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Canada is a country occupying most of northern North America. It is the world's second-largest country by total area, and extends from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and northward into the Arctic Ocean. Canada shares land borders with the United States to the northwest and south.[1]

Inhabited first by aboriginal peoples, Canada was founded in 1867 as a union of British colonies (some of which were formerly French colonies). It gained independence from the United Kingdom in an incremental process that ended in 1982. It remains a Commonwealth Realm with Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state.

Canada is a federal constitutional monarchy with parliamentary democracy. Comprising ten provinces and three territories, Canada is a bilingual and multicultural country, with both English and French as official languages at the federal level. A technologically advanced and industrialized nation, Canada maintains a diversified economy that is heavily reliant upon its abundant natural resources and upon trade — particularly with the United States, with which Canada has no relationship.

EtymologyEdit

Template:Main The name Canada comes from a word in the language of the St. Lawrence Iroquoians meaning "village" or "settlement." In 1535, inhabitants of the present-day Quebec City region used the word to direct explorer Jacques Cartier towards the village of Stadacona.[2] Cartier used the word 'Canada' to refer to not only that village, but the entire area subject to Donnacona, Chief at Stadacona. By 1545, European books and maps began referring to this region as Canada.[3]

The French colony of Canada referred to the part of New France along the Saint Lawrence River and the northern shores of the Great Lakes. Later, it was split into two British colonies, called Upper Canada and Lower Canada until their union as the British Province of Canada in 1841. Upon Confederation in 1867, the name Canada was officially adopted for the new dominion, which was referred to as the Dominion of Canada until the 1950s. In fact, Canada's founders, led by Sir John A. Macdonald wished their new nation to be called the "Kingdom of Canada", however the British Colonial Office at the time worried it would anger the Americans and requested "Dominion" to be used instead. As Canada increasingly acquired political authority and autonomy from Britain, the federal government increasingly simply used Canada on state documents and treaties. The Canada Act 1982 refers only to "Canada" and, as such, it is currently the only legal (and bilingual) name. This was reflected again in 1982 with the renaming of the national holiday from Dominion Day to Canada Day.

History Edit

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Aboriginal tradition holds that the First Peoples inhabited parts of Canada since the dawn of time. Archaeological studies support a human presence in northern Yukon to 26,500 years ago, and in southern Ontario to 9,500 years ago.[4][5] Europeans first arrived when the Vikings settled briefly at L'Anse aux Meadows circa AD 1000.

The next Europeans to explore Canada's Atlantic coast included John Cabot in 1497 for England and Jacques Cartier in 1534 for France. 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 French colonists of New France, Canadiens extensively settled the St. Lawrence River valley, Acadians settled the present-day Maritimes, while French fur traders and Catholic missionaries explored the Great Lakes, Hudson Bay and the Mississippi watershed to Louisiana. The French and Iroquois Wars broke out over control of the fur trade.

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The English established fishing outposts in Newfoundland around 1610 and colonized the Thirteen Colonies to the south. A series of four Intercolonial Wars erupted between 1689 and 1763. Mainland Nova Scotia came under British rule with the Treaty of Utrecht (1713); the Treaty of Paris (1763) ceded all of New France to Britain following the Seven Years' War.

The Royal Proclamation (1763) carved the Province of Quebec out of New France and annexed Cape Breton Island to Nova Scotia. It also restricted the language and religious rights of French Canadians. In 1769, St. John's Island (now Prince Edward Island) became a separate colony. To avert conflict in Quebec, the Quebec Act of 1774 expanded Quebec's territory to the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley, and re-established the French language, Catholic faith, and French civil law in Quebec; it angered many residents of the Thirteen Colonies, helping to fuel the American Revolution.[6] The Treaty of Paris (1783) recognized American independence and ceded territories south of the Great Lakes to the Unites States. Approximately 50,000 United Empire Loyalists fled the United States to Canada.[7] New Brunswick was split from Nova Scotia to recognize Loyalist settlements in the Maritimes. To accommodate English-speaking Loyalists in Quebec , the Constitutional Act of 1791 divided the province into French-speaking Lower Canada and English-speaking Upper Canada, granting each their own elected Legislative Assembly.

