Canada

Canada

Overview
Canada is a North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

n country consisting of ten provinces and three territories
Provinces and territories of Canada
The provinces and territories of Canada combine to make up the world's second-largest country by area. There are ten provinces and three territories...

. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

 in the east to the Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

 in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean
Arctic Ocean
The Arctic Ocean, located in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Arctic north polar region, is the smallest and shallowest of the world's five major oceanic divisions...

. Spanning over 9.9 million square kilometres, Canada is the world's second-largest country by total area, and its common border with the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 is the longest land border in the world.

The land that is now Canada was inhabited for millennia by various groups of Aboriginal peoples
Aboriginal peoples in Canada
Aboriginal peoples in Canada comprise the First Nations, Inuit and Métis. The descriptors "Indian" and "Eskimo" have fallen into disuse in Canada and are commonly considered pejorative....

.
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Timeline

1534   Jacques Cartier begins the voyage during which he discovers Canada and Labrador.

1541   French explorer Jacques Cartier lands near Quebec City in his third voyage to Canada.

1578   Martin Frobisher sails from Harwich, England to Frobisher Bay, Canada, eventually to mine fool's gold, used to pave streets in London.

1604   Samuel de Champlain discovers the mouth of the Saint John River, site of Reversing Falls and the present day city of Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada.

1613   The first English child born in Canada at Cuper's Cove, Newfoundland to Nicholas Guy.

1620   Construction of the oldest stone church in French North America, Notre-Dame-des-Anges, begins in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

1713   The French residents of Acadia are given one year to declare allegiance to Britain or leave Nova Scotia, Canada.

1733   The right of Canadians to keep Indian slaves is upheld at Quebec City.

1745   British troops take Cape Breton Island, which is now part of Nova Scotia, Canada.

1760   Great Upheaval: New England planters arrive to claim land in Nova Scotia, Canada taken from the Acadians.

 
Quotations

I am proud to be the first member of the Canadian Royal Family to be greeted in Canada's newest Territory.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II|Queen Elizabeth II of Canada speaking in Iqaluit, Nunavut, from the Throne of the Territorial Legislature, 2002.

As we enter our centennial year we are still a young nation, very much in the formative stages. Our national condition is still flexible enough that we can make almost anything we wish of our nation. No other country is in a better position than Canada to go ahead with the evolution of a national purpose devoted to all that is good and noble and exellent in the human spirit.

Lester B. Pearson

Canada is a country whose main exports are hockey players and cold fronts. Our main imports are baseball players and acid rain.

Pierre E. Trudeau

We'll explain the appeal of curling to you if you explain the appeal of the National Rifle Association to us.

Andy Barrie

Canada is like an old cow. The West feeds it. Ontario and Quebec milk it. And you can well imagine what it's doing in the Maritimes.

Former Saskatchewan premier Tommy Douglas

Canadians are the people who learned to live without the bold accents of the natural ego-trippers of other lands.

Marshall McLuhan

I am so excited about Canadians ruling the world.

Prime Minister John Diefenbaker

"If the national mental illness of the United States is megalomania, that of Canada is paranoid schizophrenia."

en:Margaret Atwood|Margaret Atwood

"We French & English never lost our civil war/ endure it still/ a bloody civil bore."

Earle Birney, "Can. Lit."
Encyclopedia
Canada is a North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

n country consisting of ten provinces and three territories
Provinces and territories of Canada
The provinces and territories of Canada combine to make up the world's second-largest country by area. There are ten provinces and three territories...

. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

 in the east to the Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

 in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean
Arctic Ocean
The Arctic Ocean, located in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Arctic north polar region, is the smallest and shallowest of the world's five major oceanic divisions...

. Spanning over 9.9 million square kilometres, Canada is the world's second-largest country by total area, and its common border with the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 is the longest land border in the world.

The land that is now Canada was inhabited for millennia by various groups of Aboriginal peoples
Aboriginal peoples in Canada
Aboriginal peoples in Canada comprise the First Nations, Inuit and Métis. The descriptors "Indian" and "Eskimo" have fallen into disuse in Canada and are commonly considered pejorative....

. Beginning in the late 15th century, British
British colonization of the Americas
British colonization of the Americas began in 1607 in Jamestown, Virginia and reached its peak when colonies had been established throughout the Americas...

 and French
French colonization of the Americas
The French colonization of the Americas began in the 16th century, and continued in the following centuries as France established a colonial empire in the Western Hemisphere. France founded colonies in much of eastern North America, on a number of Caribbean islands, and in South America...

 expeditions explored, and later settled, along the region's Atlantic coast. France ceded nearly all of its colonies in North America
New France
New France was the area colonized by France in North America during a period beginning with the exploration of the Saint Lawrence River by Jacques Cartier in 1534 and ending with the cession of New France to Spain and Great Britain in 1763...

 in 1763 after the Seven Years' War
Seven Years' War
The Seven Years' War was a global military war between 1756 and 1763, involving most of the great powers of the time and affecting Europe, North America, Central America, the West African coast, India, and the Philippines...

. In 1867, with the union of three British North America
British North America
British North America is a historical term. It consisted of the colonies and territories of the British Empire in continental North America after the end of the American Revolutionary War and the recognition of American independence in 1783.At the start of the Revolutionary War in 1775 the British...

n colonies through Confederation
Canadian Confederation
Canadian Confederation was the process by which the federal Dominion of Canada was formed on July 1, 1867. On that day, three British colonies were formed into four Canadian provinces...

, Canada was formed as a federal
Federalism
Federalism is a political concept in which a group of members are bound together by covenant with a governing representative head. The term "federalism" is also used to describe a system of the government in which sovereignty is constitutionally divided between a central governing authority and...

 dominion
Dominion
A dominion, often Dominion, refers to one of a group of autonomous polities that were nominally under British sovereignty, constituting the British Empire and British Commonwealth, beginning in the latter part of the 19th century. They have included Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Newfoundland,...

 of four provinces. This began an accretion of provinces and territories
Territorial evolution of Canada
The federation of Canada was created in 1867 when three colonies of British North America were united. One of these colonies split into two new provinces, three other colonies joined later...

 and a process of increasing autonomy from the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

. This widening autonomy was highlighted by the Statute of Westminster 1931
Statute of Westminster 1931
The Statute of Westminster 1931 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Passed on 11 December 1931, the Act established legislative equality for the self-governing dominions of the British Empire with the United Kingdom...

 and culminated in the Canada Act 1982
Canada Act 1982
The Canada Act 1982 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that was passed at the request of the Canadian federal government to "patriate" Canada's constitution, ending the necessity for the country to request certain types of amendment to the Constitution of Canada to be made by the...

, which severed the vestiges of legal dependence on the British parliament.

Canada is a federal state that is governed as a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy is a form of government in which a monarch acts as head of state within the parameters of a constitution, whether it be a written, uncodified or blended constitution...

 with Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

. It is a bilingual nation with both English
Canadian English
Canadian English is the variety of English spoken in Canada. English is the first language, or "mother tongue", of approximately 24 million Canadians , and more than 28 million are fluent in the language...

 and French
Canadian French
Canadian French is an umbrella term referring to the varieties of French spoken in Canada. French is the mother tongue of nearly seven million Canadians, a figure constituting roughly 22% of the national population. At the federal level it has co-official status alongside English...

 as official languages at the federal level. One of the world's most highly-developed countries, Canada has a diversified economy that is reliant upon its abundant natural resources and upon trade – particularly with the United States, with which Canada has had a long and complex relationship. It is a member of the G7, G8
G8
The Group of Eight is a forum, created by France in 1975, for the governments of seven major economies: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In 1997, the group added Russia, thus becoming the G8...

, G20, NATO, OECD, WTO, Commonwealth of Nations
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

, Francophonie, OAS, APEC, and UN. With the sixth-highest Human Development Index
Human Development Index
The Human Development Index is a composite statistic used to rank countries by level of "human development" and separate "very high human development", "high human development", "medium human development", and "low human development" countries...

 globally, Canada has one of the highest standards of living in the world.

Etymology



The name Canada comes from the St. Lawrence Iroquoian
St. Lawrence Iroquoians
The St. Lawrence Iroquoians were a prehistoric First Nations/Native American indigenous people who lived from the 14th century until about 1580 CE along the shores of the St. Lawrence River in present-day Quebec and Ontario, Canada, and New York State, United States. They spoke Laurentian...

 word kanata, meaning "village" or "settlement".
In 1535, indigenous inhabitants of the present-day Quebec City
Quebec City
Quebec , also Québec, Quebec City or Québec City is the capital of the Canadian province of Quebec and is located within the Capitale-Nationale region. It is the second most populous city in Quebec after Montreal, which is about to the southwest...

 region used the word to direct French explorer Jacques Cartier
Jacques Cartier
Jacques Cartier was a French explorer of Breton origin who claimed what is now Canada for France. He was the first European to describe and map the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the shores of the Saint Lawrence River, which he named "The Country of Canadas", after the Iroquois names for the two big...

 to the village of Stadacona
Stadacona
Stadacona was a 16th century St. Lawrence Iroquoian village near present-day Quebec City.French explorer and navigator Jacques Cartier, travelling and charting the Saint Lawrence River, reached it on 7 September 1535. He returned to Stadacona to spend the winter there with his group of 110 men...

. Cartier later used the word Canada to refer not only to that particular village, but also the entire area subject to Donnacona
Donnacona
Chief Donnacona was the chief of Stadacona located at the present site of Quebec City, Canada. French Explorer Jacques Cartier, concluding his second voyage to what is now Canada, returned to France with Donnacona. Donnacona was treated well in France but died there...

 (the chief at Stadacona); by 1545, European books and maps had begun referring to this region as Canada.

In the 17th and early 18th century, "Canada" referred to the part of New France
New France
New France was the area colonized by France in North America during a period beginning with the exploration of the Saint Lawrence River by Jacques Cartier in 1534 and ending with the cession of New France to Spain and Great Britain in 1763...

 that lay along the Saint Lawrence River
Saint Lawrence River
The Saint Lawrence is a large river flowing approximately from southwest to northeast in the middle latitudes of North America, connecting the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean. It is the primary drainage conveyor of the Great Lakes Basin...

 and the northern shores of the Great Lakes
Great Lakes
The Great Lakes are a collection of freshwater lakes located in northeastern North America, on the Canada – United States border. Consisting of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, they form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth by total surface, coming in second by volume...

. The area was later split into two British colonies, Upper Canada
Upper Canada
The Province of Upper Canada was a political division in British Canada established in 1791 by the British Empire to govern the central third of the lands in British North America and to accommodate Loyalist refugees from the United States of America after the American Revolution...

 and Lower Canada
Lower Canada
The Province of Lower Canada was a British colony on the lower Saint Lawrence River and the shores of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence...

. They were re-unified as the Province of Canada
Province of Canada
The Province of Canada, United Province of Canada, or the United Canadas was a British colony in North America from 1841 to 1867. Its formation reflected recommendations made by John Lambton, 1st Earl of Durham in the Report on the Affairs of British North America following the Rebellions of...

 in 1841.
Upon Confederation
Canadian Confederation
Canadian Confederation was the process by which the federal Dominion of Canada was formed on July 1, 1867. On that day, three British colonies were formed into four Canadian provinces...

 in 1867, Canada was adopted as the legal name for the new country, and the word Dominion was conferred as the country's title. However, as Canada asserted its political autonomy from the United Kingdom, the federal government increasingly used simply Canada on state documents and treaties, a change that was reflected in the renaming of the national holiday from Dominion Day
Dominion Day
Dominion Day is a commemoration day of the granting of national status in various Commonwealth countries.-Canada:Dominion Day was the name of the holiday commemorating the formation of Canada as a Dominion on 1 July 1867...

 to Canada Day
Canada Day
Canada Day , formerly Dominion Day , is the national day of Canada, a federal statutory holiday celebrating the anniversary of the July 1, 1867, enactment of the British North America Act , which united three British colonies into a single country, called Canada, within the British Empire...

 in 1982.

Aboriginal peoples



Archaeological
Archaeology of the Americas
The archaeology of the Americas is the study of the archaeology of North America , Central America, South America and the Caribbean...

 and genetic studies have indicated a human presence in the northern Yukon
Yukon
Yukon is the westernmost and smallest of Canada's three federal territories. It was named after the Yukon River. The word Yukon means "Great River" in Gwich’in....

 region from 26,500 years ago, and in southern Ontario
Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

 from 9,500 years ago.
Old Crow Flats
Old Crow Flats
Old Crow Flats is a wetland complex in northern Yukon, Canada. It is north of the Arctic Circle and south of the Beaufort Sea, and is nearly surrounded by mountains. The site is protected by the Yukon Wildlife Ordinance and Migratory Birds Convention Act...

 and Bluefish Caves
Bluefish Caves
Bluefish Caves is an archaeological site in the Yukon Territory of Canada from which a specimen of allegedly human-worked mammoth bone has been radiocarbon dated to 28,000 years before present ....

 are two of the earliest archaeological sites of human (Paleo-Indians) habitation in Canada. The characteristics of Canadian Aboriginal 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 archaeological investigations.

The aboriginal population is estimated to have been between 200,000 and two million in the late 15th century, with a figure of 500,000 accepted by Canada's Royal Commission on Aboriginal Health. Repeated outbreaks of European infectious disease
Infectious disease
Infectious diseases, also known as communicable diseases, contagious diseases or transmissible diseases comprise clinically evident illness resulting from the infection, presence and growth of pathogenic biological agents in an individual host organism...

s such as influenza
Influenza
Influenza, commonly referred to as the flu, is an infectious disease caused by RNA viruses of the family Orthomyxoviridae , that affects birds and mammals...

