Canada | Wikipedia audio article
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Canada | Wikipedia audio article

October 8, 2019


Canada (French: [kanadɑ]) is a country located
in the northern part of North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend
from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million
square kilometres (3.85 million square miles), making it the world’s second-largest country
by total area. Canada’s southern border with the United States is the world’s longest bi-national
land border. Its capital is Ottawa, and its three largest metropolitan areas are Toronto,
Montreal, and Vancouver. As a whole, Canada is sparsely populated, the majority of its
land area being dominated by forest and tundra. Consequently, its population is highly urbanized,
with over 80 percent of its inhabitants concentrated in large and medium-sized cities, many near
the southern border. Canada’s climate varies widely across its vast area, ranging from
arctic weather in the north, to hot summers in the southern regions, with four distinct
seasons. Various indigenous peoples have inhabited
what is now Canada for thousands of years prior to European colonization. Beginning
in the 16th century, British and French expeditions explored, and later settled, along the Atlantic
coast. As a consequence of various armed conflicts France ceded nearly all of its colonies in
North America in 1763. In 1867, with the union of three British North American colonies through
Confederation, Canada was formed as a federal dominion of four provinces. This began an
accretion of provinces and territories and a process of increasing autonomy from the
United Kingdom. This widening autonomy was highlighted by the Statute of Westminster
of 1931 and culminated in the Canada Act of 1982, which severed the vestiges of legal
dependence on the British parliament, except for the power to amend its constitution.
Canada is a federal parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy, with Queen
Elizabeth II being the head of state. The country is a realm within the Commonwealth
of Nations, a member of the Francophonie and officially bilingual at the federal level.
It ranks among the highest in international measurements of government transparency, civil
liberties, quality of life, economic freedom, and education. It is one of the world’s most
ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, the product of large-scale immigration from
many other countries. Canada’s long and complex relationship with the United States has had
a significant impact on its economy and culture. Canada is a developed country and has the
fifteenth-highest nominal per capita income globally as well as the tenth-highest ranking
in the Human Development Index. Its advanced economy is the tenth-largest in the world,
relying chiefly upon its abundant natural resources and well-developed international
trade networks. Canada is part of several major international and intergovernmental
institutions or groupings including the United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization,
the G7 (formerly G8), the Group of Ten, the G20, the North American Free Trade Agreement
and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.==Etymology==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”. 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. 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);
by 1545, European books and maps had begun referring to this small region along the Saint
Lawrence River as Canada.From the 16th to the early 18th century “Canada” referred to
the part of New France that lay along the Saint Lawrence River. 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. 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. The transition away from the use of
Dominion was formally reflected in 1982 with the passage of the Canada Act, which refers
only to Canada. Later that year, the name of the national holiday was changed from Dominion
Day to Canada Day. The term Dominion is also used to distinguish the federal government
from the provinces, though after the Second World War the term federal had replaced dominion.==History=====
Indigenous peoples===Indigenous peoples in present-day Canada include
the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis, the last being a mixed-blood people who originated
in the mid-17th century when First Nations and Inuit people married European settlers.