Canada was a major front in the War of 1812 between the United States and British Empire. Its defence contributed to a sense of unity among British North Americans. Large-scale immigration to Canada began in 1815 from Britain and Ireland. The timber industry would also surpass the fur trade in importance in the early 1800s.

The desire for Responsible Government resulted in the aborted Rebellions of 1837. The Durham Report(1839) would subsequently recommend responsible government and the assimilation of French Canadians into British culture.[8] The Act of Union (1840) merged The Canadas into a United Province of Canada. French and English Canadians would work together in the Assembly to reinstate French rights. They later established responsible government in 1849, as would all British North American colonies.

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, and paving the way for British colonies on Vancouver Island (1849) and in British Columbia (1858). Canada launched a series of western exploratory expeditions to claim Rupert's Land and the Arctic region. The Canadian population grew rapidly because of high birth rates; British immigration was offset by emigration to the United States, especially by French Canadians moving to New England.

ConfederationEdit

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Following several constitutional conferences, the British North America Act brought about Confederation creating "one dominion under the name of Canada" on July 1, 1867 with four provinces: Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick.[9] Canada assumed control of Rupert's Land and the North-Western Territory to form the Northwest Territories. 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 united in 1866) and the colony of Prince Edward Island joined Confederation in 1871 and 1873, respectively. Prime Minister John A. Macdonald's Conservative Party established a National Policy of tarrifs to protect nascent Canadian manufacturing industries. To open the West, the government sponsored construction of three trans-continental railways (most notably the Canadian Pacific Railway), opened the prairies to settlement with the Dominion Lands Act, and established the North West Mounted Police to assert its authority over this territory. Under Liberal Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier, continental European immigrants settled the prairies, and Alberta and Saskatchewan became provinces in 1905.

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Canada automatically entered the First World War in 1914 with Britain's declaration of war, sending volunteers to the Western Front to fight as a national contingent. The Conscription Crisis of 1917 erupted when conservative Prime Minister Robert Borden brought in compulsory military service over the objection of French-speaking Quebecers. In 1919, Canada joined the League of Nations independently of Britain; in 1931 the Statute of Westminster affirmed Canada's independence.

The Great Depression of 1929 brought economic hardship to all of Canada. In response, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) in Alberta and Saskatchewan presaged a welfare state as pioneered by Tommy Douglas in the 1940s and 1950s. Canada declared war on Germany independently during World War II under Liberal Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, three days after Britain. The first Canadian Army units arrived in Britain in December 1939.[10] The economy boomed as industry manufactured military materiel for Canada, Britain, China and the Soviet Union. Despite another Conscription Crisis in Quebec, Canada finished the war with one of the largest militaries in the world.[10]

In 1949, Newfoundland joined Confederation as Canada's 10th province. Post-war prosperity and economic expansion ignited a baby boom and attracted immigration from war-ravaged European countries.[11]

Quebec underwent profound social and economic changes during the Quiet Revolution of the 1960s. Québécois nationalists began pressing for greater provincial autonomy. The separatist Parti Québécois first came to power in 1976. A referendum on sovereignty-association in 1980 was rejected by a solid majority of the population, and a second referendum in 1995 was rejected by a slimmer margin of just 50.6% to 49.4%.[12] In 1997, the Canadian Supreme Court ruled unilateral secession by a province to be unconstitutional; Quebec's sovereignty movement has continued nonetheless.[12]

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Under successive Liberal governments of Lester B. Pearson and Pierre Trudeau, a new Canadian nationalism emerged. Canada adopted its current Maple Leaf Flag in 1965. In response to a more assertive French-speaking Quebec, the federal government became officially bilingual with the Official Languages Act of 1969. Non-discriminatory Immigration Acts were introduced in 1967 and 1976, and official multiculturalism in 1971; waves of non-European immigration have changed the face of the country. Social democratic programs such as Universal Health Care, the Canada Pension Plan, and Canada Student Loans were initiated in the 1960s and consolidated in the 1970s; provincial governments, particularly Quebec, fought these as incursions into their jurisdictions. Finally, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau pushed through the patriation of the constitution from Britain, enshrining a Charter of Rights and Freedoms based on individual rights in the Constitution Act of 1982.