, measles
Measles
Measles, also known as rubeola or morbilli, is an infection of the respiratory system caused by a virus, specifically a paramyxovirus of the genus Morbillivirus. Morbilliviruses, like other paramyxoviruses, are enveloped, single-stranded, negative-sense RNA viruses...

, and smallpox
Smallpox
Smallpox was an infectious disease unique to humans, caused by either of two virus variants, Variola major and Variola minor. The disease is also known by the Latin names Variola or Variola vera, which is a derivative of the Latin varius, meaning "spotted", or varus, meaning "pimple"...

, combined with other effects of European contact, resulted in a forty- to eighty-percent population decrease among aboriginal peoples in the centuries after the European arrival.
Aboriginal peoples in Canada include the First Nations
First Nations
First Nations is a term that collectively refers to various Aboriginal peoples in Canada who are neither Inuit nor Métis. There are currently over 630 recognised First Nations governments or bands spread across Canada, roughly half of which are in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia. The...

,
Inuit
Inuit
The Inuit are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples inhabiting the Arctic regions of Canada , Denmark , Russia and the United States . Inuit means “the people” in the Inuktitut language...

,
and Métis
Métis people (Canada)
The Métis are one of the Aboriginal peoples in Canada who trace their descent to mixed First Nations parentage. The term was historically a catch-all describing the offspring of any such union, but within generations the culture syncretised into what is today a distinct aboriginal group, with...

.
The Métis are a mixed-blood
Mixed-blood
The term mixed-blood in the United States is most often employed for individuals of mixed European and Native American ancestry who are not of Hispanic descent . Some of the most prominent in the 19th century were mixed-blood or mixed-race children born of marriages and unions between fur traders...

 people who originated in the mid-17th century when First Nations people and Inuit married European settlers. The Inuit had more limited interaction with European settlers during the colonization period.

European colonization



The first known attempt at European colonization
European colonization of the Americas
The start of the European colonization of the Americas is typically dated to 1492. The first Europeans to reach the Americas were the Vikings during the 11th century, who established several colonies in Greenland and one short-lived settlement in present day Newfoundland...

 began when Norsemen
Norsemen
Norsemen is used to refer to the group of people as a whole who spoke what is now called the Old Norse language belonging to the North Germanic branch of Indo-European languages, especially Norwegian, Icelandic, Faroese, Swedish and Danish in their earlier forms.The meaning of Norseman was "people...

 settled briefly at L'Anse aux Meadows
L'Anse aux Meadows
L'Anse aux Meadows is an archaeological site on the northernmost tip of the island of Newfoundland in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Discovered in 1960, it is the only known site of a Norse or Viking village in Canada, and in North America outside of Greenland...

 in Newfoundland around 1000.
No further European exploration occurred until 1497, when Italian seafarer John Cabot
John Cabot
John Cabot was an Italian navigator and explorer whose 1497 discovery of parts of North America is commonly held to have been the first European encounter with the continent of North America since the Norse Vikings in the eleventh century...

 explored Canada's Atlantic coast for England.
Basque
Basque people
The Basques as an ethnic group, primarily inhabit an area traditionally known as the Basque Country , a region that is located around the western end of the Pyrenees on the coast of the Bay of Biscay and straddles parts of north-central Spain and south-western France.The Basques are known in the...

 and Portuguese mariners established seasonal whaling and fishing outposts along the Atlantic coast in the early 16th century. In 1534, Jacques Cartier
Jacques Cartier
Jacques Cartier was a French explorer of Breton origin who claimed what is now Canada for France. He was the first European to describe and map the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the shores of the Saint Lawrence River, which he named "The Country of Canadas", after the Iroquois names for the two big...

 explored the Saint Lawrence River for France.

In 1583, Sir Humphrey Gilbert
Humphrey Gilbert
Sir Humphrey Gilbert of Devon in England was a half-brother of Sir Walter Raleigh. Adventurer, explorer, member of parliament, and soldier, he served during the reign of Queen Elizabeth and was a pioneer of English colonization in North America and the Plantations of Ireland.-Early life:Gilbert...

 claimed St. John's, Newfoundland
St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador
St. John's is the capital and largest city in Newfoundland and Labrador, and is the oldest English-founded city in North America. It is located on the eastern tip of the Avalon Peninsula on the island of Newfoundland. With a population of 192,326 as of July 1, 2010, the St...

, as the first North American English colony by the royal prerogative
Royal Prerogative
The royal prerogative is a body of customary authority, privilege, and immunity, recognized in common law and, sometimes, in civil law jurisdictions possessing a monarchy as belonging to the sovereign alone. It is the means by which some of the executive powers of government, possessed by and...

 of Queen Elizabeth I
Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty...

. French explorer Samuel de Champlain
Samuel de Champlain
Samuel de Champlain , "The Father of New France", was a French navigator, cartographer, draughtsman, soldier, explorer, geographer, ethnologist, diplomat, and chronicler. He founded New France and Quebec City on July 3, 1608....

 arrived in 1603, and established the first permanent European settlements at Port Royal
Port Royal, Nova Scotia
Port Royal was the capital of Acadia from 1605 to 1710 and is now a town called Annapolis Royal in the western part of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. Initially Port Royal was located on the north shore of the Annapolis Basin, Nova Scotia, at the site of the present reconstruction of the...

 in 1605 and Quebec City
Quebec City
Quebec , also Québec, Quebec City or Québec City is the capital of the Canadian province of Quebec and is located within the Capitale-Nationale region. It is the second most populous city in Quebec after Montreal, which is about to the southwest...

 in 1608. Among the French colonists
French colonization of the Americas
The French colonization of the Americas began in the 16th century, and continued in the following centuries as France established a colonial empire in the Western Hemisphere. France founded colonies in much of eastern North America, on a number of Caribbean islands, and in South America...

 of New France, Canadiens
French Canadian
French Canadian or Francophone Canadian, , generally refers to the descendents of French colonists who arrived in New France in the 17th and 18th centuries...

extensively settled the Saint Lawrence River valley and Acadians settled the present-day Maritimes
Maritimes
The Maritime provinces, also called the Maritimes or the Canadian Maritimes, is a region of Eastern Canada consisting of three provinces, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. On the Atlantic coast, the Maritimes are a subregion of Atlantic Canada, which also includes the...

, while fur traders
Coureur des bois
A coureur des bois or coureur de bois was an independent entrepreneurial French-Canadian woodsman who traveled in New France and the interior of North America. They travelled in the woods to trade various things for fur....

 and Catholic missionaries explored the Great Lakes, Hudson Bay
Hudson Bay
Hudson Bay , sometimes called Hudson's Bay, is a large body of saltwater in northeastern Canada. It drains a very large area, about , that includes parts of Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Alberta, most of Manitoba, southeastern Nunavut, as well as parts of North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota,...

, and the Mississippi watershed to Louisiana
Louisiana (New France)
Louisiana or French Louisiana was an administrative district of New France. Under French control from 1682–1763 and 1800–03, the area was named in honor of Louis XIV, by French explorer René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle...

. The Beaver Wars
Beaver Wars
The Beaver Wars, also sometimes called the Iroquois Wars or the French and Iroquois Wars, commonly refers to a series of conflicts fought in the mid-17th century in eastern North America...

 broke out in the mid-17th century over control of the North American fur trade
North American Fur Trade
The North American fur trade was the industry and activities related to the acquisition, exchange, and sale of animal furs in the North American continent. Indigenous peoples of different regions traded among themselves in the Pre-Columbian Era, but Europeans participated in the trade beginning...

.

The English established additional colonies in Cupids
Cupids, Newfoundland and Labrador
Cupids is a town of 790 on Conception Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. It has also been known as Coopers, Copers Cove, Cupers Cove, and Cuperts. It is the oldest continuously settled official British colony in Canada and possibly the oldest in North America...

 and Ferryland
Ferryland, Newfoundland and Labrador
Ferryland is a town in Newfoundland and Labrador on the Avalon Peninsula. According to the 2006 Statistics Canada census, its population is 529. Addresses in Ferryland use the alphanumerically lowest postal codes in Canada, starting with A0A....

, Newfoundland, beginning in 1610. The Thirteen Colonies
Thirteen Colonies
The Thirteen Colonies were English and later British colonies established on the Atlantic coast of North America between 1607 and 1733. They declared their independence in the American Revolution and formed the United States of America...

 were founded to the south soon after. A series of four French and Indian Wars
French and Indian Wars
The French and Indian Wars is a name used in the United States for a series of conflicts lasting 74 years in North America that represented colonial events related to the European dynastic wars...

 erupted between 1689 and 1763. Mainland Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the most populous province in Atlantic Canada. The name of the province is Latin for "New Scotland," but "Nova Scotia" is the recognized, English-language name of the province. The provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the...

 came under British rule with the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht
Treaty of Utrecht
The Treaty of Utrecht, which established the Peace of Utrecht, comprises a series of individual peace treaties, rather than a single document, signed by the belligerents in the War of Spanish Succession, in the Dutch city of Utrecht in March and April 1713...

; the Treaty of Paris (1763)
Treaty of Paris (1763)
The Treaty of Paris, often called the Peace of Paris, or the Treaty of 1763, was signed on 10 February 1763, by the kingdoms of Great Britain, France and Spain, with Portugal in agreement. It ended the French and Indian War/Seven Years' War...

 ceded Canada and most of New France to Britain
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 after the Seven Years' War
French and Indian War
The French and Indian War is the common American name for the war between Great Britain and France in North America from 1754 to 1763. In 1756, the war erupted into the world-wide conflict known as the Seven Years' War and thus came to be regarded as the North American theater of that war...

.

The Royal Proclamation of 1763
Royal Proclamation of 1763
The Royal Proclamation of 1763 was issued October 7, 1763, by King George III following Great Britain's acquisition of French territory in North America after the end of the French and Indian War/Seven Years' War...

 created the Province of Quebec out of New France, and annexed Cape Breton Island
Cape Breton Island
Cape Breton Island is an island on the Atlantic coast of North America. It likely corresponds to the word Breton, the French demonym for Brittany....

 to Nova Scotia. St. John's Island (now Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island is a Canadian province consisting of an island of the same name, as well as other islands. The maritime province is the smallest in the nation in both land area and population...

) became a separate colony in 1769. To avert conflict in Quebec, the British passed the Quebec Act
Quebec Act
The Quebec Act of 1774 was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain setting procedures of governance in the Province of Quebec...

 of 1774, expanding Quebec's territory to the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley
Ohio River
The Ohio River is the largest tributary, by volume, of the Mississippi River. At the confluence, the Ohio is even bigger than the Mississippi and, thus, is hydrologically the main stream of the whole river system, including the Allegheny River further upstream...

. It re-established the French language, Catholic faith, and French civil law there. This angered many residents of the Thirteen Colonies, fuelling anti-British sentiment in the years prior to the 1776 outbreak of the American Revolution
American Revolution
The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America...

.

The Treaty of Paris (1783)
Treaty of Paris (1783)
The Treaty of Paris, signed on September 3, 1783, ended the American Revolutionary War between Great Britain on the one hand and the United States of America and its allies on the other. The other combatant nations, France, Spain and the Dutch Republic had separate agreements; for details of...

 recognized American independence and ceded territories south of the Great Lakes to the United States. New Brunswick
New Brunswick
New Brunswick is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the only province in the federation that is constitutionally bilingual . The provincial capital is Fredericton and Saint John is the most populous city. Greater Moncton is the largest Census Metropolitan Area...

 was split from Nova Scotia as part of a reorganization of Loyalist settlements in the Maritimes. To accommodate English-speaking Loyalists in Quebec, the Constitutional Act of 1791
Constitutional Act of 1791
The Constitutional Act of 1791, formally The Clergy Endowments Act, 1791 , is an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain...

 divided the province into French-speaking Lower Canada
Lower Canada
The Province of Lower Canada was a British colony on the lower Saint Lawrence River and the shores of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence...

 (later Quebec) and English-speaking Upper Canada
Upper Canada
The Province of Upper Canada was a political division in British Canada established in 1791 by the British Empire to govern the central third of the lands in British North America and to accommodate Loyalist refugees from the United States of America after the American Revolution...

 (later Ontario), granting each its own elected legislative assembly.

The Canadas
The Canadas
The Canadas is the collective name for Upper Canada and Lower Canada, two British colonies in Canada. They were both created by the Constitutional Act of 1791 and abolished in 1841 with the union of Upper and Lower Canada....

 were the main front in the War of 1812
War of 1812
The War of 1812 was a military conflict fought between the forces of the United States of America and those of the British Empire. The Americans declared war in 1812 for several reasons, including trade restrictions because of Britain's ongoing war with France, impressment of American merchant...

 between the United States and Britain. Following the war, large-scale immigration to Canada from Britain and Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 began in 1815. Between 1825 and 1846, 626,628 European immigrants reportedly landed at Canadian ports.
Between one-quarter and one-third of all Europeans who immigrated to Canada before 1891 died of infectious diseases.

The desire for responsible government
Responsible government
Responsible government is a conception of a system of government that embodies the principle of parliamentary accountability which is the foundation of the Westminster system of parliamentary democracy...

 in the Canadas resulted in the abortive Rebellions of 1837
Rebellions of 1837
The Rebellions of 1837 were a pair of Canadian armed uprisings that occurred in 1837 and 1838 in response to frustrations in political reform. A key shared goal was the allowance of responsible government, which was eventually achieved in the incident's aftermath.-Rebellions:The rebellions started...