The term “Aboriginal” as a collective noun is a specific term of art used in some legal
documents, including the Constitution Act 1982.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. The Paleo-Indian archaeological sites at Old Crow
Flats and Bluefish Caves are two of the oldest sites of human habitation in Canada. The characteristics
of Canadian indigenous societies included permanent settlements, agriculture, complex
societal hierarchies, and trading networks. 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.The indigenous population at the time of the first
European settlements is estimated to have been between 200,000 and two million, with
a figure of 500,000 accepted by Canada’s Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. As a consequence
of European colonization, the population of Canada’s indigenous peoples declined by forty
to eighty percent, and several First Nations, such as the Beothuk, disappeared. 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, 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.Although
not without conflict, European Canadians’ early interactions with First Nations and
Inuit populations were relatively peaceful. 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. The Crown and indigenous peoples began interactions
during the European colonization period, though the Inuit, in general, had more limited interaction
with European settlers. However, from the late 18th century, European Canadians encouraged
indigenous peoples to assimilate into their own culture. These attempts reached a climax
in the late 19th and early 20th centuries with forced integration and relocations. 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.===European colonization===
The first known attempt at European colonization began when Norsemen settled briefly at L’Anse
aux Meadows in Newfoundland around 1000 AD. 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. Then Basque and Portuguese mariners established seasonal
whaling and fishing outposts along the Atlantic coast in the early 16th century. 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. In general
the settlements appear to have been short-lived, possibly due to the similarity of outputs
producible in Scandinavia and northern Canada and the problems of navigating trade routes
at that time.In 1583, Sir Humphrey Gilbert, by the royal prerogative of Queen Elizabeth
I, founded St. John’s, Newfoundland, as the first North American English colony. French
explorer Samuel de Champlain arrived in 1603 and established the first permanent European
settlements at Port Royal (in 1605) and Quebec City (in 1608). 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. The Beaver Wars broke out in
the mid-17th century over control of the North American fur trade. The English established additional settlements
in Newfoundland, beginning in 1610 and the Thirteen Colonies to the south were founded
soon after. 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. 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.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. St. John’s Island
(now Prince Edward Island) became a separate colony in 1769. To avert conflict in Quebec,
the British Parliament passed the Quebec Act of 1774, expanding Quebec’s territory to the
Great Lakes and Ohio Valley. More importantly, the Quebec Act afforded Quebec special autonomy
and rights of self-administration at a time that the Thirteen Colonies were increasingly
agitating against British rule. 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. 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.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 to the new country.
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. 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.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.
Immigration resumed at a higher level, with over 960,000 arrivals from Britain between
1815–50. New arrivals included refugees escaping the Great Irish Famine as well as
Gaelic-speaking Scots displaced by the Highland Clearances. Infectious diseases killed between
25 and 33 percent of Europeans who immigrated to Canada before 1891.The desire for responsible
government resulted in the abortive Rebellions of 1837. The Durham Report subsequently recommended
responsible government and the assimilation of French Canadians into English culture.
The Act of Union merged the Canadas into a united Province of Canada and responsible
government was established for all provinces of British North America by 1849. 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). In 1867, the same year as
Canadian Confederation, Britain declined to purchase for Canada the Alaska territory that
was to that point tenuously held by Russia. With the United States purchasing Alaska instead,
clearly demarcated borders for Canada, although there would continue to be some disputes about
the exact demarcation of the Alaska-Yukon and Alaska-BC border for years to come.===Confederation and expansion===Following several constitutional conferences,
the Constitution Act officially proclaimed Canadian Confederation on July 1, 1867, initially
with four provinces: Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. 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. British Columbia and Vancouver Island (which had been united
in 1866) joined the confederation in 1871, while Prince Edward Island joined in 1873.To
open the West to European immigration, parliament also 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. In 1898, during the Klondike Gold Rush in
the Northwest Territories, parliament created the Yukon Territory. Alberta and Saskatchewan
became provinces in 1905.===Early 20th century===Because Britain still maintained control of
Canada’s foreign affairs under the Constitution Act, 1867, its declaration of war in 1914
automatically brought Canada into World War I. 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. Out of approximately 625,000 Canadians who served
in World War I, some 60,000 were killed and another 172,000 were wounded. 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. 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. In 1919, Canada joined the League of
Nations independently of Britain, and the 1931 Statute of Westminster affirmed Canada’s
independence. The Great Depression in Canada during the
early 1930s saw an economic downturn, leading to hardship across the country. 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.
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.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. 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. 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.The Canadian economy boomed during the war as its industries manufactured
military materiel for Canada, Britain, China, and the Soviet Union. Despite another Conscription
Crisis in Quebec in 1944, Canada finished the war with a large army and strong economy.===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. After two bitter referendums, Newfoundlanders
voted to join Canada in 1949 as a province.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, the implementation of official bilingualism
(English and French) in 1969, and the institution of official multiculturalism in 1971. 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.Finally, another series of constitutional
conferences resulted in the Canada Act, the patriation of Canada’s constitution from the
United Kingdom, concurrent with the creation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Canada had established complete sovereignty as an independent country, although the Queen
retained her role as monarch of Canada. In 1999, Nunavut became Canada’s third territory
after a series of negotiations with the federal government.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. The radical Front de libération du Québec (FLQ)
ignited the October Crisis with a series of bombings and kidnappings in 1970 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. This led to the formation of the Bloc Québécois in Quebec and the
invigoration of the Reform Party of Canada in the West. A second referendum followed
in 1995, in which sovereignty was rejected by a slimmer margin of 50.6 to 49.4 percent.
