50 percent, is the Quebec City–Windsor Corridor in Southern Quebec and Southern Ontario along the Great Lakes and the Saint Lawrence River. [290] [306] An additional 30 percent live along the British Columbia Lower Mainland and the Calgary–Edmonton Corridor in Alberta. [308]

The majority of Canadians (67.7 percent) live in family households, 28.2 percent report living alone, and those living with unrelated persons reported at 4.1 percent. [309] 6.3 percent of households are multigenerational with 34.7 percent of young adults aged 20 to 34 living with their parents. [309] 69.0 percent of households own their dwellings with 58.6 percent of those homes having an ongoing mortgage. [310]

Health

Healthcare in Canada is delivered through the provincial and territorial systems of publicly funded health care, informally called Medicare. [312] [313] It is guided by the provisions of the Canada Health Act of 1984, [314] and is universal. [315] Universal access to publicly funded health services "is often considered by Canadians as a fundamental value that ensures national health care insurance for everyone wherever they live in the country." [316] However, 30 percent of Canadians' healthcare is paid for through the private sector. [317] This mostly goes towards services not covered or partially covered by Medicare, such as prescription drugs, dentistry and optometry. [317] Approximately 65 to 75 percent of Canadians have some form of supplementary health insurance related to the aforementioned reasons many receive it through their employers or utilizes secondary social service programs related to extended coverage for families receiving social assistance or vulnerable demographics, such as seniors, minors, and those with disabilities. [318] [317]

In common with many other developed countries, Canada is experiencing a cost increase due to a demographic shift towards an older population, with more retirees and fewer people of working age. In 2006, the average age was 39.5 years [319] within twelve years it had risen to 42.4 years, [320] with a life expectancy of 81.1 years. [321] A 2016 report by the chief public health officer found that 88 percent of Canadians, one of the highest proportions of the population among G7 countries, indicated that they "had good or very good health". [322] 80 percent of Canadian adults self-report having at least one major risk factor for chronic disease: smoking, physical inactivity, unhealthy eating or excessive alcohol use. [323] Canada has one of the highest rates of adult obesity among Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries attributing to approximately 2.7 million cases of diabetes (types 1 and 2 combined). [323] Four chronic diseases—cancer (leading cause of death), cardiovascular diseases, respiratory diseases and diabetes—account for 65 percent of deaths in Canada. [324] [325]

In 2017, the Canadian Institute for Health Information reported that healthcare spending reached $242 billion, or 11.5 percent of Canada's GDP for that year. [326] Canada's per-capita spending ranks as seventh on the list of countries by total health expenditure per capita in the OECD and above the average of 8.8 percent of GDP. [327] Canada has performed close to, or above the average on the majority of OECD health indicators since the early 2000s. [328] In 2017 Canada ranked above the average on OECD indicators for wait-times and access to care, with average scores for quality of care and use of resources. [329] A comprehensive study from 2017 of the top 11 countries ranked Canada's health care system third-to-last. [330] Identified weaknesses of Canada's system were comparatively higher infant mortality rate, the prevalence of chronic conditions, long wait times, poor availability of after-hours care, and a lack of prescription drugs and dental coverage. [330]

Education

Education in Canada is for the most part provided publicly, funded and overseen by federal, provincial, and local governments. [331] Education is within provincial jurisdiction and the curriculum is overseen by the province. [332] Education in Canada is generally divided into primary education, followed by secondary education and post-secondary. Education in both English and French is available in most places across Canada. [333] Canadian provinces and territories are responsible for education provision. [334] Canada has a large number of Universities, almost all of which are publicly funded. [335] Established in 1663, Université Laval is the oldest post-secondary institution in Canada. [336] The largest university is the University of Toronto with over 85,000 students. [337] Four universities are regularly ranked among the top 100 world-wide, namely University of Toronto, University of British Columbia, McGill University and McMaster University, with a total of 18 universities ranked in the top 500 worldwide. [338]

According to a 2019 report by the OECD, Canada is one of the most educated countries in the world [339] the country ranks first worldwide in the number of adults having tertiary education, with over 56 percent of Canadian adults having attained at least an undergraduate college or university degree. [339] Canada spends about 5.3 percent of its GDP on education. [340] The country invests heavily in tertiary education (more than US$20,000 per student). [341] As of 2014 [update] , 89 percent of adults aged 25 to 64 have earned the equivalent of a high-school degree, compared to an OECD average of 75 percent. [342]

The mandatory education age ranges between 5–7 to 16–18 years, [343] contributing to an adult literacy rate of 99 percent. [320] Just over 60,000 children are homeschooled as of 2016. In 2002, 43 percent of Canadians aged 25 to 64 possessed a post-secondary education for those aged 25 to 34, the rate of post-secondary education reached 51 percent. [344] The Programme for International Student Assessment indicates Canadian students perform well above the OECD average, particularly in mathematics, science, and reading, [345] [346] ranking the overall knowledge and skills of Canadian 15-year-olds as the sixth-best in the world. Canada is a well-performing OECD country in reading literacy, mathematics, and science with the average student scoring 523.7, compared with the OECD average of 493 in 2015. [347] [348]