. The Durham Report subsequently recommended responsible government and the assimilation of French Canadians into English culture. The Act of Union 1840
Act of Union 1840
The Act of Union, formally the The British North America Act, 1840 , was enacted in July 1840 and proclaimed 10 February 1841. It abolished the legislatures of Lower Canada and Upper Canada and established a new political entity, the Province of Canada to replace them...

 merged The Canadas into a united Province of Canada
Province of Canada
The Province of Canada, United Province of Canada, or the United Canadas was a British colony in North America from 1841 to 1867. Its formation reflected recommendations made by John Lambton, 1st Earl of Durham in the Report on the Affairs of British North America following the Rebellions of...

. Responsible government was established for all British North American provinces by 1849. The signing of the Oregon Treaty
Oregon Treaty
The Oregon Treaty is a treaty between the United Kingdom and the United States that was signed on June 15, 1846, in Washington, D.C. The treaty brought an end to the Oregon boundary dispute by settling competing American and British claims to the Oregon Country, which had been jointly occupied by...

 by Britain and the United States in 1846 ended the Oregon boundary dispute
Oregon boundary dispute
The Oregon boundary dispute, or the Oregon Question, arose as a result of competing British and American claims to the Pacific Northwest of North America in the first half of the 19th century. Both the United Kingdom and the United States had territorial and commercial aspirations in the region...

, extending the border westward along the 49th parallel
49th parallel north
The 49th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 49 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Europe, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean....

. This paved the way for British colonies on Vancouver Island (1849)
Colony of Vancouver Island
The Colony of Vancouver Island , was a crown colony of British North America from 1849 to 1866, after which it was united with British Columbia. The united colony joined the Dominion of Canada through Confederation in 1871...

 and in British Columbia (1858)
Colony of British Columbia
The Colony of British Columbia was a crown colony in British North America from 1858 until 1866. At its creation, it physically constituted approximately half the present day Canadian province of British Columbia, since it did not include the Colony of Vancouver Island, the vast and still largely...

.

Confederation and expansion



Following several constitutional conferences, the 1867 Constitution Act
Constitution Act, 1867
The Constitution Act, 1867 , is a major part of Canada's Constitution. The Act created a federal dominion and defines much of the operation of the Government of Canada, including its federal structure, the House of Commons, the Senate, the justice system, and the taxation system...

 officially proclaimed Canadian Confederation on July 1, 1867, initially with four provinces – Ontario
Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

, Quebec
Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

, Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the most populous province in Atlantic Canada. The name of the province is Latin for "New Scotland," but "Nova Scotia" is the recognized, English-language name of the province. The provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the...

, and New Brunswick
New Brunswick
New Brunswick is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the only province in the federation that is constitutionally bilingual . The provincial capital is Fredericton and Saint John is the most populous city. Greater Moncton is the largest Census Metropolitan Area...

.
Canada assumed control of Rupert's Land
Rupert's Land
Rupert's Land, or Prince Rupert's Land, was a territory in British North America, consisting of the Hudson Bay drainage basin that was nominally owned by the Hudson's Bay Company for 200 years from 1670 to 1870, although numerous aboriginal groups lived in the same territory and disputed the...

 and the North-Western Territory
North-Western Territory
The North-Western Territory was a region of British North America until 1870. Named for where it lay in relation to Rupert's Land, the territory at its greatest extent covered what is now Yukon, mainland Northwest Territories, northwestern mainland Nunavut, northwestern Saskatchewan, northern...

 to form the Northwest Territories
Northwest Territories
The Northwest Territories is a federal territory of Canada.Located in northern Canada, the territory borders Canada's two other territories, Yukon to the west and Nunavut to the east, and three provinces: British Columbia to the southwest, and Alberta and Saskatchewan to the south...

, where the Métis' grievances ignited the Red River Rebellion
Red River Rebellion
The Red River Rebellion or Red River Resistance was the sequence of events related to the 1869 establishment of a provisional government by the Métis leader Louis Riel and his followers at the Red River Settlement, in what is now the Canadian province of Manitoba.The Rebellion was the first crisis...

 and the creation of the province of Manitoba
Manitoba
Manitoba is a Canadian prairie province with an area of . The province has over 110,000 lakes and has a largely continental climate because of its flat topography. Agriculture, mostly concentrated in the fertile southern and western parts of the province, is vital to the province's economy; other...

 in July 1870. British Columbia and Vancouver Island (which had been united
United Colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia
The Colony of British Columbia is a crown colony that resulted from the amalgamation of the two former colonies, the Colony of Vancouver Island and the mainland Colony of British Columbia...

 in 1866) joined the Confederation in 1871, while Prince Edward Island joined in 1873.
Prime Minister John A. Macdonald
John A. Macdonald
Sir John Alexander Macdonald, GCB, KCMG, PC, PC , QC was the first Prime Minister of Canada. The dominant figure of Canadian Confederation, his political career spanned almost half a century...

 and his Conservative
Conservative Party of Canada (historical)
The Conservative Party of Canada has gone by a variety of names over the years since Canadian Confederation. Initially known as the "Liberal-Conservative Party", it dropped "Liberal" from its name in 1873, although many of its candidates continued to use this name.As a result of World War I and the...

 government established a National Policy
National Policy
The National Policy was a Canadian economic program introduced by John A. Macdonald's Conservative Party in 1876 and put into action in 1879. It called for high tariffs on imported manufactured items to protect the manufacturing industry...

 of tariff
Tariff
A tariff may be either tax on imports or exports , or a list or schedule of prices for such things as rail service, bus routes, and electrical usage ....

s to protect the nascent Canadian manufacturing industries.

To open the West, the government sponsored the construction of three transcontinental railways (including the Canadian Pacific Railway
Canadian Pacific Railway
The Canadian Pacific Railway , formerly also known as CP Rail between 1968 and 1996, is a historic Canadian Class I railway founded in 1881 and now operated by Canadian Pacific Railway Limited, which began operations as legal owner in a corporate restructuring in 2001...

), opened the prairies to settlement with the Dominion Lands Act
Dominion Lands Act
The Dominion Lands Act was an 1872 Canadian law that aimed to encourage the settlement of Canada's Prairie provinces. It was closely based on the United States Homestead Act, setting conditions in which the western lands could be settled and their natural resources developed...

, and established the North-West Mounted Police
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police , literally ‘Royal Gendarmerie of Canada’; colloquially known as The Mounties, and internally as ‘The Force’) is the national police force of Canada, and one of the most recognized of its kind in the world. It is unique in the world as a national, federal,...

 to assert its authority over this territory.
In 1898, after the Klondike Gold Rush
Klondike Gold Rush
The Klondike Gold Rush, also called the Yukon Gold Rush, the Alaska Gold Rush and the Last Great Gold Rush, was an attempt by an estimated 100,000 people to travel to the Klondike region the Yukon in north-western Canada between 1897 and 1899 in the hope of successfully prospecting for gold...

 in the Northwest Territories, the Canadian government created the Yukon Territory. Under the Liberal
Liberal Party of Canada
The Liberal Party of Canada , colloquially known as the Grits, is the oldest federally registered party in Canada. In the conventional political spectrum, the party sits between the centre and the centre-left. Historically the Liberal Party has positioned itself to the left of the Conservative...

 Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier
Wilfrid Laurier
Sir Wilfrid Laurier, GCMG, PC, KC, baptized Henri-Charles-Wilfrid Laurier was the seventh Prime Minister of Canada from 11 July 1896 to 6 October 1911....

, continental European immigrants settled the prairies, and Alberta
Alberta
Alberta is a province of Canada. It had an estimated population of 3.7 million in 2010 making it the most populous of Canada's three prairie provinces...

 and Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan is a prairie province in Canada, which has an area of . Saskatchewan is bordered on the west by Alberta, on the north by the Northwest Territories, on the east by Manitoba, and on the south by the U.S. states of Montana and North Dakota....

 became provinces in 1905.

Early 20th century




Because Britain still maintained control of Canada's foreign affairs under the Confederation Act, its declaration of war in 1914 automatically brought Canada into World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. Volunteers sent to the Western Front
Western Front
Western Front was a term used during the First and Second World Wars to describe the contested armed frontier between lands controlled by Germany to the east and the Allies to the west...

 later became part of the Canadian Corps
Canadian Corps
The Canadian Corps was a World War I corps formed from the Canadian Expeditionary Force in September 1915 after the arrival of the 2nd Canadian Division in France. The corps was expanded by the addition of the 3rd Canadian Division in December 1915 and the 4th Canadian Division in August 1916...

. The Corps played a substantial role in the Battle of Vimy Ridge
Battle of Vimy Ridge
The Battle of Vimy Ridge was a military engagement fought primarily as part of the Battle of Arras, in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France, during the First World War. The main combatants were the Canadian Corps, of four divisions, against three divisions of the German Sixth Army...

 and other major engagements of the war. Out of approximately 625,000 Canadians who served in World War I, around 60,000 were killed and another 173,000 were wounded. The Conscription Crisis of 1917
Conscription Crisis of 1917
The Conscription Crisis of 1917 was a political and military crisis in Canada during World War I.-Background:...

 erupted when conservative Prime Minister Robert Borden
Robert Borden
Sir Robert Laird Borden, PC, GCMG, KC was a Canadian lawyer and politician. He served as the eighth Prime Minister of Canada from October 10, 1911 to July 10, 1920, and was the third Nova Scotian to hold this office...

 brought in compulsory military service
Conscription
Conscription is the compulsory enlistment of people in some sort of national service, most often military service. Conscription dates back to antiquity and continues in some countries to the present day under various names...

 over the objections of French-speaking Quebecers. In 1919, Canada joined the League of Nations
League of Nations
The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace...

 independently of Britain, and the 1931 Statute of Westminster
Statute of Westminster 1931
The Statute of Westminster 1931 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Passed on 11 December 1931, the Act established legislative equality for the self-governing dominions of the British Empire with the United Kingdom...

 affirmed Canada's independence.

The Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

 of the early 1930s brought great economic hardship to Canada. In response to the downturn, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation
Co-operative Commonwealth Federation
The Co-operative Commonwealth Federation was a Canadian political party founded in 1932 in Calgary, Alberta, by a number of socialist, farm, co-operative and labour groups, and the League for Social Reconstruction...

 (CCF) in Alberta and Saskatchewan introduced many elements of a welfare state
Welfare state
A welfare state is a "concept of government in which the state plays a key role in the protection and promotion of the economic and social well-being of its citizens. It is based on the principles of equality of opportunity, equitable distribution of wealth, and public responsibility for those...

 (as pioneered by Tommy Douglas
Tommy Douglas
Thomas Clement "Tommy" Douglas, was a Scottish-born Baptist minister who became a prominent Canadian social democratic politician...

) in the 1940s and 1950s. Canada declared war on Germany independently during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 under Liberal Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King
William Lyon Mackenzie King
William Lyon Mackenzie King, PC, OM, CMG was the dominant Canadian political leader from the 1920s through the 1940s. He served as the tenth Prime Minister of Canada from December 29, 1921 to June 28, 1926; from September 25, 1926 to August 7, 1930; and from October 23, 1935 to November 15, 1948...

, three days after Britain. The first Canadian Army units arrived in Britain in December 1939.

Canadian troops played important roles in many key battles of the war, including the failed 1942 Dieppe Raid
Dieppe Raid
The Dieppe Raid, also known as the Battle of Dieppe, Operation Rutter or later on Operation Jubilee, during the Second World War, was an Allied attack on the German-occupied port of Dieppe on the northern coast of France on 19 August 1942. The assault began at 5:00 AM and by 10:50 AM the Allied...

, the Allied invasion of Italy
Allied invasion of Italy
The Allied invasion of Italy was the Allied landing on mainland Italy on September 3, 1943, by General Harold Alexander's 15th Army Group during the Second World War. The operation followed the successful invasion of Sicily during the Italian Campaign...

, the Normandy landings, the Battle of Normandy
Operation Overlord
Operation Overlord was the code name for the Battle of Normandy, the operation that launched the invasion of German-occupied western Europe during World War II by Allied forces. The operation commenced on 6 June 1944 with the Normandy landings...

, and the Battle of the Scheldt
Battle of the Scheldt
The Battle of the Scheldt was a series of military operations of the Canadian 1st Army, led by Lieutenant-General Guy Simonds. The battle took place in northern Belgium and southwestern Netherlands during World War II from 2 October-8 November 1944...

 in 1944. Canada provided asylum for the monarchy of the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 while that country was occupied, and is credited by the country for major contributions to its liberation from Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

. The Canadian economy boomed during the war as its industries manufactured military materiel
Materiel
Materiel is a term used in English to refer to the equipment and supplies in military and commercial supply chain management....

 for Canada, Britain, China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, and the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

. Despite another Conscription Crisis
Conscription Crisis of 1944
The Conscription Crisis of 1944 was a political and military crisis following the introduction of forced military service in Canada during World War II. It was similar to the Conscription Crisis of 1917, but was not as politically damaging....

 in Quebec, Canada finished the war with a large army and strong economy.

Modern times



The Dominion of Newfoundland
Dominion of Newfoundland
The Dominion of Newfoundland was a British Dominion from 1907 to 1949 . The Dominion of Newfoundland was situated in northeastern North America along the Atlantic coast and comprised the island of Newfoundland and Labrador on the continental mainland...