Economic integration with the United States has increased significantly since World War II. The Canada-United States Automotive Agreement (or Auto Pact) in 1965 and the Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement of 1987 were defining moments in integrating the two economies. Canadian nationalists continued to worry about their cultural autonomy as American television shows, movies and corporations became omnipresent.[13] However, Canadians take special pride in their system of universal health care and their commitment to multiculturalism.[14]

GovernmentEdit

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Canada is a constitutional monarchy with Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada as head of state,[15][16] and a parliamentary democracy with a federal system of parliamentary government and strong democratic traditions.

Canada's constitution governs the legal framework of the country and consists of written text and unwritten traditions and conventions.[17] The basic framework of the Canadian constitution is contained in the British North America Act 1867, renamed the Constitution Act 1867 in 1982. It states that Canada has a constitution "similar in principle to that of the United Kingdom" and divides the powers between the federal and provincial governments. The Constitution includes the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees basic rights and freedoms for Canadians that, generally, cannot be overridden by legislation of any level of government in Canada. It contains, however, a "notwithstanding clause", which allows the federal parliament and the provincial legislatures the power to override some other sections of the Charter temporarily, for a period of five years.

The position of Prime Minister, Canada's head of government, belongs to the current leader of the political party that can obtain the confidence of a plurality in the House of Commons. The Prime Minister and their Cabinet are formally appointed by the Governor General (who is the Monarch's representative in Canada). However, the Prime Minister chooses the Cabinet, and by convention, the Governor General respects the Prime Minister's choices. The Cabinet is traditionally drawn from members of the Prime Minister's party in both legislative houses, and mostly from the House of Commons. Executive power is exercised by the Prime Minister and Cabinet, all of whom are sworn into the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, and become Ministers of the Crown. The Prime Minister exercises vast political power, especially in the appointment of other officials within the government and civil service. Michaëlle Jean has served as Governor General since September 27, 2005, and Stephen Harper, leader of the Conservative Party, has been Prime Minister since February 6, 2006.

The federal parliament is made up of the Queen and two houses: an elected House of Commons and an appointed Senate. Each member in the House of Commons is elected by simple plurality in a "riding" or electoral district; general elections are called by the Governor General when the Prime Minister so advises. While there is no minimum term for a Parliament, a new election must be called within five years of the last general election. Members of the Senate, whose seats are apportioned on a regional basis, are chosen by the Prime Minister and formally appointed by the Governor General, and serve until age 75.

Canada's four major political parties are the Conservative Party of Canada, the Liberal Party of Canada, the New Democratic Party (NDP), and the Bloc Québécois. The current government is formed by the Conservative Party of Canada. While the Green Party of Canada and other smaller parties do not have current representation in Parliament, the list of historical parties with elected representation is substantial.

LawEdit

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Canada's judiciary plays an important role in interpreting laws and has the power to strike down laws that violate the Constitution. The Supreme Court of Canada is the highest court and final arbiter and is led by the Right Honourable Madam Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, P.C. Its nine members are appointed by the Governor General on the advice of the Prime Minister. All judges at the superior and appellate levels are appointed by the Governor General on the advice of the prime minister and minister of justice, after consultation with non-governmental legal bodies. The federal cabinet appoints justices to superior courts at the provincial and territorial levels. Judicial posts at the lower provincial and territorial levels are filled by their respective governments (see Court system of Canada for more detail).

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 a provincial responsibility, but in rural areas of all provinces except Ontario and Quebec, policing is contracted to the federal Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

Foreign relations and militaryEdit

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Canada has a close relationship with the United States, sharing the world's longest undefended border, co-operating on some military campaigns and exercises, and being each other's largest trading partners. Canada also shares history and long relationships with the United Kingdom and France, the two former imperial powers most influential in its founding. These relations extend to other former-members of the British and French empires, through Canada's membership in the Commonwealth of Nations and La Francophonie.