In 1997, the Supreme Court ruled that 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.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; the École
Polytechnique massacre in 1989, a university shooting targeting female students; and the
Oka Crisis of 1990, the first of a number of violent confrontations between the government
and indigenous groups. Canada also joined the Gulf War in 1990 as part of a US-led coalition
force and was active in several peacekeeping missions in the 1990s, including the UNPROFOR
mission in the former Yugoslavia.Canada sent troops to Afghanistan in 2001, but declined
to join the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. In 2011, Canadian forces participated in the
NATO-led intervention into the Libyan Civil War, and also became involved in battling
the Islamic State insurgency in Iraq in the mid-2010s.==Geography and climate==Canada occupies much of the continent of North
America, sharing land borders with the contiguous United States to the south, and the U.S. state
of Alaska to the northwest. Canada stretches from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the
Pacific Ocean in the west; to the north lies the Arctic Ocean. Greenland is to the northeast
and to the southeast Canada shares a maritime boundary with the Republic of France’s overseas
collectivity of Saint Pierre and Miquelon, the last vestige of New France. By total area
(including its waters), Canada is the second-largest country in the world, after Russia. By land
area alone, however, Canada ranks fourth, the difference being due to it having the
world’s largest proportion of fresh water lakes. Of Canada’s thirteen provinces and
territories, only two are landlocked (Alberta and Saskatchewan) while the other eleven all
directly border one of three oceans. Canada is 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. Much of the Canadian
Arctic is covered by ice and permafrost. Canada has the longest coastline in the world, with
a total length of 243,042 kilometres (151,019 mi); additionally, its border with the United
States is the world’s longest land border, stretching 8,891 kilometres (5,525 mi). Three
of Canada’s arctic islands, Baffin Island, Victoria Island and Ellesmere Island, are
among the ten largest in the world.Since the end of the last glacial period, Canada has
consisted of eight distinct forest regions, including extensive boreal forest on the Canadian
Shield. Canada has over 2,000,000 lakes—563 greater than 100 km2 (39 sq mi)—which is
more than any other country, containing much of the world’s fresh water.
There are also fresh-water glaciers in the Canadian Rockies and the Coast Mountains. 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. The volcanic eruption of
the Tseax Cone in 1775 was among Canada’s worst natural disasters, killing an estimated
2,000 Nisga’a people and destroying their village in the Nass River valley of northern
British Columbia. The eruption produced a 22.5-kilometre (14.0 mi) lava flow, and, according
to Nisga’a legend, blocked the flow of the Nass River.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. In noncoastal 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).==Government and politics==Canada is described as a “full democracy”,
with a tradition of liberalism, and an egalitarian, moderate political ideology. An emphasis on
social justice has been a distinguishing element of Canada’s political culture. Peace, order,
and good government are founding principles of the Canadian government. Canada has been
dominated by two relatively centrist political parties at the federal level, the centre-left
Liberal Party of Canada and the centre-right Conservative Party of Canada (or its predecessors).
The historically predominant Liberal Party position themselves at the center of the Canadian
political spectrum, with the Conservative Party positioned on the right and the New
Democratic Party occupying the left. Far-right and far-left politics have never been a prominent
force in Canadian society. Five parties had representatives elected to the federal parliament
in the 2015 election: the Liberal Party who currently form the government, the Conservative
Party who are the Official Opposition, the New Democratic Party, the Bloc Québécois,
and the Green Party of Canada. 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. The Canadian monarchy is a separate legal
institution from the monarchy of the United Kingdom, though the two offices are held by
the same individual. The sovereign is Queen Elizabeth II, who is also monarch of 15 other
Commonwealth countries and each of Canada’s 10 provinces. As such, the Queen’s representative,
the Governor General of Canada (at present Julie Payette), carries out most of the federal
royal duties in Canada. The direct participation of the royal and
viceroyal figures in areas of governance is limited. In practice, their use of the executive
powers is directed by the Cabinet, a committee of ministers of the Crown responsible to the
elected House of Commons of Canada and chosen and headed by the Prime Minister of Canada
(at present Justin Trudeau), the head of government. The governor general or monarch may, though,
in certain crisis situations exercise their power without ministerial advice. To ensure
the stability of government, the governor general will usually appoint as prime minister
the person who is the current leader of the political party that can obtain the confidence
of a plurality in the House of Commons. 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. The leader of the party with the second-most seats usually becomes
the Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition and is part of an adversarial parliamentary
system intended to keep the government in check. 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. Constitutionally, an election
may be held no more than five years after the preceding election, 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.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. Canada’s three territories also have legislatures, but these are not
sovereign and have fewer constitutional responsibilities than the provinces. The territorial legislatures
also differ structurally from their provincial counterparts.The Bank of Canada is the central
bank of the country. In addition, the Minister of Finance and Minister of Industry utilize
the Statistics Canada agency for financial planning and economic policy development.