 (now Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland and Labrador is the easternmost province of Canada. Situated in the country's Atlantic region, it incorporates the island of Newfoundland and mainland Labrador with a combined area of . As of April 2011, the province's estimated population is 508,400...

) was unified with Canada in 1949.
Canada's post-war economic growth, combined with the policies of successive Liberal governments, led to the emergence of a new Canadian identity
Canadian identity
Canadian identity refers to the set of characteristics and symbols that many Canadians regard as expressing their unique place and role in the world....

, marked by the adoption of the current Maple Leaf Flag
Flag of Canada
The national flag of Canada, also known as the Maple Leaf, and , is a red flag with a white square in its centre, featuring a stylized 11-pointed red maple leaf. Its adoption in 1965 marked the first time a national flag had been officially adopted in Canada to replace the Union Flag...

 in 1965, the implementation of official bilingualism
Official bilingualism
Official bilingualism refers to the policy adopted by some states of recognizing two languages as official and producing all official documents, and handling all correspondence and official dealings, including Court procedure, in the two said languages...

 (English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 and French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

) in 1969, and the institution of official multiculturalism in 1971.
socially democratic
Social democracy
Social democracy is a political ideology of the center-left on the political spectrum. Social democracy is officially a form of evolutionary reformist socialism. It supports class collaboration as the course to achieve socialism...

 programs were also instituted, such as Medicare
Medicare (Canada)
Medicare is the unofficial name for Canada's publicly funded universal health insurance system. The formal terminology for the insurance system is provided by the Canada Health Act and the health insurance legislation of the individual provinces and territories.Under the terms of the Canada Health...

, the Canada Pension Plan
Canada Pension Plan
The Canada Pension Plan is a contributory, earnings-related social insurance program. It forms one of the two major components of Canada's public retirement income system, the other component being Old Age Security...

, and Canada Student Loans
Student loans in Canada
Student loans in Canada help post-secondary students pay for their education in Canada. The federal government funds the Canada Student Loan Program and the provinces may fund their own programs or run in parallel with the CSLP...

, 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 1982 patriation
Patriation
Patriation is a non-legal term used in Canada to describe a process of constitutional change also known as "homecoming" of the constitution. Up until 1982, Canada was governed by a constitution that was a British law and could be changed only by an Act of the British Parliament...

 of Canada's constitution from the United Kingdom, concurrent with the creation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is a bill of rights entrenched in the Constitution of Canada. It forms the first part of the Constitution Act, 1982...

. In 1999, Nunavut
Nunavut
Nunavut is the largest and newest federal territory of Canada; it was separated officially from the Northwest Territories on April 1, 1999, via the Nunavut Act and the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Act, though the actual boundaries had been established in 1993...

 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
Quiet Revolution
The Quiet Revolution was the 1960s period of intense change in Quebec, Canada, characterized by the rapid and effective secularization of society, the creation of a welfare state and a re-alignment of politics into federalist and separatist factions...

 of the 1960s, giving birth to a modern nationalist
Quebec nationalism
Quebec nationalism is a nationalist movement in the Canadian province of Quebec .-1534–1774:Canada was first a french colony. Jacques Cartier claimed it for France in 1534, and permanent French settlement began in 1608. It was part of New France, which constituted all French colonies in North America...

 movement. The radical Front de libération du Québec
Front de libération du Québec
The Front de libération du Québec was a left-wing Quebecois nationalist and Marxist-Leninist paramilitary group in Quebec, Canada. It was active between 1963 and 1970, and was regarded as a terrorist organization for its violent methods of action...

 (FLQ) ignited the October Crisis
October Crisis
The October Crisis was a series of events triggered by two kidnappings of government officials by members of the Front de libération du Québec during October 1970 in the province of Quebec, mainly in the Montreal metropolitan area.The circumstances ultimately culminated in the only peacetime use...

 in 1970, and the sovereignist
Quebec sovereignty movement
The Quebec sovereignty movement refers to both the political movement and the ideology of values, concepts and ideas that promote the secession of the province of Quebec from the rest of Canada...

 Parti Québécois
Parti Québécois
The Parti Québécois is a centre-left political party that advocates national sovereignty for the province of Quebec and secession from Canada. The Party traditionally has support from the labour movement. Unlike many other social-democratic parties, its ties with the labour movement are informal...

 was elected in 1976, organizing an unsuccessful referendum
Referendum
A referendum is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal. This may result in the adoption of a new constitution, a constitutional amendment, a law, the recall of an elected official or simply a specific government policy. It is a form of...

 on sovereignty-association in 1980. Attempts to accommodate Quebec nationalism constitutionally through the Meech Lake Accord
Meech Lake Accord
The Meech Lake Accord was a package of proposed amendments to the Constitution of Canada negotiated in 1987 by Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and ten provincial premiers. It was intended to persuade the government of the Province of Quebec to endorse the 1982 Canadian Constitution and increase...

 failed in 1990. This led to the formation of the Bloc Québécois
Bloc Québécois
The Bloc Québécois is a federal political party in Canada devoted to the protection of Quebec's interests in the House of Commons of Canada, and the promotion of Quebec sovereignty. The Bloc was originally a party made of Quebec nationalists who defected from the federal Progressive Conservative...

 in Quebec and the invigoration of the Reform Party of Canada
Reform Party of Canada
The Reform Party of Canada was a Canadian federal political party that existed from 1987 to 2000. It was originally founded as a Western Canada-based protest party, but attempted to expand eastward in the 1990s. It viewed itself as a populist party....

 in the West
Western Canada
Western Canada, also referred to as the Western provinces and commonly as the West, is a region of Canada that includes the four provinces west of the province of Ontario.- Provinces :...

.
A second referendum followed in 1995, in which sovereignty was rejected by a slimmer margin of just 50.6 to 49.4 percent. In 1997, the Supreme Court
Supreme Court of Canada
The Supreme Court of Canada is the highest court of Canada and is the final court of appeals in the Canadian justice system. The court grants permission to between 40 and 75 litigants each year to appeal decisions rendered by provincial, territorial and federal appellate courts, and its decisions...

 ruled that unilateral secession
Reference re Secession of Quebec
Reference re Secession of Quebec, [1998] 2 S.C.R. 217 was an opinion of the Supreme Court of Canada regarding the legality, under both Canadian and international law, of a unilateral secession of Quebec from Canada....

 by a province would be unconstitutional, and the Clarity Act
Clarity Act
The Clarity Act is legislation passed by the Parliament of Canada that established the conditions under which the Government of Canada would enter into negotiations that might lead to secession following such a vote by one of the provinces. The Clarity Bill was tabled for first reading in the...

 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
Air India Flight 182
Air India Flight 182 was an Air India flight operating on the Montreal–London–Delhi route. On 23 June 1985, the airplane operating on the route a Boeing 747-237B named after Emperor Kanishka was blown up by a bomb at an altitude of , and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean while in Irish airspace.A...

 in 1985, the largest mass murder in Canadian history; the École Polytechnique massacre
École Polytechnique massacre
The École Polytechnique Massacre, also known as the Montreal Massacre, was a hate crime perpetrated on December 6, 1989 at the École Polytechnique in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Twenty-five-year-old Gamil Rodrigue Liass Gharbi, who had changed his name to Marc Lépine, armed with a legally obtained...

 in 1989, a university shooting targeting female students; and the Oka Crisis
Oka Crisis
The Oka Crisis was a land dispute between a group of Mohawk people and the town of Oka, Quebec, Canada which began on July 11, 1990 and lasted until September 26, 1990. At least one person died as a result...

 of 1990, the first of a number of violent confrontations between the government and Aboriginal groups. Canada also joined the Gulf War
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

 in 1990 as part of a US-led coalition force, and was active in several peacekeeping missions in the late 1990s.
Canada sent troops to Afghanistan in 2001, but declined to send forces to Iraq when the US invaded in 2003. In 2011, Canadian forces participated in the NATO-led intervention into the Libyan civil war
2011 Libyan civil war
The 2011 Libyan civil war was an armed conflict in the North African state of Libya, fought between forces loyal to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and those seeking to oust his government. The war was preceded by protests in Benghazi beginning on 15 February 2011, which led to clashes with security...

.

Geography



Canada occupies a major northern portion of North America, sharing the land borders with the contiguous United States
Contiguous United States
The contiguous United States are the 48 U.S. states on the continent of North America that are south of Canada and north of Mexico, plus the District of Columbia....

 to the south and the US state of Alaska
Alaska
Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

 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.
By total area (including its waters), Canada is the second-largest country in the world, after Russia. By land area alone, Canada ranks fourth.

The country lies between latitudes 41°
41st parallel north
The 41st parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 41 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Europe, the Mediterranean Sea, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean....

 and 84°N, and longitudes 52°
52nd meridian west
The meridian 52° west of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, Greenland, the Atlantic Ocean, South America, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

 and 141°W
141st meridian west
The meridian 141° west of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, North America, the Pacific Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

.
Since 1925, Canada has claimed the portion of the Arctic between 60°
60th meridian west
The meridian 60° west of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, Greenland, North America, the Atlantic Ocean, South America, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

 and 141°W longitude
Longitude
Longitude is a geographic coordinate that specifies the east-west position of a point on the Earth's surface. It is an angular measurement, usually expressed in degrees, minutes and seconds, and denoted by the Greek letter lambda ....

,
but this claim is not universally recognized. Canada is home to the world's northernmost settlement, Canadian Forces Station Alert
CFS Alert
Canadian Forces Station Alert, also CFS Alert, is a Canadian Forces signals intelligence intercept facility located in Alert, Nunavut on the northeastern tip of Ellesmere Island, at ....

, on the northern tip of Ellesmere Island
Ellesmere Island
Ellesmere Island is part of the Qikiqtaaluk Region of the Canadian territory of Nunavut. Lying within the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, it is considered part of the Queen Elizabeth Islands, with Cape Columbia being the most northerly point of land in Canada...

 – latitude 82.5°N – which lies 817 kilometres (507.7 mi) from the North Pole.
Much of the Canadian Arctic is covered by ice and permafrost
Permafrost
In geology, permafrost, cryotic soil or permafrost soil is soil at or below the freezing point of water for two or more years. Ice is not always present, as may be in the case of nonporous bedrock, but it frequently occurs and it may be in amounts exceeding the potential hydraulic saturation of...

. Canada has the longest coastline in the world, with a total length of 202080 kilometres (125,567 mi); additionally, its border with the United States is the world's longest land border, stretching over 8890 kilometres (5,524 mi).
Since the end of the last glacial period
Glacial period
A glacial period is an interval of time within an ice age that is marked by colder temperatures and glacier advances. Interglacials, on the other hand, are periods of warmer climate within an ice age...

, Canada has consisted of eight distinct forest regions, including extensive boreal
Taiga
Taiga , also known as the boreal forest, is a biome characterized by coniferous forests.Taiga is the world's largest terrestrial biome. In North America it covers most of inland Canada and Alaska as well as parts of the extreme northern continental United States and is known as the Northwoods...

 forest on the Canadian Shield. Canada has more lakes than any other country, containing much of the world's fresh water
Fresh Water
Fresh Water is the debut album by Australian rock and blues singer Alison McCallum, released in 1972. Rare for an Australian artist at the time, it came in a gatefold sleeve...

.
There are also fresh-water glaciers in the Canadian Rockies
Canadian Rockies
The Canadian Rockies comprise the Canadian segment of the North American Rocky Mountains range. They are the eastern part of the Canadian Cordillera, extending from the Interior Plains of Alberta to the Rocky Mountain Trench of British Columbia. The southern end borders Idaho and Montana of the USA...

 and the Coast Mountains
Coast Mountains
The Coast Mountains are a major mountain range, in the Pacific Coast Ranges, of western North America, extending from southwestern Yukon through the Alaska Panhandle and virtually all of the Coast of British Columbia. They are so-named because of their proximity to the sea coast, and are often...

.
Canada is geologically active, having many earthquakes and potentially active volcanoes, notably Mount Meager
Mount Meager
Mount Meager, originally known as Meager Mountain, is a complex volcano in the Sea-to-Sky Corridor of southwestern British Columbia, Canada. It is located north of Vancouver at the northern end of the Pemberton Valley. Part of the Cascade Volcanic Arc of western North America, its summit is above...

, Mount Garibaldi
Mount Garibaldi
Mount Garibaldi is a potentially active stratovolcano in the Sea to Sky Country of British Columbia, north of Vancouver, Canada. Located in the southernmost Coast Mountains, it is one of the most recognized peaks in the South Coast region, as well as British Columbia's best known volcano...

, Mount Cayley
Mount Cayley
Mount Cayley is a potentially active stratovolcano in Squamish-Lillooet Regional District of southwestern British Columbia, Canada. Located north of Squamish and west of Whistler in the Pacific Ranges of the Coast Mountains, it rises above the Squamish River to the west and above the Cheakamus...

, and the Mount Edziza volcanic complex
Mount Edziza volcanic complex
The Mount Edziza volcanic complex is a large and potentially active north-south trending complex volcano in Stikine Country, northwestern British Columbia, Canada, located southeast of the small community of Telegraph Creek...