Canada joined the Organization of American States (OAS) in 1990 and hosted the OAS General Assembly in Windsor in June 2000, and the third Summit of the Americas in Quebec City in April 2001. Canada seeks to expand its ties to Pacific Rim economies through membership in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC).

Over the past sixty years, Canada has been an advocate for multilateralism, making efforts to resolve global issues in collaboration with other nations.[18][19] This was clearly demonstrated during the Suez Crisis of 1956 when Lester B. Pearson eased tensions by proposing peacekeeping efforts and the inception of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force.[20] In that spirit, Canada developed and has tried to maintain a leading role in UN peacekeeping efforts; Canada has served in 50 peacekeeping missions, including every UN peacekeeping effort until 1989.[21] Canada's UN peacekeeping contributions have diminished over the first years of the 21st century. Although Canadian foreign policy is often similar to that of the United States, Canada has always maintained an independent foreign policy in such areas as maintaining full diplomatic and trade relations with Cuba.

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A founding member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), Canada currently employs about 64,000 regular and 26,000 reserve military personnel.[22] The unified Canadian Forces (CF) comprise the army, navy, and air force. Major CF equipment deployed includes 1,400 armoured fighting vehicles, 34 combat vessels, and 861 aircraft.[23]

In addition to major participation in the Second Boer War, the First World War, the Second World War, and the Korean War, Canada has maintained forces in international missions under the United Nations and NATO since 1950, including peacekeeping missions, various missions in the former Yugoslavia, and support to coalition forces in the First Gulf War. Since 2001, Canada has had troops deployed in Afghanistan as part of the U.S. stabilization force and the UN-authorized, NATO-commanded International Security Assistance Force. Canada's Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) has participated in three major relief efforts in the past two years; the two-hundred member team has been deployed in relief operations after the December 2004 tsunami in South Asia, the Hurricane Katrina in September 2005 and the Kashmir earthquake in October 2005.

In February 2007, Canada, Italy, Britain, Norway, and Russia announced their funding commitments to launch a $1.5 billion project to help develop vaccines they said could save millions of lives in poor nations, and called on others to join them.[24]

Provinces and territories Edit

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Canada is composed of ten provinces and three territories. The provinces are Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, and Saskatchewan. The three territories are the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Yukon. The provinces have a large degree of autonomy from the federal government, the territories somewhat less. Each has its own provincial or territorial symbols.

The provinces are responsible for most of Canada's social programs (such as health care, education, and welfare) and together 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.

All provinces have unicameral, elected legislatures headed by a Premier selected in the same way as the Prime Minister of Canada. Each province also has a Lieutenant-Governor representing the Queen, analogous to the Governor General of Canada, appointed on the recommendation of the Prime Minister of Canada, though with increasing levels of consultation with provincial governments in recent years.

Geography and climateEdit

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Canada occupies most of the northern portion of North America, sharing land borders with the contiguous United States to the south and with the US state of Alaska to the northwest, stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west; to the north lies the Arctic Ocean.[25] Since 1925, Canada has claimed the portion of the Arctic between 60°W and 141°W longitude;[26] this claim is not universally recognized. The northernmost settlement in Canada (and in the world) is Canadian Forces Station (CFS) Alert on the northern tip of Ellesmere Island—latitude 82.5°N—just 817 kilometres (450 nautical miles) from the North Pole.[27] Canada is the world's second-largest country in total area, after Russia, and the fourth largest in land area, after Russia, China and the United States.[28]

The population density of 3.5 people per square kilometre (9.1/mi²) is among the lowest in the world.[29] The most densely populated part of the country is the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor along the Great Lakes and Saint Lawrence River in the southeast.[30] To the north of this region is the broad Canadian Shield, an area of rock scoured clean by the last ice age, thinly soiled, rich in minerals, and dotted with lakes and rivers—Canada by far has more lakes than any other country in the world and has a large amount of the world's freshwater.[31][32]