Ethnicity

According to the 2016 Canadian Census, the country's largest self-reported ethnic origin is Canadian (accounting for 32 percent of the population), [b] followed by English (18.3 percent), Scottish (13.9 percent), French (13.6 percent), Irish (13.4 percent), German (9.6 percent), Chinese (5.1 percent), Italian (4.6 percent), First Nations (4.4 percent), Indian (4.0 percent), and Ukrainian (3.9 percent). [352] There are 600 recognized First Nations governments or bands, encompassing a total of 1,525,565 people. [353] The Indigenous population in Canada is growing at almost twice the national rate, and four percent of Canada's population claimed an Indigenous identity in 2006. Another 22.3 percent of the population belonged to a non-Indigenous visible minority. [354] In 2016, the largest visible minority groups were South Asian (5.6 percent), Chinese (5.1 percent) and Black (3.5 percent). [354] Between 2011 and 2016, the visible minority population rose by 18.4 percent. [354] In 1961, less than two percent of Canada's population (about 300,000 people) were members of visible minority groups. [355] Indigenous peoples are not considered a visible minority in Statistics Canada calculations. [356]

Languages

A multitude of languages are used by Canadians, with English and French (the official languages) being the mother tongues of approximately 56 percent and 21 percent of Canadians, respectively. [358] As of the 2016 Census, just over 7.3 million Canadians listed a non-official language as their mother tongue. Some of the most common non-official first languages include Chinese (1,227,680 first-language speakers), Punjabi (501,680), Spanish (458,850), Tagalog (431,385), Arabic (419,895), German (384,040), and Italian (375,645). [358] Canada's federal government practises official bilingualism, which is applied by the commissioner of official languages in consonance with section 16 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the federal Official Languages Act. English and French have equal status in federal courts, Parliament, and in all federal institutions. Citizens have the right, where there is sufficient demand, to receive federal government services in either English or French and official-language minorities are guaranteed their own schools in all provinces and territories. [359]

The 1977 Charter of the French Language established French as the official language of Quebec. [360] Although more than 85 percent of French-speaking Canadians live in Quebec, there are substantial Francophone populations in New Brunswick, Alberta, and Manitoba Ontario has the largest French-speaking population outside Quebec. [361] New Brunswick, the only officially bilingual province, has a French-speaking Acadian minority constituting 33 percent of the population. [362] There are also clusters of Acadians in southwestern Nova Scotia, on Cape Breton Island, and through central and western Prince Edward Island. [363]

Other provinces have no official languages as such, but French is used as a language of instruction, in courts, and for other government services, in addition to English. Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec allow for both English and French to be spoken in the provincial legislatures, and laws are enacted in both languages. In Ontario, French has some legal status, but is not fully co-official. [364] There are 11 Indigenous language groups, composed of more than 65 distinct languages and dialects. [365] Several Indigenous languages have official status in the Northwest Territories. [366] Inuktitut is the majority language in Nunavut, and is one of three official languages in the territory. [367]

Additionally, Canada is home to many sign languages, some of which are Indigenous. [368] American Sign Language (ASL) is spoken across the country due to the prevalence of ASL in primary and secondary schools. [369] Due to its historical relation to the francophone culture, Quebec Sign Language (LSQ) is spoken primarily in Quebec, although there are sizeable Francophone communities in New Brunswick, Ontario and Manitoba. [370]

Religion

Canada is religiously diverse, encompassing a wide range of beliefs and customs. Canada has no official church, and the government is officially committed to religious pluralism. [371] Freedom of religion in Canada is a constitutionally protected right, allowing individuals to assemble and worship without limitation or interference. [372] The practice of religion is now generally considered a private matter throughout society and the state. [373] With Christianity in decline after having once been central and integral to Canadian culture and daily life, [374] Canada has become a post-Christian, secular state. [375] [376] [377] [378] The majority of Canadians consider religion to be unimportant in their daily lives, [379] but still believe in God. [380]

According to the 2011 National Household Survey, 67.3 percent of Canadians identify as Christian of these, Roman Catholics make up the largest group, accounting for 38.7 percent of the population. Much of the remainder is made up of Protestants, who accounted for approximately 27 percent in a 2011 survey. [381] [382] The largest Protestant denomination is the United Church of Canada (accounting for 6.1 percent of Canadians), followed by the Anglican Church of Canada (5.0 percent), and various Baptist sects (1.9 percent). [3] Secularization has been growing since the 1960s. [383] [384] In 2011, 23.9 percent declared no religious affiliation, compared to 16.5 percent in 2001. [385] Islam is the largest non-Christian religion in Canada, constituting 3.2 percent of its population. It is also the fastest growing religion in Canada. [386] 1.5 percent of the Canadian population is Hindu and 1.4 percent is Sikh. [3]

Canada's culture draws influences from its broad range of constituent nationalities, and policies that promote a "just society" are constitutionally protected. [387] [388] [389] Canada has placed emphasis on equality and inclusiveness for all its people. [390] Multiculturalism is often cited as one of Canada's significant accomplishments, [391] and a key distinguishing element of Canadian identity. [392] [393] In Quebec, cultural identity is strong, and there is a French Canadian culture that is distinct from English Canadian culture. [394] However, as a whole, Canada is, in theory, a cultural mosaic—a collection of regional ethnic subcultures. [395]

Canada's approach to governance emphasizing multiculturalism, which is based on selective immigration, social integration, and suppression of far-right politics, has wide public support. [396] Government policies such as publicly funded health care, higher taxation to redistribute wealth, the outlawing of capital punishment, strong efforts to eliminate poverty, strict gun control—alongside legislation with a social liberal attitude toward women's rights (like pregnancy termination), LGBTQ rights, assisted euthanasia and cannabis use—are indicators of Canada's political and cultural values. [397] [398] [399] Canadians also identify with the country's foreign aid policies, peacekeeping roles, the National park system and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. [400] [401]