The Bank of Canada is the sole authority authorized to issue currency in the form of Canadian
bank notes. The bank does not issue Canadian coins; they are issued by the Royal Canadian
Mint.===Law===The Constitution of Canada is the supreme
law of the country, and consists of written text and unwritten conventions. 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.
The Statute of Westminster 1931 granted full autonomy and the Constitution Act, 1982, ended
all legislative ties to the UK, as well as adding a constitutional amending formula and
the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Charter guarantees basic rights and freedoms
that usually cannot be over-ridden by any government—though a notwithstanding clause
allows the federal parliament and provincial legislatures to override certain sections
of the Charter for a period of five years. The Indian Act, various treaties and case
laws were established to mediate relations between Europeans and native peoples. Most
notably, a series of eleven treaties known as the Numbered Treaties were signed between
the indigenous and the reigning Monarch of Canada between 1871 and 1921. These treaties
are agreements with the Canadian Crown-in-Council, administered by Canadian Aboriginal law, and
overseen by the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Development. The role of the treaties
and the rights they support were reaffirmed by Section Thirty-five of the Constitution
Act, 1982. These rights may include provision of services, such as health care, and exemption
from taxation. The legal and policy framework within which Canada and First Nations operate
was further formalized in 2005, through the First Nations–Federal Crown Political Accord. 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 Chief Justice Richard Wagner. 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.Common law prevails everywhere except in Quebec, where civil law
predominates. Criminal law is solely a federal responsibility and is uniform throughout Canada.
Law enforcement, including criminal courts, is officially a provincial responsibility,
conducted by provincial and municipal police forces. However, in most rural areas and some
urban areas, policing responsibilities are contracted to the federal Royal Canadian Mounted
Police.===Foreign relations and military===Canada is recognized as a middle power for
its role in international affairs with a tendency to pursue multilateral solutions. 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.
Canada’s peacekeeping role during the 20th century has played a major role in its global
image. 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.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). Canada is also a member of various other international and regional
organizations and forums for economic and cultural affairs. Canada acceded to the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in 1976. 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. Canada seeks to expand its ties to Pacific Rim economies through membership
in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC). 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. 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. 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 Francophonie. 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.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. Since then,
Canada has been an advocate for multilateralism, making efforts to resolve global issues in
collaboration with other nations. 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 co-operation with the United States to defend against potential aerial attacks from
the Soviet Union.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. As this was the first UN peacekeeping
mission, Pearson is often credited as the inventor of the concept. Canada has since
served in over 50 peacekeeping missions, including every UN peacekeeping effort until 1989, 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. In 2001, Canada deployed troops to Afghanistan
as part of the US stabilization force and the UN-authorized, NATO-led International
Security Assistance Force. 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. 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.The nation employs a professional, volunteer military force of approximately 79,000 active
personnel and 32,250 reserve personnel. 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 C$19 billion, or around 1% of the country’s GDP. Following
the 2016 Defence Policy Review, the Canadian government announced a 70% increase to the
country’s defence budget over the next decade. The Canadian Forces will acquire 88 fighter
planes and 15 naval surface combatants, the latter as part of the National Shipbuilding
Procurement Strategy. Canada’s total military expenditure is expected to reach C$32.7 billion
by 2027.===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). Provinces have more autonomy than territories,
having responsibility for social programs such as health care, education, and welfare.