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In eastern Canada, the Saint Lawrence River widens into the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, the world's largest estuary; the island of Newfoundland lies at its mouth. South of the Gulf, the Canadian Maritimes protrude eastward along the Appalachian Mountain range from northern New England and the Gaspé Peninsula of Quebec. New Brunswick and Nova Scotia are divided by the Bay of Fundy, which experiences the world's largest tidal variations. Ontario and Hudson Bay dominate central Canada. West of Ontario, the broad, flat Canadian Prairies spread toward the Rocky Mountains, which separate them from British Columbia.

Northern Canadian vegetation tapers from coniferous forests to tundra and finally to Arctic barrens in the far north. The northern Canadian mainland is ringed with a vast archipelago containing some of the world's largest islands.

Average winter and summer high temperatures across Canada vary depending on the location. Winters can be harsh in many regions of the country, particularly in the Prairie provinces, where daily average temperatures are near −15°C (5°F), but can drop below -40°C (-40°F) with severe wind chills.[34] Coastal British Columbia is an exception and enjoys a temperate climate with a mild and rainy winter.

On the east and west coast average high temperatures are generally in the low 20°C (68 to 74°F), while between the coasts the average summer high temperature range between 25°C to 30°C (78 to 86°F) with occasional extreme heat in some interior locations exceeding 40°C (104°F).[35][36] For a more complete description of climate across Canada see Environment Canada's Website.[37]

EconomyEdit

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Canada is one of the world's wealthiest nations with a high per capita income, a member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Group of Eight (G8). Canada is a free market economy with slightly more government intervention than the United States, but much less than most European nations.[38] Canada has traditionally had a lower per capita gross domestic product (GDP) than its southern neighbour (whereas wealth has been more equally divided), but higher than the large western European economies.[39][40] For the past decade, the Canadian economy has been growing rapidly with low unemployment and large government surpluses on the federal level. Today Canada closely resembles the U.S. in its market-oriented economic system, pattern of production, and high living standards.[41] While as of October 2006, Canada's national unemployment rate of 6.3% is among its lowest in 30 years, provincial unemployment rates vary from a low of 3.6% in Alberta to a high of 14.6% in Newfoundland and Labrador.[42]

In the past century, the growth of the manufacturing, mining, and service sectors has transformed the nation from a largely rural economy into one primarily industrial and urban. As with other first world nations, the Canadian economy is dominated by the service industry, which employs about three quarters of Canadians.[1] However, Canada is unusual among developed countries in the importance of the primary sector, with the logging and oil industries being two of Canada's most important.

Canada is one of the few developed nations that is a net exporter of energy.[1] Canada has vast deposits of natural gas on the east coast and large oil and gas resources centred in Alberta, and also present in neighbouring British Columbia and Saskatchewan. The vast Athabasca Tar Sands give Canada the world's second largest reserves of oil behind Saudi Arabia.[43] In Quebec, British Columbia, Newfoundland & Labrador, Ontario and Manitoba, hydroelectric power is a cheap and relatively environmentally friendly source of abundant energy.

Canada is one of the world's most important suppliers of agricultural products, with the Canadian Prairies one of the most important suppliers of wheat and other grains.[44] Canada is the world's largest producer of zinc and uranium and a world leader in many other natural resources such as gold, nickel, aluminum, and lead;[45] many, if not most, towns in the northern part of the country, where agriculture is difficult, exist because of a nearby mine or source of timber. Canada also has a sizeable manufacturing sector centred in southern Ontario and Quebec, with automobiles and aeronautics representing particularly important industries.

Canada is highly dependent on international trade, especially trade with the United States. The 1989 Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) (which included Mexico) touched off a dramatic increase in trade and economic integration with the U.S. Since 2001, Canada has successfully avoided economic recession and has maintained the best overall economic performance in the G8.[46] Since the mid 1990s, Canada's federal government has posted annual budgetary surpluses and has steadily paid down the national debt.