. The volcanic eruption of the Tseax Cone
Tseax Cone
The Tseax Cone , also called the Tseax River Cone or alternately the Aiyansh Volcano, is a young cinder cone and adjacent lava flows associated with the Nass Ranges and the Northern Cordilleran Volcanic Province...

 in 1775 was among Canada's worst natural disasters, killing 2,000 Nisga'a people and destroying their village in the Nass River
Nass River
The Nass River is a river in northern British Columbia, Canada. It flows from the Coast Mountains southwest to Nass Bay, a sidewater of Portland Inlet, which connects to the North Pacific Ocean via the Dixon Entrance...

 valley of northern British Columbia. The eruption produced a 22.5 kilometres (14 mi) lava
Lava
Lava refers both to molten rock expelled by a volcano during an eruption and the resulting rock after solidification and cooling. This molten rock is formed in the interior of some planets, including Earth, and some of their satellites. When first erupted from a volcanic vent, lava is a liquid at...

 flow, and, according to Nisga'a legend, blocked the flow of the Nass River.

Canada's population density
Population density
Population density is a measurement of population per unit area or unit volume. It is frequently applied to living organisms, and particularly to humans...

, at 3.3 PD/km2, is among the lowest in the world. The most densely populated part of the country is the Quebec City – Windsor Corridor, situated in Southern Quebec and Southern Ontario
Southern Ontario
Southern Ontario is a region of the province of Ontario, Canada that lies south of the French River and Algonquin Park. Depending on the inclusion of the Parry Sound and Muskoka districts, its surface area would cover between 14 to 15% of the province. It is the southernmost region of...

 along the Great Lakes and the Saint Lawrence River.

Average winter and summer high temperatures across Canada
Temperature in Canada
The average temperatures of Canada vary across the country; the table below shows the temperature of various cities across Canada.The table can be reordered by clicking on the box in each column.-External links :*...

 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
Continental climate
Continental climate is a climate characterized by important annual variation in temperature due to the lack of significant bodies of water nearby...

, where daily average temperatures are near −15 °C
Celsius
Celsius is a scale and unit of measurement for temperature. It is named after the Swedish astronomer Anders Celsius , who developed a similar temperature scale two years before his death...

 (5 °F
Fahrenheit
Fahrenheit is the temperature scale proposed in 1724 by, and named after, the German physicist Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit . Within this scale, the freezing of water into ice is defined at 32 degrees, while the boiling point of water is defined to be 212 degrees...

), but can drop below -40 °C with severe wind chill
Wind chill
Wind chill is the felt air temperature on exposed skin due to wind. The wind chill temperature is always lower than the air temperature, and the windchill is undefined at the higher temps...

s. 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 has a strong democratic tradition, upheld through a parliamentary system
Parliamentary system
A parliamentary system is a system of government in which the ministers of the executive branch get their democratic legitimacy from the legislature and are accountable to that body, such that the executive and legislative branches are intertwined....

 within the context of a constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy is a form of government in which a monarch acts as head of state within the parameters of a constitution, whether it be a written, uncodified or blended constitution...

. The monarchy of Canada is the foundation of the executive
Executive (government)
Executive branch of Government is the part of government that has sole authority and responsibility for the daily administration of the state bureaucracy. The division of power into separate branches of government is central to the idea of the separation of powers.In many countries, the term...

, legislative
Legislature
A legislature is a kind of deliberative assembly with the power to pass, amend, and repeal laws. The law created by a legislature is called legislation or statutory law. In addition to enacting laws, legislatures usually have exclusive authority to raise or lower taxes and adopt the budget and...

, and judicial
Judiciary
The judiciary is the system of courts that interprets and applies the law in the name of the state. The judiciary also provides a mechanism for the resolution of disputes...

 branches of the government. The current sovereign is Queen Elizabeth II, who also serves as head of state of 15 other Commonwealth countries
Commonwealth Realm
A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state within the Commonwealth of Nations that has Elizabeth II as its monarch and head of state. The sixteen current realms have a combined land area of 18.8 million km² , and a population of 134 million, of which all, except about two million, live in the six...

 and each of Canada's ten provinces. The Queen resides predominantly in the United Kingdom; as such, her formal representative, the Governor General of Canada
Governor General of Canada
The Governor General of Canada is the federal viceregal representative of the Canadian monarch, Queen Elizabeth II...

 (presently David Lloyd Johnston
David Johnston
David Lloyd Johnston is a Canadian academic, author and statesman who is the current Governor General of Canada, the 28th since Canadian Confederation....

), 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 executive powers is directed by the Cabinet, a committee of ministers of the Crown
Minister of the Crown
Minister of the Crown is the formal constitutional term used in the Commonwealth realms to describe a minister to the reigning sovereign. The term indicates that the minister serves at His/Her Majesty's pleasure, and advises the monarch, or viceroy, on how to exercise the Crown prerogatives...

 responsible to the elected House of Commons
Canadian House of Commons
The House of Commons of Canada is a component of the Parliament of Canada, along with the Sovereign and the Senate. The House of Commons is a democratically elected body, consisting of 308 members known as Members of Parliament...

 and chosen and headed by the Prime Minister of Canada
Prime Minister of Canada
The Prime Minister of Canada is the primary minister of the Crown, chairman of the Cabinet, and thus head of government for Canada, charged with advising the Canadian monarch or viceroy on the exercise of the executive powers vested in them by the constitution...

 (presently Stephen Harper
Stephen Harper
Stephen Joseph Harper is the 22nd and current Prime Minister of Canada and leader of the Conservative Party. Harper became prime minister when his party formed a minority government after the 2006 federal election...

), the head of government
Head of government
Head of government is the chief officer of the executive branch of a government, often presiding over a cabinet. In a parliamentary system, the head of government is often styled prime minister, chief minister, premier, etc...

, though the governor general or monarch may in certain crisis situations exercise their power without ministerial advice
Advice (constitutional)
Advice, in constitutional law, is formal, usually binding, instruction given by one constitutional officer of state to another. Especially in parliamentary systems of government, Heads of state often act on the basis of advice issued by prime ministers or other government ministers...

. 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
Office of the Prime Minister (Canada)
In Canada, the Office of the Prime Minister , located in the Langevin Block, on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, is one of the most powerful parts of the government. It is made up of the prime minister and his or her top political staff, who are charged with advising the prime minister on decisions,...

 (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
Lieutenant Governor (Canada)
In Canada, a lieutenant governor is the viceregal representative in a provincial jurisdiction of the Canadian monarch and head of state, Queen Elizabeth II, who resides predominantly in her oldest realm, the United Kingdom...

, senators, federal court judges, and heads of Crown corporations
Crown corporations of Canada
Canadian Crown corporations are enterprises owned by the federal government of Canada , one of Canada's provincial governments or one of the territorial governments. Crown corporations have a long standing presence in the country and have been instrumental in the formation of the state...

 and government agencies. The leader of the party with the second-most seats usually becomes the Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition (presently Nycole Turmel
Nycole Turmel
Nycole Turmel, MP is the Leader of the Official Opposition in the Canadian Parliament. She was first elected to the Canadian House of Commons in the 2011 federal election, representing the electoral district of Hull—Aylmer, and became interim leader of the New Democratic Party after leader Jack...

) and is part of an adversarial parliamentary system intended to keep the government in check.
Each of the 308 Members of Parliament
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 (MPs) in the House of Commons is elected by simple plurality in an electoral district or riding
Riding
A riding is an administrative jurisdiction or electoral district, particularly in several current or former Commonwealth countries.-Word history:...

. General elections must be called by the governor general, on the advice of the prime minister, within four years of the previous election, or may be triggered by the government losing a confidence vote in the House. The 105 members of the Senate, whose seats are apportioned on a regional basis, may serve until the age of 75. Five parties had representatives elected to the federal parliament in the 2011 elections: the Conservative Party of Canada
Conservative Party of Canada
The Conservative Party of Canada , is a political party in Canada which was formed by the merger of the Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada in 2003. It is positioned on the right of the Canadian political spectrum...

 (governing party), the New Democratic Party
New Democratic Party
The New Democratic Party , commonly referred to as the NDP, is a federal social-democratic political party in Canada. The interim leader of the NDP is Nycole Turmel who was appointed to the position due to the illness of Jack Layton, who died on August 22, 2011. The provincial wings of the NDP in...

 (the Official Opposition
Official Opposition (Canada)
In Canada, Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition , commonly known as the Official Opposition, is usually the largest parliamentary opposition party in the House of Commons or a provincial legislative assembly that is not in government, either on its own or as part of a governing coalition...

), the Liberal Party of Canada
Liberal Party of Canada
The Liberal Party of Canada , colloquially known as the Grits, is the oldest federally registered party in Canada. In the conventional political spectrum, the party sits between the centre and the centre-left. Historically the Liberal Party has positioned itself to the left of the Conservative...

, the Bloc Québécois
Bloc Québécois
The Bloc Québécois is a federal political party in Canada devoted to the protection of Quebec's interests in the House of Commons of Canada, and the promotion of Quebec sovereignty. The Bloc was originally a party made of Quebec nationalists who defected from the federal Progressive Conservative...

, and the Green Party of Canada
Green Party of Canada
The Green Party of Canada is a Canadian federal political party founded in 1983 with 10,000–12,000 registered members as of October 2008. The Greens advance a broad multi-issue political platform that reflects its core values of ecological wisdom, social justice, grassroots democracy and...

. The list of historical parties with elected representation is substantial.

Canada's federal structure
Canadian federalism
Canada is a federation with two distinct jurisdictions of political authority: the country-wide federal government and the ten regionally-based provincial governments. It also has three territorial governments in the far north, though these are subject to the federal government...

 divides government responsibilities between the federal government and the ten provinces. Provincial legislatures are unicameral
Unicameralism
In government, unicameralism is the practice of having one legislative or parliamentary chamber. Thus, a unicameral parliament or unicameral legislature is a legislature which consists of one chamber or house...

 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, as well as displaying some structural differences.

Law


The Constitution of Canada
Constitution of Canada
The Constitution of Canada is the supreme law in Canada; the country's constitution is an amalgamation of codified acts and uncodified traditions and conventions. It outlines Canada's system of government, as well as the civil rights of all Canadian citizens and those in 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
British North America Acts
The British North America Acts 1867–1975 are the original names of a series of Acts at the core of the constitution of Canada. They were enacted by the Parliament of the United Kingdom and the Parliament of Canada. In Canada, some of the Acts were amended or repealed by the Constitution Act, 1982....

 prior to 1982) affirmed governance based on parliamentary precedent and divided powers between the federal and provincial governments; the Statute of Westminster 1931
Statute of Westminster 1931
The Statute of Westminster 1931 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Passed on 11 December 1931, the Act established legislative equality for the self-governing dominions of the British Empire with the United Kingdom...

 granted full autonomy; and the Constitution Act, 1982
Constitution Act, 1982
The Constitution Act, 1982 is a part of the Constitution of Canada. The Act was introduced as part of Canada's process of "patriating" the constitution, introducing several amendments to the British North America Act, 1867, and changing the latter's name in Canada to the Constitution Act, 1867...

, ended all legislative ties to the UK, added a constitutional amending formula, and added the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is a bill of rights entrenched in the Constitution of Canada. It forms the first part of the Constitution Act, 1982...

, which guarantees basic rights and freedoms that usually cannot be overridden by any government – though a notwithstanding clause
Section Thirty-three of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Section Thirty-three of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is part of the Constitution of Canada. It is commonly known as the notwithstanding clause , or as the override power, and it allows Parliament or provincial legislatures to override certain portions of the Charter...

 allows the federal parliament and provincial legislatures to override certain sections of the Charter for a period of five years.
Although not without conflict, European Canadians
Euro-Canadian
European Canadians are Canadian people of European origin, descent, birth, or ancestry. English Canadians , French Canadians and Scottish Canadians were the three largest self-reported ancestry groups in the Canada 2001 Census....

' early interactions with First Nations and Inuit populations were relatively peaceful. The Crown and Aboriginal peoples began interactions
Timeline of colonization of North America
This is a chronology of the colonization of North America, with founding dates of European settlements. See also European colonization of the Americas.-Before Columbus:* 6th Century: Brendan The Navigator possibly reaches North America.* 874: Norse reach Iceland...

 during the European colonialization period. Numbered Treaties
Numbered Treaties
The numbered treaties are a series of eleven treaties signed between the aboriginal peoples in Canada and the reigning Monarch of Canada from 1871 to 1921. It was the Government of Canada who created the policy, commissioned the Treaty Commissioners and ratified the agreements...

, the Indian Act
Indian Act
The Indian Act , R.S., 1951, c. I-5, is a Canadian statute that concerns registered Indians, their bands, and the system of Indian reserves...

, the Constitution Act of 1982, and case laws were established. A series of eleven treaties were signed between Aboriginals in Canada and the reigning Monarch of Canada from 1871 to 1921. These treaties are agreements with the Government of Canada administered by Canadian Aboriginal law
Canadian Aboriginal law
Canadian Aboriginal law is the body of Canadian law that concerns a variety of issues related to aboriginal peoples in Canada. Aboriginal law provides certain rights to land and traditional practices...

 and overseen by the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development
Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (Canada)
The Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development is the Minister of the Crown in the Canadian Cabinet who heads two different departments...

. The role of the treaties was reaffirmed by Section Thirty-five of the Constitution Act, 1982
Section Thirty-five of the Constitution Act, 1982
Section thirty-five of the Constitution Act, 1982 provides constitutional protection to the aboriginal and treaty rights of Aboriginal peoples in Canada. The section, while within the Constitution Act, 1982 and thus the Constitution of Canada, falls outside the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms...