Historically, Canada has been influenced by British, French, and Indigenous cultures and traditions. Through their language, art and music, Indigenous peoples continue to influence the Canadian identity. [402] During the 20th century, Canadians with African, Caribbean and Asian nationalities have added to the Canadian identity and its culture. [403] Canadian humour is an integral part of the Canadian identity and is reflected in its folklore, literature, music, art, and media. The primary characteristics of Canadian humour are irony, parody, and satire. [404] Many Canadian comedians have achieved international success such as in the American television and film industries and are amongst the most recognized in the world. [405]

Canada has a well-developed media sector, but its cultural output—particularly in English films, television shows, and magazines—is often overshadowed by imports from the United States. [406] As a result, the preservation of a distinctly Canadian culture is supported by federal government programs, laws, and institutions such as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). [407]

Symbols

Canada's national symbols are influenced by natural, historical, and Indigenous sources. The use of the maple leaf as a Canadian symbol dates to the early 18th century. The maple leaf is depicted on Canada's current and previous flags, and on the Arms of Canada. [409] The Arms of Canada are closely modelled after the royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom with French and distinctive Canadian elements replacing or added to those derived from the British version. [410] Other prominent symbols include the national motto "A Mari Usque Ad Mare" ("From Sea to Sea"), [411] the sports of ice hockey and lacrosse, the beaver, Canada goose, common loon, Canadian horse, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canadian Rockies, [409] and more recently the totem pole and Inuksuk. [412] Material items such as Canadian beer, maple syrup, tuques, canoes, nanaimo bars, butter tarts and the Quebec dish of poutine are defined as uniquely Canadian. [412] [413] Canadian coins feature many of these symbols: the loon on the $1 coin, the Arms of Canada on the 50¢ piece, the beaver on the nickel. [414] The penny, removed from circulation in 2013, featured the maple leaf. [415] The Queen's image appears on $20 bank notes, and on the obverse of all current Canadian coins. [414]

Literature

Canadian literature is often divided into French- and English-language literatures, which are rooted in the literary traditions of France and Britain, respectively. [416] There are four major themes that can be found within historical Canadian literature nature, frontier life, Canada's position within the world, all three of which tie into the garrison mentality. [417] By the 1990s, Canadian literature was viewed as some of the world's best. [418] Canada's ethnic and cultural diversity are reflected in its literature, with many of its most prominent modern writers focusing on ethnic life. [418] Arguably, the best-known living Canadian writer internationally (especially since the deaths of Robertson Davies and Mordecai Richler) is Margaret Atwood, a prolific novelist, poet, and literary critic. [419] Numerous other Canadian authors have accumulated international literary awards, [420] including Nobel laureate Alice Munro, who has been called the best living writer of short stories in English [421] and Booker Prize recipient Michael Ondaatje, who is perhaps best known for the novel The English Patient, which was adapted as a film of the same name that won the Academy Award for Best Picture. [422]

Visual arts

Canadian visual art has been dominated by figures such as Tom Thomson – the country's most famous painter – and by the Group of Seven. [423] Thomson's career painting Canadian landscapes spanned a decade up to his death in 1917 at age 39. [424] The Group of Seven were painters with a nationalistic and idealistic focus, who first exhibited their distinctive works in May 1920. Though referred to as having seven members, five artists—Lawren Harris, A. Y. Jackson, Arthur Lismer, J. E. H. MacDonald, and Frederick Varley—were responsible for articulating the Group's ideas. They were joined briefly by Frank Johnston, and by commercial artist Franklin Carmichael. A. J. Casson became part of the Group in 1926. [425] Associated with the Group was another prominent Canadian artist, Emily Carr, known for her landscapes and portrayals of the Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast. [426] Since the 1950s, works of Inuit art have been given as gifts to foreign dignitaries by the Canadian government. [427]

Music

The Canadian music industry is the sixth-largest in the world producing internationally renowned composers, musicians and ensembles. [428] Music broadcasting in the country is regulated by the CRTC. [429] The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences presents Canada's music industry awards, the Juno Awards, which were first awarded in 1970. [430] The Canadian Music Hall of Fame established in 1976 honours Canadian musicians for their lifetime achievements. [431] Patriotic music in Canada dates back over 200 years as a distinct category from British patriotism, preceding the Canadian Confederation by over 50 years. The earliest, The Bold Canadian, was written in 1812. [432] The national anthem of Canada, "O Canada", was originally commissioned by the lieutenant governor of Quebec, Théodore Robitaille, for the 1880 St. Jean-Baptiste Day ceremony, and was officially adopted in 1980. [433] Calixa Lavallée wrote the music, which was a setting of a patriotic poem composed by the poet and judge Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier. The text was originally only in French before it was adapted into English in 1906. [434]

Sports

The roots of organized sports in Canada date back to the 1770s, [435] culminating in the development and popularization of the major professional games of ice hockey, lacrosse, basketball, baseball and football. [436] Canada's official national sports are ice hockey and lacrosse. [437] Golf, soccer, baseball, tennis, skiing, badminton, volleyball, cycling, swimming, bowling, rugby union, canoeing, equestrian, squash and the study of martial arts are widely enjoyed at the youth and amateur levels. [438]

Canada shares several major professional sports leagues with the United States. [439] Canadian teams in these leagues include seven franchises in the National Hockey League, as well as three Major League Soccer teams and one team in each of Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association. Other popular professional sports in Canada include Canadian football, which is played in the Canadian Football League, National Lacrosse League lacrosse, and curling. [440]