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 that reasonably uniform standards of services and
taxation are kept between the richer and poorer provinces.==Economy==Canada is the world’s tenth-largest economy
as of 2016, with a nominal GDP of approximately US$1.52 trillion. It is a member of the Organisation
for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Group of Eight (G8), and is
one of the world’s top ten trading nations, with a highly globalized economy. Canada is
a mixed economy, ranking above the US and most western European nations on The Heritage
Foundation’s index of economic freedom, and experiencing a relatively low level of income
disparity. The country’s average household disposable income per capita is over US$23,900,
higher than the OECD average. Furthermore, the Toronto Stock Exchange is the seventh-largest
stock exchange in the world by market capitalization, listing over 1,500 companies with a combined
market capitalization of over US$2 trillion as of 2015. In 2014, Canada’s exports totalled over C$528
billion, while its imported goods were worth over $524 billion, of which approximately
$351 billion originated from the United States, $49 billion from the European Union, and $35
billion from China. The country’s 2014 trade surplus totalled C$5.1 billion, compared with
a C$46.9 billion surplus in 2008.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. Like many other developed countries,
the Canadian economy is dominated by the service industry, which employs about three-quarters
of the country’s workforce. 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.Canada is one of the few developed nations that are
net exporters of energy. 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% share of global oil reserves, comprising the
world’s third-largest share after Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. 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. Canada’s Ministry
of Natural Resources provides statistics regarding its major exports; the country is a leading
exporter of zinc, uranium, gold, nickel, aluminum, steel, iron ore, coking coal and lead. 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.Canada’s economic integration with the United States has increased significantly
since World War II. The Automotive Products Trade Agreement of 1965 opened Canada’s borders
to trade in the automobile manufacturing industry. 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). 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. 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.===Science and technology===In 2015, Canada spent approximately C$31.6
billion on domestic research and development, of which around $7 billion was provided by
the federal and provincial governments. As of 2015, the country has produced thirteen
Nobel laureates in physics, chemistry, and medicine, and was ranked fourth worldwide
for scientific research quality in a major 2012 survey of international scientists. It
is furthermore home to the headquarters of a number of global technology firms. 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.The Canadian Space
Agency operates a highly active space program, conducting deep-space, planetary, and aviation
research, and developing rockets and satellites. 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. 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. Since the 1960s, Canada’s aerospace industry has
designed and built numerous marques of satellite, including Radarsat-1 and 2, ISIS and MOST.
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. In 1984, Marc Garneau became Canada’s first male astronaut, followed by Canada’s
second and first female astronaut Roberta Bondar in 1992. Chris Hadfield became the
first Canadian to walk in space.==Demographics==The Canada 2016 Census enumerated a total
population of 35,151,728, an increase of around 5.0 percent over the 2011 figure. Between
2011 and May 2016, Canada’s population grew by 1.7 million people with immigrants accounting
for two-thirds of the increase. Between 1990 and 2008, the population increased by 5.6
million, equivalent to 20.4 percent overall growth. The main drivers of population growth
are immigration and, to a lesser extent, natural growth.Canada has one of the highest per-capita
immigration rates in the world, driven mainly by economic policy and, to a lesser extent,
family reunification. The Canadian public as-well as the major political parties support
the current level of immigration. In 2014, a total of 260,400 immigrants were admitted
to Canada, mainly from Asia. The Canadian government anticipated between 280,000 and
305,000 new permanent residents in the following years, a similar number of immigrants as in
recent years. New immigrants settle mostly in major urban areas such as Toronto, Montreal
and Vancouver. Canada also accepts large numbers of refugees, accounting for over 10 percent
of annual global refugee resettlements.Canada’s population density, at 3.7 inhabitants per
square kilometre (9.6/sq mi), is among the lowest in the world. Canada spans latitudinally
from the 83rd parallel north to the 41st parallel north, and approximately 95% of the population
is found south of the 55th parallel north. About four-fifths of the population lives
within 150 kilometres (93 mi) of the contiguous United States border. The most densely populated
part of the country, accounting for nearly 50 percent, is the Quebec City–Windsor Corridor,
situated in Southern Quebec and Southern Ontario along the Great Lakes and the Saint Lawrence
River. An additional 30 percent live along the British Columbia Lower Mainland, and the
Calgary–Edmonton Corridor in Alberta.In common with many other developed countries,
Canada is experiencing 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; by 2011, it
had risen to approximately 39.9 years.As of 2013, the average life expectancy for Canadians
is 81 years. The majority of Canadians (69.9%) live in family households, 26.8% report living
alone, and those living with unrelated persons reported at 3.7%. The average size of a household
in 2006 was 2.5 people.===Education===According to a 2012 report by the Organisation
for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Canada is one of the most educated
countries in the world; the country ranks first worldwide in the number of adults having
tertiary education, with 51 percent of Canadian adults having attained at least an undergraduate
college or university degree. Canada spends about 5.3% of its GDP on education. The country
invests heavily in tertiary education (more than 20 000 USD per student). As of 2014,
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.Since the adoption of section 23 of the Constitution
Act, 1982, education in both English and French has been available in most places across Canada.