, which "recognizes and affirms existing Aboriginal and treaty rights". 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 laws that violate the Constitution. The Supreme Court of Canada
Supreme Court of Canada
The Supreme Court of Canada is the highest court of Canada and is the final court of appeals in the Canadian justice system. The court grants permission to between 40 and 75 litigants each year to appeal decisions rendered by provincial, territorial and federal appellate courts, and its decisions...

 is the highest court and final arbiter and has been led by the Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin
Beverley McLachlin
Beverley McLachlin, PC is the Chief Justice of Canada, the first woman to hold this position. She also serves as a Deputy of the Governor General of Canada.-Early life:...

, P.C. (the first female Chief Justice) since 2000. 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 nongovernmental legal bodies. The federal cabinet also appoints justices to superior courts at the provincial and territorial levels.

Common law
Common law
Common law is law developed by judges through decisions of courts and similar tribunals rather than through legislative statutes or executive branch action...

 prevails everywhere except in Quebec, where civil law
Civil law (legal system)
Civil law is a legal system inspired by Roman law and whose primary feature is that laws are codified into collections, as compared to common law systems that gives great precedential weight to common law on the principle that it is unfair to treat similar facts differently on different...

 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
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police , literally ‘Royal Gendarmerie of Canada’; colloquially known as The Mounties, and internally as ‘The Force’) is the national police force of Canada, and one of the most recognized of its kind in the world. It is unique in the world as a national, federal,...

.

Foreign relations and military



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
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

 and declining to officially participate in the Iraq War. 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
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

 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 currently employs a professional, volunteer military force of over 67,000 regular personnel and approximately 43,000 reserve personnel, including supplementary reserves. The unified Canadian Forces
Canadian Forces
The Canadian Forces , officially the Canadian Armed Forces , are the unified armed forces of Canada, as constituted by the National Defence Act, which states: "The Canadian Forces are the armed forces of Her Majesty raised by Canada and consist of one Service called the Canadian Armed Forces."...

 (CF) comprise the Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Navy
Royal Canadian Navy
The history of the Royal Canadian Navy goes back to 1910, when the naval force was created as the Naval Service of Canada and renamed a year later by King George V. The Royal Canadian Navy is one of the three environmental commands of the Canadian Forces...

, and Royal Canadian Air Force
Royal Canadian Air Force
The history of the Royal Canadian Air Force begins in 1920, when the air force was created as the Canadian Air Force . In 1924 the CAF was renamed the Royal Canadian Air Force and granted royal sanction by King George V. The RCAF existed as an independent service until 1968...

.

Canada's strong attachment to the British Empire and Commonwealth led to major participation in British military efforts in the Second Boer War
Second Boer War
The Second Boer War was fought from 11 October 1899 until 31 May 1902 between the British Empire and the Afrikaans-speaking Dutch settlers of two independent Boer republics, the South African Republic and the Orange Free State...

, World War I and World War II. Since then, Canada has been an advocate for multilateralism
Multilateralism
Multilateralism is a term in international relations that refers to multiple countries working in concert on a given issue.International organizations, such as the United Nations and the World Trade Organization are multilateral in nature...

, making efforts to resolve global issues in collaboration with other nations. Canada was a founding member of the United Nations in 1945 and of NATO in 1949. During the Cold War
Canada in the Cold War
Canada played a middle power, and occasionally an important, role in the Cold War. Throughout the US/Soviet rivalry, Canada was normally on the side of the United States...

, Canada was a major contributor to UN forces in the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

 and founded the North American Aerospace Defense Command
North American Aerospace Defense Command
North American Aerospace Defense Command is a joint organization of Canada and the United States that provides aerospace warning, air sovereignty, and defense for the two countries. Headquarters NORAD is located at Peterson AFB, Colorado Springs, Colorado...

 (NORAD) in cooperation with the United States to defend against potential aerial attacks from the Soviet Union.
During the Suez Crisis
Suez Crisis
The Suez Crisis, also referred to as the Tripartite Aggression, Suez War was an offensive war fought by France, the United Kingdom, and Israel against Egypt beginning on 29 October 1956. Less than a day after Israel invaded Egypt, Britain and France issued a joint ultimatum to Egypt and Israel,...

 of 1956, future Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson
Lester B. Pearson
Lester Bowles "Mike" Pearson, PC, OM, CC, OBE was a Canadian professor, historian, civil servant, statesman, diplomat, and politician, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957 for organizing the United Nations Emergency Force to resolve the Suez Canal Crisis...

 eased tensions by proposing the inception of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force
Peacekeeping
Peacekeeping is an activity that aims to create the conditions for lasting peace. It is distinguished from both peacebuilding and peacemaking....

, for which he was awarded the 1957 Nobel Peace Prize
Nobel Peace Prize
The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes bequeathed by the Swedish industrialist and inventor Alfred Nobel.-Background:According to Nobel's will, the Peace Prize shall be awarded to the person who...

. As this was the first UN peacekeeping mission, Pearson is often credited as the inventor of the concept. Canada has since served in 50 peacekeeping missions, including every UN peacekeeping effort until 1989, and has since maintained forces in international missions in Rwanda
Rwanda
Rwanda or , officially the Republic of Rwanda , is a country in central and eastern Africa with a population of approximately 11.4 million . Rwanda is located a few degrees south of the Equator, and is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo...

, the former Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia refers to three political entities that existed successively on the western part of the Balkans during most of the 20th century....

, and elsewhere; Canada has sometimes faced controversy over its involvement in foreign countries, notably in the 1993 Somalia Affair
Somalia Affair
The Somalia Affair was a 1993 military scandal later dubbed "Canada's national shame". It peaked with the brutal beating death of a Somali teenager at the hands of two Canadian soldiers participating in humanitarian efforts in Somalia. The crime, documented by grisly photos, shocked the Canadian...

.

Canada joined the Organization of American States
Organization of American States
The Organization of American States is a regional international organization, headquartered in Washington, D.C., United States...

 (OAS) in 1990 and hosted the OAS General Assembly in Windsor, Ontario
Windsor, Ontario
Windsor is the southernmost city in Canada and is located in Southwestern Ontario at the western end of the heavily populated Quebec City – Windsor Corridor. It is within Essex County, Ontario, although administratively separated from the county government. Separated by the Detroit River, 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
Pacific Rim
The Pacific Rim refers to places around the edge of the Pacific Ocean. The term "Pacific Basin" includes the Pacific Rim and islands in the Pacific Ocean...

 economies through membership in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation is a forum for 21 Pacific Rim countries that seeks to promote free trade and economic cooperation throughout the Asia-Pacific region...

 forum (APEC).
In 2001, Canada had troops deployed to Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 as part of the US stabilization force
War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
The War in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001, as the armed forces of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Afghan United Front launched Operation Enduring Freedom...

 and the UN-authorized, NATO-commanded International Security Assistance Force
International Security Assistance Force
The International Security Assistance Force is a NATO-led security mission in Afghanistan established by the United Nations Security Council on 20 December 2001 by Resolution 1386 as envisaged by the Bonn Agreement...

. Starting in July 2011, Canada began withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan. The mission had cost 157 soldiers, one diplomat, two aid workers, and one journalist their lives, with an approximate cost of C$
Canadian dollar
The Canadian dollar is the currency of Canada. As of 2007, the Canadian dollar is the 7th most traded currency in the world. It is abbreviated with the dollar sign $, or C$ to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies...

11.3 billion
Canada and the US continue to integrate state and provincial agencies to strengthen security along the Canada-United States border
Canada-United States border
The Canada–United States border, officially known as the International Boundary, is the longest border in the world. The terrestrial boundary is 8,891 kilometers long, including 2,475 kilometres shared with Alaska...

 through the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative
Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative
The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative is a law of the United States that requires all travelers to show a valid passport or other approved secure document when traveling to the U.S. from areas within the Western Hemisphere. The purpose, according to the U.S. Department of State and U.S...

.

In February 2007, Canada, Italy, Britain, Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

, 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. In August 2007, Canada's territorial claims in the Arctic
Territorial claims in the Arctic
Under international law, no country currently owns the North Pole or the region of the Arctic Ocean surrounding it. The five surrounding Arctic states, Russia, the United States, Canada, Norway and Denmark , are limited to an exclusive economic zone of adjacent to their coasts.Upon ratification...

 were challenged after a Russian underwater expedition
Arktika 2007
Arktika 2007 was a 2007 expedition in which Russia performed the first ever crewed descent to the ocean bottom at the North Pole, as part of research related to the 2001 Russian territorial claim, one of many territorial claims in the Arctic, made possible, in part, because of Arctic shrinkage...

 to the North Pole
North Pole
The North Pole, also known as the Geographic North Pole or Terrestrial North Pole, is, subject to the caveats explained below, defined as the point in the northern hemisphere where the Earth's axis of rotation meets its surface...

; Canada has considered that area to be sovereign territory since 1925. In July 2010, the federal government announced the largest purchase in Canadian military history
Military history of Canada
The military history of Canada comprises hundreds of years of armed actions in the territory encompassing modern Canada, and the role of the Canadian military in conflicts and peacekeeping worldwide. For thousands of years, the area that would become Canada was the site of sporadic intertribal wars...

 – the acquisition of 65 F-35 Lightning II jet fighters, totalling C$9 billion.

Provinces and territories


Canada is a federation composed of ten province
Province
A province is a territorial unit, almost always an administrative division, within a country or state.-Etymology:The English word "province" is attested since about 1330 and derives from the 13th-century Old French "province," which itself comes from the Latin word "provincia," which referred to...

s and three territories. In turn, these may be grouped into regions: Western Canada
Western Canada
Western Canada, also referred to as the Western provinces and commonly as the West, is a region of Canada that includes the four provinces west of the province of Ontario.- Provinces :...

, Central Canada
Central Canada
Central Canada is a region consisting of Canada's two largest and most populous provinces: Ontario and Quebec. Due to their high populations, Ontario and Quebec have traditionally held a significant amount of political power in Canada, leading to some amount of resentment from other regions of the...

, Atlantic Canada
Atlantic Canada
Atlantic Canada is the region of Canada comprising the four provinces located on the Atlantic coast, excluding Quebec: the three Maritime provinces – New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia – and Newfoundland and Labrador...

, and Northern Canada
Northern Canada
Northern Canada, colloquially the North, is the vast northernmost region of Canada variously defined by geography and politics. Politically, the term refers to the three territories of Canada: Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut...

 (Eastern Canada
Eastern Canada
Eastern Canada is generally considered to be the region of Canada east of Manitoba, consisting of the following provinces:* New Brunswick* Newfoundland and Labrador* Nova Scotia* Ontario* Prince Edward Island* Quebec...

 refers to Central Canada and Atlantic Canada together). Provinces have more autonomy than territories. The provinces are responsible for most of Canada's social programs (such as health care
Health care in Canada
Health care in Canada is delivered through a publicly-funded health care system, which is mostly free at the point of use and has most services provided by private entities. It is guided by the provisions of the Canada Health Act. The government assures the quality of care through federal standards...

, education
Education in Canada
Education in Canada is for the most part provided publicly, funded and overseen by federal, provincial, and local governments. Education is within provincial jurisdiction and the curriculum is overseen by the province. Education in Canada is generally divided into primary education, followed by...

, and welfare
Welfare
Welfare refers to a broad discourse which may hold certain implications regarding the provision of a minimal level of wellbeing and social support for all citizens without the stigma of charity. This is termed "social solidarity"...

) 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
Canada Health Act
The Canada Health Act is a piece of Canadian federal legislation, adopted in 1984, which specifies the conditions and criteria with which the provincial and territorial health insurance programs must conform in order to receive federal transfer payments under the Canada Health Transfer...

; the provinces can opt out of these, but rarely do so in practice. Equalization payments
Equalization payments
Equalization payments are cash payments made in some federal systems of government from the federal government to subnational governments with the objective of offsetting differences in available revenue or in the cost of providing services....

 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 one of the world's wealthiest nations, with a very high per-capita income. It is a member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is an international economic organisation of 34 countries founded in 1961 to stimulate economic progress and world trade...

 (OECD) and the G8
G8
The Group of Eight is a forum, created by France in 1975, for the governments of seven major economies: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In 1997, the group added Russia, thus becoming the G8...

, and is one of the world's top ten trading nations. Canada is a mixed economy
Mixed economy
Mixed economy is an economic system in which both the state and private sector direct the economy, reflecting characteristics of both market economies and planned economies. Most mixed economies can be described as market economies with strong regulatory oversight, in addition to having a variety...

, ranking above the US and most western European nations on the Heritage Foundation
Heritage Foundation
The Heritage Foundation is a conservative American think tank based in Washington, D.C. Heritage's stated mission is to "formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong...

's index of economic freedom. The largest foreign importers of Canadian goods are the United States, the United Kingdom, and Japan.

In the past century, the growth of Canada's manufacturing, mining, and service sectors has transformed the nation from a largely rural economy to an advanced, urbanized, industrial one. Like many other First World
First World
The concept of the First World first originated during the Cold War, where it was used to describe countries that were aligned with the United States. These countries were democratic and capitalistic. After the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, the term "First World" took on a...

 nations, 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 logging
Logging
Logging is the cutting, skidding, on-site processing, and loading of trees or logs onto trucks.In forestry, the term logging is sometimes used in a narrow sense concerning the logistics of moving wood from the stump to somewhere outside the forest, usually a sawmill or a lumber yard...

 and petroleum industries
Petroleum industry
The petroleum industry includes the global processes of exploration, extraction, refining, transporting , and marketing petroleum products. The largest volume products of the industry are fuel oil and gasoline...

 are two of the most prominent elements.