Canada has participated in almost every Olympic Games since its Olympic debut in 1900, [441] and has hosted several high-profile international sporting events, including the 1976 Summer Olympics, [442] the 1988 Winter Olympics, [443] the 1994 Basketball World Championship, [444] the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup, [445] the 2010 Winter Olympics [446] [447] and the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup. [448] Most recently, Canada hosted the 2015 Pan American Games and 2015 Parapan American Games in Toronto, the former being one of the largest sporting event hosted by the country. [449] The country is also scheduled to co-host the 2026 FIFA World Cup, alongside Mexico and the United States. [450]


Conservation

Canada Geese are common and increased between 1966 and 2015, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. The total North American population in 2015 was between 4.2 million to over 5.6 million. The species rates a 6 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score. It is not on the 2016 State of North America's Birds Watch List. The proliferation of lawns, golf courses, and parks offers Canada Geese such reliable habitat that in some areas the birds stay all year round instead of migrating like they used to do. Recently, some communities have had to begin considering some Canada Geese as nuisances (for eating grass or fouling lawns) or even hazards (around airports, where collisions with planes can be very dangerous). Some 2.6 million Canada Geese are harvested by hunters in North America, but this does not seem to affect its numbers.Back to top


Canada - History & Facts

Canada is the biggest country in North America. It has borders from Atlantic Ocean to Arctic Ocean. It's known that Aboriginal peoples were the first people living in area. Then in the 15th century, French and English colonialists conquered the country. After some wars, country declared Canada Act 1982.

Canada’s political structure is parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy. Head of state is now Queen Elizabeth II. Population of country is 33.4 million. Canada has territories and provinces. Main difference between them is that provinces take power from Constitution Act, 1867 but territories take power from federal government.

There are 10 provinces in Canada. They are Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Manitoba, British Columbia, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan, Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador. The biggest province of Canada is Ontario. It’s on the east-central of country. Most populour and capital city Toronto and Canada’s capital Ottawa locates in here. Ontario’s 2,700 km border locates in United States. In the last decades, people calls Ontario on two parts as Northern Ontario and Southern Ontario. Southern Ontario is the main place people choose to live in Ontario. Ontario’s climate is mainly warm. Winter is cold and summer is hot. Scottish, Irish and French migrates mostly choose to live in Ontario. At last census, population of Ontario was 12,851,821. Ontario has a strong economy and it’s the manufacturing capital of Canada.

Quebec is the second most populous province in Canada. Capital of province is Quebec City and most populous city is Montreal. Population is 7,903,001 by the last census. Especially people choose Saint Lawrence River borders to live in Quebec. French is the official language of province and it’s only one in Canada. There’s a political movement known as Quebec independence in the Canada’s political life. Canada’s government made referendums about independence but they couldn’t success. Economic power of Quebec comes from natural resources. Also province is developed on biotechnology. People of Quebec mostly speak an accent of French known as Québécois.

British Columbia is the third populous province in Canada. British Columbia is the western part of country. Victoria is the capital city of British Columbia province. Also Vancouver is on British Columbia. In the last census, population was 4,419,974. British Columbia’s economy stands on transporting. It has lots of railways and highways going to Pacific ports. Also moderate climate makes the British Columbia an important place for tourism. Most of Canada’s national parks are here. Some of them are Glacier National Park, Mount Revelstoke National Park and Kootenay National Park.

Alberta is the fourth most populous province in Canada. It’s population was 3,645,257 in 2011. Province has a little border to U.S. The capital city of Alberta is Edmonton and most populous city is Calgary. Alberta’s climate is the driest one in country. It has cold winters and hot summers. Province is one of the most important dinosaur fossils’ resources in the world.

Manitoba is the fifth most populous province in Canada. Population in last census was 1,208,268. Winnipeg is both capital and biggest city of province. Manitoba has a strong economy based on natural resources. Canadian farmland’s 12 percent locates in Manitoba.

Nova Scotia is one of the Maritime Provinces in Canada. Their capital city is Halifax. Also New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island are Maritime Provinces. Main cultural influences of provinces come from European settlements. But also it’s possible to see inspirations from historical cultures. Some colonies like British Columbia, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island joined the Canada after some referendums and other censuses.

Few Facts about Canada

1) The largest Island in Canada is Baffin Island. It is the fifth biggest island on Earth. Only two US states are bigger than Baffin Island – Alaska and Texas. Baffin Island is more than double the size of the UK and is slightly smaller than France.

2) Canada sources approximately 20 to 30% of the world’s annual uranium output. As such, Canada is the largest producer of natural uranium in the world.

3) Canada is home to the largest freshwater island in the world. Manitoulin Island, in Lake Huron, is the world’s largest island surrounded by freshwater.

4) Canada’s highest mountain is Mount Logan, 5,959 metres (19,551 ft) high. Due to tectonic activity, Mount Logan continues to gain height by an average of a few millimetres each year. Mount Logan is possibly the world’s largest mountain because its overall footprint covers a greater area than any other known mountain massif on Earth.

5) Basketball was invented by a Canadian – Dr. James Naismith. He was born on November 6, 1861 in Ramsay township, near Almonte, Ontario. His mother and father had immigrated to Canada from Scotland. On December 21st 1891, James Naismith’s class of secretaries played the first ever game of basketball. The ball was a soccer ball and the goals were two peach baskets.

6) Canada has more lake area than any other country in the world and so it should come as no surprise that roughly 20 % of the world’s freshwater is to be found in Canada.