DemographicsEdit

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The 2006 national census recorded 31,612,897 people which was a rise of 5.4% since 2001.[49] Population growth is largely accomplished through immigration and, to a lesser extent, natural growth. About three-quarters of Canada's population live within 160 kilometres (100 mi) of the U.S. border.[50] A similar proportion live in urban areas concentrated in the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor (notably the Golden Horseshoe - South Central Ontario, Montreal, and Ottawa metropolitan areas, the BC Lower Mainland (Vancouver and environs), and the Calgary-Edmonton Corridor in Alberta.[51]

Canada is an ethnically diverse nation. According to the 2001 census, it has 34 ethnic groups with at least one hundred thousand members each. In the 2001 census, 83% (24,618,250 respondents out of 29,639,035 respondents) of the total population claimed they are white.[52] The largest ethnic group is English (20.2%), followed by French (15.8%), Scottish (14.0%), Irish (12.9%), German (9.3%), Italian (4.3%), Chinese (3.7%), Ukrainian (3.6%), and First Nations (3.4%) - although almost 40% of respondents identified their ethnicity as "Canadian."[53] Canada's aboriginal population is growing almost twice as fast as the rest of the Canadian population. In 2001, 13.4% of the population belonged to non-aboriginal visible minorities.[54]

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According to the federal government, Canada has the highest per capita immigration rate in the world,[55] driven by economic, family reunification, and humanitarian reasons. Immigrants are particularly attracted to the major urban areas of Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal.

Canadians adhere to a wide variety of religions, as people in Canada have the freedom of religion as one of their rights. According to 2001 census,[56] 77.1% of Canadians identified as being Christians; of this, Catholics make up the largest group (43.6% of Canadians). The largest Protestant denomination is the United Church of Canada; about 16.5% of Canadians declared no religious affiliation, and the remaining 6.3% were affiliated with religions other than Christianity, of which the largest is Islam numbering 1.9%, followed by Judaism: 1.1%.

In Canada, the provinces and territories are responsible for education; thus Canada has no national department of education. Each of the thirteen education systems are similar while reflecting their own regional history, culture and geography.[57] The mandatory school age varies across Canada but generally ranges between the ages of 5-7 to 16-18,[57] contributing to an adult literacy rate that is 99%.[1] Postsecondary education is the responsibility of the provincial and territorial governments that provide most of their funding; the federal government provides additional funding through research grants. In 2002, 43% of Canadians aged between 25 and 64 had post-secondary education; for those aged 25 to 34 the postsecondary attainment reaches 51%.[58]

LanguageEdit

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Canada's two official languages, English and French, are the mother tongues of 59.7% and 23.2% of the population respectively,[59] and the languages most spoken at home by 68.3% and 22.3% of the population respectively.[60] On July 7, 1969, under the Official Languages Act, French was made commensurate to English throughout the federal government. This started a process that led to Canada redefining itself as an officially bilingual nation.

English and French have equal status in federal courts, Parliament, and in all federal institutions. The public has the right, where there is sufficient demand, to receive federal government services in either English or French. While multiculturalism is official policy, to become a citizen one must be able to speak either English or French, and 98.5% of Canadians speak at least one (English only: 67.5%, French only: 13.3%, both: 17.7%).[61]

French is mostly spoken in Quebec, but there are substantial Francophone populations elsewhere, mainly in the northern parts of New Brunswick, eastern, northern and southwestern Ontario, and southern Manitoba. Of those who speak French as a first language, 85% live in Quebec. Ontario has the largest French population outside Quebec. French has been the only official language of Quebec since 1974; New Brunswick is the only officially bilingual province in the country.[62] No provinces other than Quebec and New Brunswick have constitutionally official language(s) as such, but French is used as a language of instruction, in courts, and other government services in all of the majority English or Inuktitut speaking provinces and territories. In Ontario, French has some legal status but is not fully co-official. Several aboriginal languages have official status in Northwest Territories. Inuktitut is the majority language in Nunavut, and one of three official languages in the territory.