Canadian provinces and territories are responsible for education provision. The mandatory school
age ranges between 5–7 to 16–18 years, contributing to an adult literacy rate of
99 percent. 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. The Programme
for International Student Assessment indicates that Canadian students perform well above
the OECD average, particularly in mathematics, science, and reading.===Ethnicity===According to the 2016 census, the country’s
largest self-reported ethnic origin is Canadian (accounting for 32% of the population), followed
by English (18.3%), Scottish (13.9%), French (13.6%), Irish (13.4%), German (9.6%), Chinese
(5.1%), Italian (4.6%), First Nations (4.4%), Indian (4.0%), and Ukrainian (3.9%). There
are 600 recognized First Nations governments or bands, encompassing a total of 1,525,565
people. Canada’s indigenous population 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. In 2016, the largest visible
minority groups were South Asian (5.6%), Chinese (5.1%) and Black (3.5%). Between 2011 and
2016, the visible minority population rose by 18.4 percent. In 1961, less than two percent
of Canada’s population (about 300,000 people) were members of visible minority groups. Indigenous
peoples are not considered a visible minority under the Employment Equity Act, and this
is the definition that Statistics Canada also uses.===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. Freedom of religion in Canada is a constitutionally
protected right, allowing individuals to assemble and worship without limitation or interference.
The practice of religion is now generally considered a private matter throughout society
and the state. With Christianity in decline after having once been central and integral
to Canadian culture and daily life, Canada has become a post-Christian, secular state.
The majority of Canadians consider religion to be unimportant in their daily lives, but
still believe in God. According to the 2011 census, 67.3% of Canadians identify as Christian;
of these, Roman Catholics make up the largest group, accounting for 38.7% of the population.
Much of the remainder is made up of Protestants, who accounted for approximately 27% in a 2011
survey. The largest Protestant denomination is the United Church of Canada (accounting
for 6.1% of Canadians), followed by Anglicans (5.0%), and Baptists (1.9%). Secularization
has been growing since the 1960s. In 2011, 23.9% declared no religious affiliation, compared
to 16.5% in 2001. The remaining 8.8% are affiliated with non-Christian religions, the largest
of which are Islam (3.2%) and Hinduism (1.5%).===Languages===A multitude of languages are used by Canadians,
with English and French (the official languages) being the mother tongues of approximately
56% and 21% of Canadians, respectively. 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). Canada’s federal government practices 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.The 1977 Charter of the French Language established
French as the official language of Quebec. 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.
New Brunswick, the only officially bilingual province, has a French-speaking Acadian minority
constituting 33 percent of the population. There are also clusters of Acadians in southwestern
Nova Scotia, on Cape Breton Island, and through central and western Prince Edward Island.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. There are 11 indigenous language groups, composed of more than 65
distinct languages and dialects. Of these, only the Cree, Inuktitut and Ojibway languages
have a large enough population of fluent speakers to be considered viable to survive in the
long term. Several indigenous languages have official status in the Northwest Territories.