7) Canada's largest mountain national park - Jasper National Park

8) Canada's first/oldest national park - Banff National Park

9) World's largest shopping and entertainment complex - West Edmonton Mall

10) Greatest outdoor show on earth - Calgary Stampede (Calgary)

11) One of the richest dinosaur finds in the world - Dinosaur Provincial Park


Contents

By total area (including its waters), Canada is the second-largest country in the world, after Russia. By land area alone, Canada ranks fourth. [12] It has the longest border with water (coastline) of any country in the world. It is next to the Pacific, Arctic, and Atlantic Oceans. It is the only country in the world to be next to three oceans at once. It has six time zones. [13] [14]

Canada is made up of ten provinces and three territories. The provinces are between the 45th and 60th parallels of latitude, and the territories are to the north of the 60th parallel of latitude. Most large cities in Canada are in the southern part of the country, including Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal. There are very few people living in the northern part of Canada.

Canada extends from the west coast, across the prairies and central Canada, to the Atlantic provinces. In the north there are three territories, between Alaska and Greenland: the Yukon in the west, then the Northwest Territories, then Nunavut. Four of the five Great Lakes (Superior, Huron, Erie, and Ontario) are shared between Canada and the United States (Lake Michigan is in the USA), and they make up 16% of the Earth's fresh water. The Saint Lawrence Seaway joins the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean, allowing ocean going vessels to travel as far inland as Thunder Bay in Ontario, Canada.

Canada shares land and sea borders with the USA (the lower 48 states and Alaska), Denmark (Greenland), and France (St. Pierre and Miquelon — a small group of islands off the southern coast off the island of Newfoundland).

The geography of Canada is very different from place to place, from high alpine areas in the west, flat grasslands and prairies in the centre, and ancient shield rocks in the east. Canada contains some of the very last untouched boreal forest in the world.

The Canadian Shield is a vast area of ancient Pre-Cambrian rocks lying in an arc around Hudson Bay, covering more than one third of Canada's land area. This is a unique land of lakes, bogs, swamps, trees, and rocks. It is a terrain that is very dangerous and difficult to traverse cross country because of lakes, bogs, swamps, trees, and rocks. Canada has 60% of the world's lakes.

Aboriginal peoples Edit

Indigenous peoples lived in what is now Canada for thousands of years before the first Europeans arrived. The indigenous groups are called the First Nations, the Inuit, and the Métis. [15] The Métis are people that come from both First Nations and European families. [15] Together, these three groups are called "Indigenous," "Aboriginal," or "First Peoples." They used to be called "Indians" by the Europeans, but this is now considered rude.

Many people think that the first people to live in Canada came from Siberia by using the Bering land bridge at least 14,000 years ago. The land bridge used to connect Asia and North America. [16] [17]

When European people first came to Canada to settle, the number of Indigenous people living in Canada already was between 200,000 and two million. [18] [19]

European colonization Edit

The Vikings were the first Europeans known to land in what is now called Canada, in what is now Newfoundland, led by the Viking explorer Leif Erikson. They did not stay long, however. In the early 16th century, Europeans started exploring Canada's eastern coast, beginning with John Cabot from England in 1497, and later Jacques Cartier in 1534 from France. Alexander Mackenzie later reached the Pacific coast over land, where captains James Cook and George Vancouver went by sea. The Europeans also traded beaver furs to the First Nations.

Parts of Canada were settled by France, and parts by Great Britain. In 1605, Port-Royal was built in Acadia (today called Nova Scotia) by the French, led by Samuel de Champlain, and in 1608 he started settling Quebec. The British took control of the French areas after a battle of the French and Indian War on the Plains of Abraham near Quebec City in 1759.

After the American Revolutionary War, many people in the new United States wanted to stay loyal to Britain. Thousands came north to Canada and settled in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, and Ontario. They were called United Empire Loyalists. During the War of 1812, the United States tried to conquer Canada but were defeated.

Confederation and expansion Edit

On July 1, 1867, Canada was united under a federal government. It included the provinces of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. Sir John A. Macdonald was the first prime minister. Manitoba, the Yukon territory, and the Northwest Territories became part of Canada in 1870. British Columbia joined in 1871, and Prince Edward Island in 1873.

There were two Red River Rebellions, in 1869-70 and 1885, both led by Louis Riel. He fought for more rights for the Métis people, a mix between French and First Nations. A railroad across the country, the Canadian Pacific Railway, finished in 1885, made it easier for Canadians to move to the west. Many Europeans came to the prairies, so Alberta and Saskatchewan became provinces in 1905.

Early 20th century Edit

Canadian soldiers fought in World War I for the British Empire. More Canadians died in this war than any other war. Canada became better known as a country after its success in capturing Vimy Ridge from the Germans in France in 1917. Women were given the right to vote by the end of the war, partly because of the help they gave making weapons while the men fought in Europe. In 1931, Canada became fully independent. Then the government of Canada made all decisions about Canada.

Canadians also fought in World War II. The Dieppe Raid in 1942 went very badly and most of the soldiers were killed, wounded, or taken prisoner. Canadians were important in 1944 at Normandy, and they liberated the Netherlands from the Germans.

Modern times Edit

In 1949, Newfoundland and Labrador became the 10th province of Canada. In 1956, Canadian Lester Pearson, who later became prime minister, helped end the Suez Crisis. As a result, he won the Nobel Peace Prize. In 1965, Pearson helped Canada get a new flag, the Maple Leaf. Before that, Canadians had used the Red Ensign. In 1982, Canada changed its constitution, including a new Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The main part of the Constitution is still the 1867 British North America Act.

Some French Canadians today wish to form their own country, separate from the rest of Canada. The province of Quebec held a referendum (vote) in 1980, but only about 40% wanted to separate. Another referendum was held in 1995, with almost 50% voting in favour of leaving Canada. Since then, fewer people in Quebec have wanted to leave Canada, but it is still important to Quebec politics.