Canada is one of the few developed nations that are net exporters of energy. Atlantic Canada possesses vast offshore
Offshore drilling
Offshore drilling refers to a mechanical process where a wellbore is drilled through the seabed. It is typically carried out in order to explore for and subsequently produce hydrocarbons which lie in rock formations beneath the seabed...

 deposits of natural gas
Natural gas
Natural gas is a naturally occurring gas mixture consisting primarily of methane, typically with 0–20% higher hydrocarbons . It is found associated with other hydrocarbon fuel, in coal beds, as methane clathrates, and is an important fuel source and a major feedstock for fertilizers.Most natural...

, and Alberta also hosts large oil and gas resources. The immense Athabasca oil sands
Athabasca Oil Sands
The Athabasca oil sands are large deposits of bitumen, or extremely heavy crude oil, located in northeastern Alberta, Canada - roughly centred on the boomtown of Fort McMurray...

 give Canada the world's second-largest proven oil reserves
Oil reserves
The total estimated amount of oil in an oil reservoir, including both producible and non-producible oil, is called oil in place. However, because of reservoir characteristics and limitations in petroleum extraction technologies, only a fraction of this oil can be brought to the surface, and it is...

, after Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

. 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
Canola
Canola refers to a cultivar of either Rapeseed or Field Mustard . Its seeds are used to produce edible oil suitable for consumption by humans and livestock. The oil is also suitable for use as biodiesel.Originally, Canola was bred naturally from rapeseed in Canada by Keith Downey and Baldur R...

, and other grains. Canada is the largest producer of zinc
Zinc
Zinc , or spelter , is a metallic chemical element; it has the symbol Zn and atomic number 30. It is the first element in group 12 of the periodic table. Zinc is, in some respects, chemically similar to magnesium, because its ion is of similar size and its only common oxidation state is +2...

 and uranium
Uranium
Uranium is a silvery-white metallic chemical element in the actinide series of the periodic table, with atomic number 92. It is assigned the chemical symbol U. A uranium atom has 92 protons and 92 electrons, of which 6 are valence electrons...

, and is a leading exporter of many other natural resources, such as gold, nickel
Nickel
Nickel is a chemical element with the chemical symbol Ni and atomic number 28. It is a silvery-white lustrous metal with a slight golden tinge. Nickel belongs to the transition metals and is hard and ductile...

, aluminum, 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 sizable manufacturing sector centred in southern Ontario and Quebec, with automobiles and aeronautics
Aeronautics
Aeronautics is the science involved with the study, design, and manufacturing of airflight-capable machines, or the techniques of operating aircraft and rocketry within the atmosphere...

 representing particularly important industries.
Canada's economic integration with the United States has increased significantly since World War II. The Automotive Products Trade Agreement
Automotive Products Trade Agreement
The Canada—United States Automotive Products Agreement, commonly known as the Auto Pact or APTA, was an important trade agreement between Canada and the United States. It was signed by Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson and President Lyndon B...

 of 1965 opened the country'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
Pierre Trudeau
Joseph Philippe Pierre Yves Elliott Trudeau, , usually known as Pierre Trudeau or Pierre Elliott Trudeau, was the 15th Prime Minister of Canada from April 20, 1968 to June 4, 1979, and again from March 3, 1980 to June 30, 1984.Trudeau began his political career campaigning for socialist ideals,...

's Liberal government to enact the National Energy Program
National Energy Program
The National Energy Program was an energy policy of the Government of Canada. It was created under the Liberal government of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau by Minister of Energy Marc Lalonde in 1980, and administered by the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources.-Description:The NEP was...

 (NEP) and the Foreign Investment Review Agency (FIRA). In the 1980s, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney
Brian Mulroney
Martin Brian Mulroney, was the 18th Prime Minister of Canada from September 17, 1984, to June 25, 1993 and was leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada from 1983 to 1993. His tenure as Prime Minister was marked by the introduction of major economic reforms, such as the Canada-U.S...

's Progressive Conservatives abolished the NEP and changed the name of FIRA to "Investment Canada", in order 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
North American Free Trade Agreement
The North American Free Trade Agreement or NAFTA is an agreement signed by the governments of Canada, Mexico, and the United States, creating a trilateral trade bloc in North America. The agreement came into force on January 1, 1994. It superseded the Canada – United States Free Trade Agreement...

 (NAFTA) expanded the free-trade zone to include Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 in 1994. In the mid-1990s, the Liberal government under Jean Chrétien
Jean Chrétien
Joseph Jacques Jean Chrétien , known commonly as Jean Chrétien is a former Canadian politician who was the 20th Prime Minister of Canada. He served in the position for over ten years, from November 4, 1993 to December 12, 2003....

 began to post annual budgetary surpluses, and steadily paid down the national debt.

In 2008, Canada's imported goods were worth over $442.9 billion, of which $280.8 billion originated from the United States, $11.7 billion from Japan, and $11.3 billion from the United Kingdom. The country’s 2009 trade deficit totaled C$4.8 billion, compared with a C$46.9 billion surplus in 2008.

The global financial crisis of 2008 caused a major recession, which led to rising unemployment
Unemployment
Unemployment , as defined by the International Labour Organization, occurs when people are without jobs and they have actively sought work within the past four weeks...

 in Canada. As of October 2009, Canada's national unemployment rate stands at 8.6 percent. Provincial unemployment rates vary from a low of 5.8 percent in Manitoba to a high of 17 percent in Newfoundland and Labrador. Between October 2008 and October 2010, the Canadian labour market lost 162,000 full-time jobs and a total of 224,000 permanent jobs. Canada's federal debt
Canadian Public Debt
The Canadian government debt, commonly called the "public debt" or the "national debt", is the amount of money owed by the Government of Canada to holders of Canadian Treasury security. "Gross debt" is the national debt plus intragovernmental debt obligations or debt held by trust funds...

 is estimated to total $566.7 billion for the 2010–11 fiscal year, up from $463.7 billion in 2008–09. Canada’s net foreign debt rose by $41 billion to $194 billion in the first quarter of 2010.

Science and technology



Canada is an industrialized nation
Developed country
A developed country is a country that has a high level of development according to some criteria. Which criteria, and which countries are classified as being developed, is a contentious issue...

, with one of the world's most highly-developed science and technology sectors. In 2011, nearly 1.88% of Canada's GDP was allocated to research and development
Research and development
The phrase research and development , according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, refers to "creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of man, culture and society, and the use of this stock of...

 (R&D). To date, the country has produced ten Nobel laureates in physics
Nobel Prize in Physics
The Nobel Prize in Physics is awarded once a year by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. It is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Alfred Nobel in 1895 and awarded since 1901; the others are the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Nobel Prize in Literature, Nobel Peace Prize, and...

, chemistry
Nobel Prize in Chemistry
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry is awarded annually by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences to scientists in the various fields of chemistry. It is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Alfred Nobel in 1895, awarded for outstanding contributions in chemistry, physics, literature,...

 and medicine. Canada ranks twelfth-highest in the world for Internet users as a proportion of the population, with 28.0 million users – equivalent to 84.3% of the total population.

The Canadian Space Agency operates one of the world's most active space programs, conducting space, planetary, and aviation research, and developing rockets and satellites. In 1984, Marc Garneau
Marc Garneau
Joseph Jean-Pierre Marc Garneau, CC CD FCASI MP is a Canadian retired military officer, former astronaut, engineer and politician.Garneau was the first Canadian in space taking part in three flights aboard NASA Space shuttles...

 became Canada's first astronaut, serving as payload specialist on the STS-41-G
STS-41-G
STS 41-G was the 13th flight of NASA's Space Shuttle program and the sixth flight of Space Shuttle Challenger. Challenger launched on 5 October 1984, and conducted the second shuttle landing at Kennedy Space Center on 13 October...

 Space Shuttle
Space Shuttle
The Space Shuttle was a manned orbital rocket and spacecraft system operated by NASA on 135 missions from 1981 to 2011. The system combined rocket launch, orbital spacecraft, and re-entry spaceplane with modular add-ons...

 mission. In a worldwide 2011 review of academic institutions, Canada was ranked third globally in the impact of its space science research publications.

Canada is a participant in the International Space Station
International Space Station
The International Space Station is a habitable, artificial satellite in low Earth orbit. The ISS follows the Salyut, Almaz, Cosmos, Skylab, and Mir space stations, as the 11th space station launched, not including the Genesis I and II prototypes...

, and is one of the world's pioneers in space robotics
Robotics
Robotics is the branch of technology that deals with the design, construction, operation, structural disposition, manufacture and application of robots...

, having constructed the Canadarm, Canadarm2 and Dextre robotic manipulators. Since the 1960s, Canada's aerospace industry has designed and built 10 marques of satellite, including Radarsat-1
RADARSAT-1
Radarsat-1 is Canada's first commercial Earth observation satellite.-Mission:It was launched at 14h22 UTC on November 4, 1995 from Vandenberg AFB in California, into a sun-synchronous orbit above the Earth with an altitude of 798 kilometers and inclination of 98.6 degrees...

, Radarsat-2
RADARSAT-2
Radarsat-2 is an Earth observation satellite that was successfully launched December 14, 2007 for the Canadian Space Agency by Starsem, using a Soyuz FG launch vehicle, from Kazakhstan's Baikonur Cosmodrome....

 and MOST
Microvariability and Oscillations of STars telescope
The Microvariability and Oscillations of STars telescope, better known simply as MOST, is Canada's first and only space telescope. It is also the smallest space telescope in the world...

. Canada has also produced one of the most successful sounding rocket
Sounding rocket
A sounding rocket, sometimes called a research rocket, is an instrument-carrying rocket designed to take measurements and perform scientific experiments during its sub-orbital flight. The origin of the term comes from nautical vocabulary, where to sound is to throw a weighted line from a ship into...

s in history, the Black Brant
Black Brant (rocket)
The Black Brant is a Canadian-designed sounding rocket built by Bristol Aerospace in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Over 800 Black Brants of various versions have been launched since they were first produced in 1961, and the type remains one of the most popular sounding rockets ever built...

; over 1,000 Black Brants have been launched since their introduction in 1961. Universities across Canada are furthermore working on the first domestic landing spacecraft
Lander (spacecraft)
A lander is a spacecraft which descends toward and comes to rest on the surface of an astronomical body. For bodies with atmospheres, the landing is called atmospheric reentry and the lander descends as a re-entry vehicle...

: the Northern Light, designed to search for life on Mars
Mars
Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun in the Solar System. The planet is named after the Roman god of war, Mars. It is often described as the "Red Planet", as the iron oxide prevalent on its surface gives it a reddish appearance...

 and investigate the Martian atmosphere and electromagnetic radiation environment. If the Northern Light is successfully launched before 2013, Canada will become the third country to perform a soft landing on another planet, after the United States and Soviet Union.

Demographics


The 2006 Canadian census
Canada 2006 Census
The Canada 2006 Census was a detailed enumeration of the Canadian population. Census day was May 16, 2006. The next census following will be the 2011 Census. Canada's total population enumerated by the 2006 census was 31,612,897...

 counted a total population of 31,612,897, an increase of 5.4% over the 2001 figure. Between 1990 and 2008, the population of Canada increased by 5.6 million, equivalent to 20.4% growth, compared to 21.7% growth in the United States and 31.2% growth in Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 over the same period. According to OECD/World Bank
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

 population statistics, the world population
World population
The world population is the total number of living humans on the planet Earth. As of today, it is estimated to be  billion by the United States Census Bureau...

 grew by 27%, or 1.423 billion people, between 1990 and 2008. The main drivers of population growth in Canada are immigration
Immigration to Canada
Immigration to Canada is the process by which people migrate to Canada to reside permanently in the country. The majority of these individuals become Canadian citizens. After 1947, domestic immigration law and policy went through major changes, most notably with the Immigration Act, 1976, and the...

 and, to a lesser extent, natural growth. About four-fifths of Canada's population lives within 150 kilometres (93.2 mi) of the United States border. The majority of Canadians (approximately 80%) live in urban areas concentrated in the Quebec City – Windsor Corridor, the BC Lower Mainland
Lower Mainland
The Lower Mainland is a name commonly applied to the region surrounding and including Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. As of 2007, 2,524,113 people live in the region; sixteen of the province's thirty most populous municipalities are located there.While the term Lower Mainland has been...

, and the Calgary–Edmonton Corridor in Alberta. In common with many other developed countries, Canada is experiencing a demographic shift
Demographic transition
The demographic transition model is the transition from high birth and death rates to low birth and death rates as a country develops from a pre-industrial to an industrialized economic system. The theory is based on an interpretation of demographic history developed in 1929 by the American...

 towards an older population, with more retirees and fewer people of working age. In 2006, the average age of the population was 39.5 years.

According to the 2006 census, the country's largest self-reported ethnic origin is Canadian (accounting for 32% of the population), followed by English
English Canadian
An English Canadian is a Canadian of English ancestry; it is used primarily in contrast with French Canadian. Canada is an officially bilingual state, with English and French official language communities. Immigrant cultural groups ostensibly integrate into one or both of these communities, but...

 (21%), French
French Canadian
French Canadian or Francophone Canadian, , generally refers to the descendents of French colonists who arrived in New France in the 17th and 18th centuries...

 (15.8%), Scottish
Scottish Canadian
Scottish Canadians are people of Scottish descent or heritage living in Canada. As the third-largest ethnic group in Canada and among the first to settle in Canada, Scottish people have made a large impact on Canadian culture since colonial times...