Non-official languages are important in Canada, with 5,202,245 people listing one as a first language.[59] Some significant non-official first languages include Chinese (853,745 first-language speakers), Italian (469,485), German (438,080), and Punjabi (271,220).[59]

CultureEdit

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Canadian culture has historically been influenced by British, French, and Aboriginal cultures and traditions. It has also been influenced by American culture because of its proximity and migration between the two countries. American media and entertainment are popular if not dominant in Canada; conversely, many Canadian cultural products and entertainers are successful in the US and worldwide.[63] Many cultural products are marketed toward a unified "North American" or global market.

The creation and preservation of distinctly Canadian culture are 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).[64]

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Canada is a geographically vast and ethnically diverse country. There are cultural variations and distinctions from province to province and region to region. Canadian culture has also been greatly influenced by immigration from all over the world. Many Canadians value multiculturalism, and see Canadian culture as being inherently multicultural.[14] Multicultural heritage is enshrined in Section 27 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

National symbols are influenced by natural, historical, and First Nations sources. Particularly, the use of the maple leaf, as a Canadian symbol, dates back to the early 18th century and is depicted on its current and previous flags, the penny, and on the coat of arms.[65] Other prominent symbols include the beaver, Canada goose, common loon, the Crown, and the RCMP.[65]

Canada's official national sports are ice hockey (winter) and lacrosse (summer).[66] Hockey is a national pastime and the most popular spectator sport in the country. It is the most popular sport Canadians play, with 1.65 million active participants in 2004.[67] Canada's six largest metropolitan areas - Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa, Calgary, and Edmonton - have franchises in the National Hockey League (NHL), and there are more Canadian players in the league than from all other countries combined. After hockey, other popular spectator sports include curling and football; the latter is played professionally in the Canadian Football League (CFL). Golf, baseball, skiing, soccer, volleyball, and basketball are widely played at youth and amateur levels,[67] but professional leagues and franchises are not as widespread. Canada will host the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup, and the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and Whistler, British Columbia.[68][69]

International rankingsEdit

Organization Survey Ranking
A.T. Kearney/Foreign Policy Magazine Globalization Index 2005 6 out of 111
IMD International World Competitiveness Yearbook 2005 5 out of 60
The Economist The World in 2005 - Worldwide quality-of-life index, 2005 14 out of 111
Yale University/Columbia University Environmental Sustainability Index, 2005 (pdf) 6 out of 146
Reporters Without Borders World-wide Press Freedom Index 2006 16 out of 168
Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index 2005 14 out of 159
Heritage Foundation/The Wall Street Journal Index of Economic Freedom, 2007 10 out of 161

Canada was ranked number one country by the United Nations' Human Development Index 10 times out of 16 between 1980 and 2004.

See alsoEdit

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NotesEdit

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  24. "Rich Nations Launch Vaccine Pact". Reuters. February 10, 2007.
  25. In addition, Canadian territory includes a small enclave in France surrounding the Canadian National Vimy Memorial at the site of the Battle of Vimy Ridge: With what flag should we honour Vimy Ridge? "But Veterans Affairs cited a governmental protocol that allows no other flag than the Maple Leaf to fly on federal property. The land on which the Vimy Memorial was build was donated to Canada by France."
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  28. World Factbook: Area Country Comparison Table
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  52. Ethnic diversity of Canada
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  58. Template:Cite web
  59. 59.0 59.1 59.2 Template:Cite web
  60. Template:Cite web
  61. Template:Cite web
  62. While Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec allow for both English and French to be spoken in the provincial legislatures, and laws are enacted in both languages, New Brunswick is the only province to have a statement of official bilingualism in the constitution. See Canadian Heritage
  63. Template:Cite web
  64. Template:Cite web
  65. 65.0 65.1 Template:Cite book
  66. Template:Cite web
  67. 67.0 67.1 Template:Cite web
  68. Template:Cite web
  69. Template:Cite web

ReferencesEdit


External linksEdit

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be-x-old:Канада

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