Today, about 25% of Canadians speak French as their first language. Many people can speak both French and English. Although most French Canadians live in the province of Quebec, there are French-speaking communities and people all across Canada. For example, 40% of the people in the province of New Brunswick and 20% of those in Manitoba have a strong French background, as do some people in Ontario, mainly along its border with Quebec.

In 1999, Nunavut was created as Canada's third territory, out of the eastern Northwest Territories, in an agreement with the Inuit people.

Canada has a government called a constitutional monarchy. [20] It has a monarch (meaning a king or queen is the head of that country), and is a democracy (meaning the people of that country rule it). The head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, who is officially the Queen of Canada. She appoints a Governor General to represent her in the country, however, the choice of Governor General is made by the prime minister.

The Queen's powers are mostly exercised by the Governor General, currently Julie Payette. The Governor General, like the Canadian sovereign (King/Queen of Canada), is not political and remains above politics, and because of that they do not usually use their powers without the advice of the Prime Minister or other ministers.

The head of government is the Prime Minister. The current prime minister is Justin Trudeau, [21] who replaced Stephen Harper in October 2015. Each province and territory has a premier to lead its government. The day-to-day operations of the government are run by the cabinet. The cabinet is usually formed from the largest party in Parliament.

The Parliament of Canada passes the laws of the country. The governor general, acting on behalf of the monarch, has the right to veto a law (meaning the law cannot go into effect) but this right has not been used for some time. There are five main parties in the Canadian Parliament: the Conservative Party, the New Democratic Party, the Liberal Party, the Bloc Québécois, and the Green Party. In addition to the five parties with MPs in Parliament, there are fourteen other smaller parties registered with Elections Canada and several MPs who sit as Independents.

Provinces and territories Edit

Below is a list of provinces and territories. They are listed by population.

Many people from other parts of the world think of Canada as a very cold and snowy place. While it is true that much of Canada is very far north, most Canadians live in the southern parts, where the weather is much milder. Nearly two thirds of Canadians live less than 100 kilometres (62 mi) from the U.S. border. [22] In some cities the temperature can get very cold in the winter, especially in the inland. [23] Warm air systems moving in from the Pacific Ocean bring more rain than snow to the Pacific coast, while colder temperatures further inland do result in snow. Most of Canada can get quite hot in the summer, often over 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit). [24]

Canadians are known to play winter sports such as ice hockey and skiing and snowboarding, and also enjoy many summer sports and games.

Canada has lots of natural resources. Its large amounts of fish have been used for centuries for food and money. Hydroelectric power (electricity by water) is abundant because of Canada's many rivers. [25] Forests of the west are used for wood. Besides these renewable resources, Canada has metal ores and oil deposits. Also, Canada is the leading exporter of zinc, uranium, gold, nickel, aluminum, steel and lead. [26]

Around 35 million people live in Canada. This is almost the same number as in the U.S. state of California. About 80% of the Canadian population live in the southern parts of Canada since the climates are milder than the northern parts of Canada.

A large number of immigrants from almost every part of the world come to live in Canada. [27] One example is the former Governor General of Canada, Michaëlle Jean, who came to Canada as a young child with her family from Haiti in 1968. Today, up to 1/5th of the population is an immigrant to Canada.

The Canadian government provides universal health care. The provinces are responsible for health insurance. Five provinces prohibit all extra-billing, while Alberta, British Columbia and Newfoundland allow it in a small number of circumstances, and Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick do not restrict it at all. [28]

In 2020 the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported a deterioration in the number of acute care beds available in Ontario hospitals per every 1,000 people in that province. Ontario is Canada's largest province, and is home to Canada's largest city, Toronto. The number of hospital beds available in Ontario is 1.4 per every 1,000 people. This is half the number hospitals beds available in the United States, and the same number available in Mexico. [29]


7. 15,500 of the world's 25,000 polar bears live in Canada.

Female polar bear with her cubs in northern Canada.

Canada has a large number of polar bears, at 15,500 out of the total world population of 25,000. This makes Canada one of the countries with the closest relationship to the species as well as a primary responsibility in their conservation. The bears can be spotted in the northern territories, as well as northern extremities of the provinces of Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec. The warming of the Arctic poses challenges to the polar bears which keep migrating outwards in search of suitable temperatures and food.


11 mind-blowing facts about Canada's economy

  • Canada may have more petroleum reserves than the Middle East.
  • The nation's enormous coastline - the longest in the world - contributes to its role as one of the top seafood producers.
  • Canadian healthcare is about half the cost-per-capita of the US.
  • And that's just a sampling. Here are 11 surprising facts about Canada's economy.
  • Visit MarketsInsider.com for more stories.

Canada was colonized by Europeans including the French and British as early as the late 15th century and was founded as the modern nation of Canada in 1867.

It's a prosperous country that can claim the 10th-largest GDP in the world, fueled in part by its vast natural resources, sizable manufacturing base, and vibrant seafood industry.

Today, Canada is the only major nation in the western hemisphere with a parliamentary system of government (aside from a few Caribbean island nations), which it borrowed from the United Kingdom. The country is divided into 10 provinces, with 75 percent of the population concentrated in just Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia.

The nation has managed to thrive thanks to a friendly neighbor to the south that shares military and defense interests, not to mention healthy trade and tourism. And Canada can claim one of the highest standards of living in the world.

Here are 11 surprising facts about Canada's economy:

Canadian citizens have the second highest quality of life in the world

The World Economic Forum ranks countries by quality of life using criteria like access to medical care, sanitation, and shelter, as well as education, life expectancy, and personal freedoms.