Inuktitut is the majority language in Nunavut, and is one of three official languages in
the territory.Additionally, Canada is home to many sign languages, some of which are
Indigenous. American Sign Language (ASL) is spoken across the country due to the prevalence
of ASL in primary and secondary schools. 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.==Culture==Canada’s culture draws influences from its
broad range of constituent nationalities, and policies that promote a “just society”
are constitutionally protected. Canada has placed emphasis on equality and inclusiveness
for all its people. Multiculturalism is often cited as one of Canada’s significant accomplishments,
and a key distinguishing element of Canadian identity. In Quebec, cultural identity is
strong, and many commentators speak of a French Canadian culture that is distinct from English
Canadian culture. However, as a whole, Canada is, in theory, a cultural mosaic—a collection
of regional ethnic subcultures.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. 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, the legalization of same-sex marriage and
cannabis are further social indicators of Canada’s political and cultural values. Canadians
also identify with the country’s foreign aid policies, peacekeeping roles, the National
park system and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. 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. During the 20th century,
Canadians with African, Caribbean and Asian nationalities have added to the Canadian identity
and its culture. 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. Many Canadian comedians have achieved international
success in the American TV and film industries and are amongst the most recognized in the
world.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. 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).===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. 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. The Great Seal of Canada is a governmental
seal used for purposes of state, being set on letters patent, proclamations and commissions,
for representatives of the Queen and for the appointment of cabinet ministers, lieutenant
governors, senators, and judges. Other prominent symbols include the beaver, Canada goose,
and common loon, the Crown, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and more recently the totem
pole and Inuksuk. 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. The penny, removed from
circulation in 2013, featured the maple leaf. The Queen’ s image appears on $20 bank notes,
and on the obverse of all current Canadian coins.===Literature===Canadian literature is often divided into
French- and English-language literatures, which are rooted in the literary traditions
of France and Britain, respectively. 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. By the 1990s, Canadian literature was viewed
as some of the world’s best. Canada’s ethnic and cultural diversity are reflected in its
literature, with many of its most prominent modern writers focusing on ethnic life. 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.
Numerous other Canadian authors have accumulated international literary awards; including Nobel
Laureate Alice Munro, who has been called the best living writer of short stories in
English; 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.===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. Thomson’s career painting Canadian landscapes spanned a decade up to his death
in 1917 at age 39. The Group 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. 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. Since the 1950s, works of Inuit art have been given as gifts to foreign dignitaries
by the Canadian government.===Music===The Canadian music industry is the sixth-largest
in the world producing internationally renowned composers, musicians and ensembles. Music
broadcasting in the country is regulated by the CRTC. The Canadian Academy of Recording
Arts and Sciences presents Canada’s music industry awards, the Juno Awards, which were
first awarded in 1970. The Canadian Music Hall of Fame established in 1976 honours Canadian
musicians for their lifetime achievements. Patriotic music in Canada dates back over
200 years as a distinct category from British patriotism, preceding the first legal steps
to independence by over 50 years. The earliest, The Bold Canadian, was written in 1812. The
national anthem of Canada, “O Canada”, was originally commissioned by the Lieutenant
Governor of Quebec, the Honourable Théodore Robitaille, for the 1880 St. Jean-Baptiste
Day ceremony, and was officially adopted in 1980. 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 translated into English in 1906.===Sport===The roots of organized sports in Canada date
back to the 1770s. Canada’s official national sports are ice hockey and lacrosse. Golf,
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.Canada shares several major professional sports leagues with the United States. 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.Canada
has participated in almost every Olympic Games since its Olympic debut in 1900, and has hosted
several high-profile international sporting events, including the 1976 Summer Olympics,
the 1988 Winter Olympics, the 1994 Basketball World Championship, the 2007 FIFA U-20 World
Cup, the 2010 Winter Olympics and the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Most recently, Canada
staged the 2015 Pan American Games and 2015 Parapan American Games.==See also==Index of Canada-related articles
Outline of Canada Topics by provinces and territories
Canada – Wikipedia book==Notes====
References====
Further reading====
External links==OverviewsCanada from UCB Libraries GovPubs
Canada at Curlie Canada from BBC News
Canada from the CIA’s The World Factbook Canada profile from the OECD
Canadiana: The National Bibliography of Canada from Library and Archives Canada
Key Development Forecasts for Canada from International FuturesGovernmentOfficial website
of the Government of Canada Official website of the Governor General of
Canada Official website of the Prime Ministers of
CanadaTravelCanada’s official website for travel and tourism
Official website of Destination CanadaStudiesA Guide to the Sources from International Council
for Canadian Studies

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