On the WEF's shortlist are countries like Australia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and Sweden. But coming in second place - right behind Finland - is Canada. The country scored an 89.49 on the Forum's scale, trailing Finland's 90.09.

75% of all Canadian exports land in the US

The United States doesn't just share a common border with Canada it is also the country's biggest trading partner - and by no small margin. Canada exports $338 billion in goods to the US, which constitutes more than 75 percent of the nation's entire $450 billion export tally.

In contrast, Canada ships only about $12.6 billion in goods to the United Kingdom and $21.3 billion to fast-growing China.

Canada has $33.2 trillion in natural resources

If your mental picture of Canada's natural resources is limited to a few herds of caribou on year-round snow, you are mistaken - it's in fact the third richest nation on earth in natural resources.

The nation is home to the world's third largest confirmed petroleum reserves, as well as industry minerals, and is rich in minerals like gypsum, limestone, rock salt and potash, coal, and uranium. It's also the third largest exporter of timber in the world.

Canada’s oil reserves may exceed those of the Middle East

While Canada's petroleum reserves are officially pegged at the thirds largest globally, there's some evidence that this might be a conservative estimate. There are two factors in play here. For starters, The Saudi oil industry hasn't revised its official reserve numbers since 1988, and in 2011 Wikileaks revealed that the actual oil reserves might be as much as 40 percent less than claimed by OPEC.

At the same time, new analysis of Alberta oilsands show that the province's reserves may exceed Saudi by a significant margin, making it the largest crude oil reserves on the planet.

Canadians are the biggest consumer of Kraft Mac and Cheese in the world, and they eat 55% more of it than Americans do a year

Canadians love macaroni and cheese, and in particular, the Kraft brand of the cheesy pasta. Canadians eat 55% more Kraft Mac and Cheese than Americans each year, and reportedly consume 3.2 boxes a year per person, making Canada the single biggest consumer of the product on earth.

Kraft Dinner, as it's known there, is so popular that Food Republic called it Canada's "de facto national dish."

Canada, with its world-leading 125,567-mile coastline, makes $4 billion a year off seafood

It's notoriously difficult to measure the length of coastlines - because jagged, irregular coastlines behave mathematically like fractals, you get radically different results depending upon the precision with which you measure.

Nonetheless, there's no debate that Canada has far and away the longest coastline in the world, 5 times longer than Russia and almost ten times longer than Australia. All that coastline helps Canada be the six largest seafood exporter in the world. Canada generates $4.2 billion in seafood annually, including more than $1.5 billion in lobster alone.

Canada produces 71% of all the maple syrup in the world

Pancake lovers should hope that global warming doesn't adversely affect the maple trees in northern Canada. Because though Vermont is a maple syrup powerhouse in the US, it doesn't hold a candle to Canada, which produces 71 percent of all the maple syrup for the entire world.

91% of that comes from a single province - Quebec. It takes a lot of people to keep the maple syrup flowing, with about 12,000 jobs dedicated to the industry.

Being bilingual costs Canada about $2.4 billion per year

Thanks to its early colonial history, Canada is a bilingual nation, with about 20 percent of the population, or 7.2 million people, speaking French. Most of the nation's French speakers are clustered in Quebec where French is the official language.

Throughout Canada, both English and French speakers have access to government servicers in the language of their choice, with bilingual signage, forms, advertisements, and more.

A 2012 study found that there's a cost associated with accommodating both English and French throughout the country - specifically, about $2.4 billion. The Federal government shoulders about $1.5 billion of that, with the rest picked up by the various provinces.

Canadians pay half for healthcare compared to Americans

Comparing healthcare between the US and Canada is a contentious political issue, in large part because Canada has embraced a single-payer system that is opposed by many conservatives in the US. Even so, despite the perception in the US, Canadian healthcare is far from "free," though it is markedly less expensive on average than to the south.

Lower Canadian drug prices contributed to dangerous shortages of EpiPens

Drug prices are often priced lower in Canada than in the US, often due to Canadian regulations that enforce more affordable pricing, whereas the market generally sets prices in the US. This can lead to significant price differences for popular medications.

In 2018, for example, EpiPens - which deliver self-administered epinephrine injections for people with severe allergies - experienced shortages because of manufacturing problems at the single Pfizer facility where the pens were made. The US, which at the time sold EpiPens for three times the price in Canada, avoided shortages while Canada scrambled to expand its supply in face of severe shortages.

Retail goods often cost more in Canada just because Canadians are willing to pay more

Canadian consumers have long noticed that many products, like books, tires, gas, and food cost more than identical products in the US - sometimes by a little, and sometimes by a lot.

There are a lot of reasons why this happens. When the price is embedded in the product itself, like books, for example, vendors often choose a higher price to account for exchange rates and other economic factors.

But according to an investigation by HuffPost, it's often simply because manufacturers believe Canadians will pay higher prices, simply because Canadians believe that things are always more expensive in Canada - even though there's no logistical reason why this should be true.


Discover Canada - Canada’s History


Indian encampment,
fur trade era
[ See larger version ]

When Europeans explored Canada they found all regions occupied by native peoples they called Indians, because the first explorers thought they had reached the East Indies. The native people lived off the land, some by hunting and gathering, others by raising crops. The Huron-Wendat of the Great Lakes region, like the Iroquois, were farmers and hunters. The Cree and Dene of the Northwest were hunter-gatherers. The Sioux were nomadic, following the bison (buffalo) herd. The Inuit lived off Arctic wildlife. West Coast natives preserved fish by drying and smoking. Warfare was common among Aboriginal groups as they competed for land, resources and prestige.

The arrival of European traders, missionaries, soldiers and colonists changed the native way of life forever. Large numbers of Aboriginals died of European diseases to which they lacked immunity. However, Aboriginals and Europeans formed strong economic, religious and military bonds in the first 200 years of coexistence which laid the foundations of Canada.

The First Europeans

The Vikings from Iceland who colonized Greenland 1,000 years ago also reached Labrador and the island of Newfoundland. The remains of their settlement, l’Anse aux Meadows, are a World Heritage site.

European exploration began in earnest in 1497 with the expedition of John Cabot, who was the first to draw a map of Canada’s East Coast.

John Cabot, an Italian immigrant to England, was the first to map Canada’s Atlantic shore,
setting foot on Newfoundland or Cape Breton Island in 1497 and claiming the
New Founde Land for England. English settlement did not begin until 1610


Jacques Cartier was the
first European to explore
the St. Lawrence River
and to set eyes on
present-day Québec City
and Montreal
[ See larger version ]

Exploring a River, Naming Canada

Between 1534 and 1542, Jacques Cartier made three voyages across the Atlantic, claiming the land for King Francis I of France. Cartier heard two captured guides speak the Iroquoian word kanata, meaning “village.” By the 1550s, the name of Canada began appearing on maps.

Royal New France

In 1604, the first European settlement north of Florida was established by French explorers Pierre de Monts and Samuel de Champlain, first on St. Croix Island (in present-day Maine), then at Port-Royal, in Acadia (present-day Nova Scotia). In 1608 Champlain built a fortress at what is now Québec City. The colonists struggled against a harsh climate. Champlain allied the colony with the Algonquin, Montagnais, and Huron, historic enemies of the Iroquois, a confederation of five (later six) First Nations who battled with the French settlements for a century. The French and the Iroquois made peace in 1701.

The French and Aboriginal people collaborated in the vast fur-trade economy, driven by the demand for beaver pelts in Europe. Outstanding leaders like Jean Talon, Bishop Laval, and Count Frontenac built a French Empire in North America that reached from Hudson Bay to the Gulf of Mexico.

Count Frontenac refused to surrender Quebec to the English in 1690, saying: “My only reply will be from the mouths of my cannons!” Pierre Le Moyne, Sieur d’Iberville, was a great hero of New France, winning many victories over the English, from James Bay in the north to Nevis in the Caribbean, in the late 17 th and early 18 th centuries.
Sir Guy Carleton (Lord Dorchester), as Governor of Quebec, defended the rights of the Canadiens, defeated an American military invasion of Quebec in 1775, and supervised the Loyalist migration to Nova Scotia and Quebec in 1782-83.

Struggle for a Continent

In 1670, King Charles II of England granted the Hudson’s Bay Company exclusive trading rights over the watershed draining into Hudson Bay. For the next 100 years the Company competed with Montreal-based traders. The skilled and courageous men who travelled by canoe were called voyageurs and coureurs des bois, and formed strong alliances with First Nations.

English colonies along the Atlantic seaboard, dating from the early 1600s, eventually became richer and more populous than New France. In the 1700s France and Great Britain battled for control of North America. In 1759, the British defeated the French in the Battle of the Plains of Abraham at Québec City — marking the end of France’s empire in America. The commanders of both armies, Brigadier James Wolfe and the Marquis de Montcalm , were killed leading their troops in battle.

The Province of Quebec

Following the war, Great Britain renamed the colony the “Province of Quebec.” The Frenchspeaking Catholic people, known as habitants or Canadiens, strove to preserve their way of life in the English-speaking, Protestant-ruled British Empire.

A Tradition of Accommodation

To better govern the French Roman Catholic majority, the British Parliament passed the Quebec Act of 1774. One of the constitutional foundations of Canada, the Quebec Act accommodated the principles of British institutions to the reality of the province. It allowed religious freedom for Catholics and permitted them to hold public office, a practice not then allowed in Britain. The Quebec Act restored French civil law while maintaining British criminal law.

United Empire Loyalists

In 1776, the 13 British colonies to the south of Quebec declared independence and formed the United States. North America was again divided by war. More than 40,000 people loyal to the Crown, called “Loyalists,” fled the oppression of the American Revolution to settle in Nova Scotia and Quebec. Joseph Brant led thousands of Loyalist Mohawk Indians into Canada. The Loyalists came from Dutch, German, British, Scandinavian, Aboriginal and other origins and from Presbyterian, Anglican, Baptist, Methodist, Jewish, Quaker, and Catholic religious backgrounds. About 3,000 black Loyalists, freedmen and slaves, came north seeking a better life. In turn, in 1792, some black Nova Scotians, who were given poor land, moved on to establish Freetown, Sierra Leone (West Africa), a new British colony for freed slaves.

The Beginnings of Democracy

Democratic institutions developed gradually and peacefully. The first representative assembly was elected in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1758. Prince Edward Island followed in 1773, New Brunswick in 1785. The Constitutional Act of 1791 divided the Province of Quebec into Upper Canada (later Ontario), which was mainly Loyalist, Protestant and English-speaking, and Lower Canada (later Quebec), heavily Catholic and French-speaking.

The Act also granted to the Canadas, for the first time, legislative assemblies elected by the people. The name Canada also became official at this time and has been used ever since. The Atlantic colonies and the two Canadas were known collectively as British North America.

The first elected Assembly of Lower Canada, in Québec City, debates
whether to use both French and English, January 21, 1793


Watch the video: Nova Scotia Kanada Urlaub


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