 (15.1%), Irish
Irish Canadian
Irish Canadian are immigrants and descendants of immigrants who originated in Ireland. 1.2 million Irish immigrants arrived, 1825 to 1970, at least half of those in the period from 1831-1850. By 1867, they were the second largest ethnic group , and comprised 24% of Canada's population...

 (13.9%), German (10.2%), Italian (4.6%), Chinese
Chinese Canadian
Chinese Canadians are Canadians of Chinese descent. They constitute the second-largest visible minority group in Canada, after South Asian Canadians...

 (4.3%), First Nations
First Nations
First Nations is a term that collectively refers to various Aboriginal peoples in Canada who are neither Inuit nor Métis. There are currently over 630 recognised First Nations governments or bands spread across Canada, roughly half of which are in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia. The...

 (4.0%), Ukrainian
Ukrainian Canadian
A Ukrainian Canadian is a person of Ukrainian descent or origin who was born in or immigrated to Canada. In 2006, there were an estimated 1,209,085 persons residing in Canada of Ukrainian origin, making them Canada's ninth largest ethnic group; and giving Canada the world's third-largest...

 (3.9%), and Dutch (3.3%).
There are 600 recognized First Nations governments or bands encompassing 1,172,790 people.

Canada's aboriginal population is growing at almost twice the national rate, and 3.8% of Canada's population claimed aboriginal identity in 2006. Another 16.2% of the population belonged to a non-aboriginal visible minority
Visible minority
A visible minority is a person who is visibly not one of the majority race in a given population.The term is used as a demographic category by Statistics Canada in connection with that country's Employment Equity policies. The qualifier "visible" is important in the Canadian context where...

. The largest visible minority groups in Canada are South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

n (4.0%), Chinese (3.9%) and Black (2.5%). Between 2001 and 2006, the visible minority population rose by 27.2%. In 1961, less than 2% of Canada's population (about 300,000 people) could be classified as belonging to a visible minority group, and less than 1% as aboriginal. As of 2007, almost one in five Canadians (19.8%) were foreign-born. Nearly 60% of new immigrants come from Asia (including the Middle East). The leading emigrating countries to Canada were China, Philippines and India. By 2031, one in three Canadians could belong to a visible minority group.

Canada has one of the highest per-capita immigration rates in the world, driven by economic policy
Economic impact of immigration to Canada
The economic impact of immigration is an important topic in Canada. While the immigration rate has declined sharply from its peak early in the 20th century, Canada still holds the title of accepting more immigrants per capita than any other country....

 and family reunification, and is aiming for between 240,000 and 265,000 new permanent residents in 2011, the same number of immigrants as in recent years. New immigrants settle mostly in major urban areas like Toronto and Vancouver. Canada also accepts large numbers of refugee
Refugee
A refugee is a person who outside her country of origin or habitual residence because she has suffered persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or because she is a member of a persecuted 'social group'. Such a person may be referred to as an 'asylum seeker' until...

s. The country resettles over one in 10 of the world’s refugees.

According to the 2001 census, 77.1% of Canadians identify as being Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

s; of this, Catholics
Catholicism
Catholicism is a broad term for the body of the Catholic faith, its theologies and doctrines, its liturgical, ethical, spiritual, and behavioral characteristics, as well as a religious people as a whole....

 make up the largest group, accounting for 43.6% of the population. The largest Protestant
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

 denomination is the United Church of Canada
United Church of Canada
The United Church of Canada is a Protestant Christian denomination in Canada. It is the largest Protestant church and, after the Roman Catholic Church, the second-largest Christian church in Canada...

 (accounting for 9.5% of Canadians), followed by Anglicans
Anglican Church of Canada
The Anglican Church of Canada is the Province of the Anglican Communion in Canada. The official French name is l'Église Anglicane du Canada. The ACC is the third largest church in Canada after the Roman Catholic Church and the United Church of Canada, consisting of 800,000 registered members...

 (6.8%), Baptists (2.4%), Lutherans (2%), and other Christian denominations (4.4%). About 16.5% of Canadians declare no religious affiliation
Irreligion
Irreligion is defined as an absence of religion or an indifference towards religion. Sometimes it may also be defined more narrowly as hostility towards religion. When characterized as hostility to religion, it includes antitheism, anticlericalism and antireligion. When characterized as...

, and the remaining 6.3% are affiliated with non-Christian religions, the largest of which are Islam
Islam in Canada
According to Canada's 2001 census, there were 579,740 Muslims in Canada, just under 2% of the population. In 2006, the Muslim population was estimated to be 0.8 million or about 2.6%. In 2010, the Pew Research Center estimates there were about 0.9 million Muslims in Canada. About 65% were Sunni,...

 (2.0%) and Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 (1.1%).

Canadian provinces and territories are responsible for education
Education in Canada
Education in Canada is for the most part provided publicly, funded and overseen by federal, provincial, and local governments. Education is within provincial jurisdiction and the curriculum is overseen by the province. Education in Canada is generally divided into primary education, followed by...

. Each system is similar, while reflecting regional history, culture and geography. The mandatory school age ranges between 5–7 to 16–18 years, contributing to an adult literacy rate of 99%. In 2002, 43% 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%.

Language


Canada's two official languages are English and French. Official bilingualism is defined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Official Languages Act
Official Languages Act (Canada)
The Official Languages Act is a Canadian law that came into force on September 9, 1969, which gives English and French equal status in the government of Canada. This makes them "official" languages, having preferred status in law over all other languages...

, and Official Language Regulations; it is applied by the Commissioner of Official Languages
Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages
The Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages, an office of the Canadian government, is responsible for achieving the objectives of, and promoting, Canada's 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.

English and French are the first language
First language
A first language is the language a person has learned from birth or within the critical period, or that a person speaks the best and so is often the basis for sociolinguistic identity...

s of 59.7% and 23.2% of the population respectively. Approximately 98% of Canadians speak English or French: 57.8% speak English only, 22.1% speak French only, and 17.4% speak both. English and French Official Language Communities, defined by First Official Language Spoken, constitute 73.0 and 23.6% of the population respectively.

The Charter of the French Language
Charter of the French Language
The Charter of the French Language , also known as Bill 101 and Loi 101, is a law in the province of Quebec in Canada defining French, the language of the majority of the population, as the only official language of Quebec, and framing fundamental language rights for everyone in the province...

 makes French the official language in Quebec. Although more than 85% of French-speaking Canadians live in Quebec, there are substantial Francophone
Francophone
The adjective francophone means French-speaking, typically as primary language, whether referring to individuals, groups, or places. Often, the word is used as a noun to describe a natively French-speaking person....

 populations in Ontario
Franco-Ontarian
Franco-Ontarians are French Canadian or francophone residents of the Canadian province of Ontario. They are sometimes known as "Ontarois"....

, Alberta
Franco-Albertan
The Franco-Albertans are an extended community of French Canadians or French-speaking people living in Alberta. They are centred in the Bonnie Doon area of Edmonton, and there are tens of thousands of Franco-Albertans living in communities such as Legal north of Edmonton, Bonnyville, Plamondon, and...

, and southern Manitoba
Franco-Manitoban
Franco-Manitobans are a community of French Canadians and other French-speaking people living in Manitoba. Most Franco-Manitobans have roots in Quebec. However, many are of Métis and Belgian ancestry while others have ancestors that came directly from France, its former colonies and other...

; Ontario has the largest French-speaking population outside Quebec. New Brunswick, the only officially bilingual province, has a French-speaking Acadian minority constituting 33% 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 Aboriginal language groups, composed of more than 65 distinct dialects. Of these, only the Cree, Inuktitut
Inuit language
The Inuit language is traditionally spoken across the North American Arctic and to some extent in the subarctic in Labrador. The related Yupik languages are spoken in western and southern Alaska and Russian Far East, particularly the Diomede Islands, but is severely endangered in Russia today and...

 and Ojibway
Ojibwe language
Ojibwe , also called Anishinaabemowin, is an indigenous language of the Algonquian language family. Ojibwe is characterized by a series of dialects that have local names and frequently local writing systems...

 languages have a large enough population of fluent speakers to be considered viable to survive in the long term. Several aboriginal languages have official status in the Northwest Territories. Inuktitut is the majority language in Nunavut, and one of three official languages in the territory.

In 2005, over six million people in Canada listed a non-official language as their mother tongue. Some of the most common non-official first languages include Chinese
Chinese language
The Chinese language is a language or language family consisting of varieties which are mutually intelligible to varying degrees. Originally the indigenous languages spoken by the Han Chinese in China, it forms one of the branches of Sino-Tibetan family of languages...

 (mainly Cantonese; 1,012,065 first-language speakers), Italian
Italian language
Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

 (455,040), German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 (450,570), Punjabi
Punjabi language
Punjabi is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by inhabitants of the historical Punjab region . For Sikhs, the Punjabi language stands as the official language in which all ceremonies take place. In Pakistan, Punjabi is the most widely spoken language...

 (367,505) and Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

 (345,345). English and French are the languages most spoken at home by 68.3% and 22.3% of the population respectively.

Culture


Canada has a diverse makeup of nationalities and cultures, and has constitutional protection for policies that promote multiculturalism
Multiculturalism
Multiculturalism is the appreciation, acceptance or promotion of multiple cultures, applied to the demographic make-up of a specific place, usually at the organizational level, e.g...

. In Quebec, cultural identity is strong, and many French-speaking commentators speak of a culture of Quebec
Culture of Quebec
The Culture of Quebec emerged over the last few hundred years, resulting from the shared history of the French-speaking majority in Quebec. It is unique to the Western World; Quebec is the only region in North America with a French-speaking majority, as well as one of only two provinces in Canada...

 as distinguished from English Canadian culture; however, as a whole Canada is in theory a cultural mosaic
Cultural mosaic
"Cultural mosaic" is a term used to describe the mix of ethnic groups, languages and cultures that co-exist within Canadian society. The idea of a cultural mosaic is intended to champion an ideal of multiculturalism, differently from other systems like the melting pot, which is often used to...

 – a collection of several regional, aboriginal, and ethnic subcultures. Government policies such as publicly-funded health care
Health care in Canada
Health care in Canada is delivered through a publicly-funded health care system, which is mostly free at the point of use and has most services provided by private entities. It is guided by the provisions of the Canada Health Act. The government assures the quality of care through federal standards...

, higher taxation
Income taxes in Canada
Income taxes in Canada constitute the majority of the annual revenues of the Government of Canada, and of the governments of the Provinces of Canada...

 to distribute wealth
Canadian federal budget
In Canada, federal budgets are presented annually by the Government of Canada to identify planned government spending, expected government revenue, and forecast economic conditions for the upcoming year....

, outlawing capital punishment
Capital punishment in Canada
Capital punishment in Canada dates back to 1749. Before Canada eliminated the death penalty for murder on July 14, 1976, 1,481 people were sentenced to death, with 710 executed. Of those executed, 697 were men and 13 were women. The only method used in Canada for capital punishment in nonmilitary...

, strong efforts to eliminate poverty
Poverty in Canada
Poverty in Canada remains prevalent with some segments of society. The measurement of poverty has been a challenge as there is no official government measure. There is an ongoing debate in Canada about whether a relative measure of poverty, or absolute measure of poverty, is more valid...

, an emphasis on multiculturalism, stricter gun control
Gun politics in Canada
Gun politics in Canada is largely polarized between two groups with opposing views. One group includes those who object to the registration of personal firearms...

, and legalization of same-sex marriage
Same-sex marriage in Canada
On July 20, 2005, Canada became the fourth country in the world and the first country in the Americas to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide with the enactment of the Civil Marriage Act which provided a gender-neutral marriage definition...

 are social indicators of how Canada's political and cultural evolution differs from that of the United States.

Historically Canada has been influenced by British, French, and aboriginal cultures and traditions. Through their culture, language, art
Native American art
Visual arts by indigenous peoples of the Americas encompasses the visual artistic traditions of the indigenous peoples of the Americas from ancient times to the present...

 and music
First Nations music
Aboriginal music of Canada encompasses a wide variety of musical genres created by Canada's Aboriginal people. Before European settlers came to what is now Canada, the region was occupied by a large number of aboriginal peoples, including the West Coast Salish and Haida, the centrally located...

, aboriginals continue to influence the Canadian identity
Canadian identity
Canadian identity refers to the set of characteristics and symbols that many Canadians regard as expressing their unique place and role in the world....

. Many Canadians value multiculturalism and see Canada as being inherently multicultural. American media and entertainment are popular, if not dominant, in English Canada; conversely, many Canadian cultural products and entertainers are successful in the United States and worldwide. 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
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, commonly known as CBC and officially as CBC/Radio-Canada, is a Canadian crown corporation that serves as the national public radio and television broadcaster...

 (CBC), the National Film Board of Canada
National Film Board of Canada
The National Film Board of Canada is Canada's twelve-time Academy Award-winning public film producer and distributor. An agency of the Government of Canada, the NFB produces and distributes documentary, animation, alternative drama and digital media productions...

, and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.

Canadian visual art has been dominated by Tom Thomson
Tom Thomson
Thomas John Thomson , also known as Tom Thomson, was an influential Canadian artist of the early 20th century. He directly influenced a group of Canadian painters that would come to be known as the Group of Seven, and though he died before they formally formed, he is sometimes incorrectly credited...

 – Canada's most famous painter – and by the Group of Seven
Group of Seven (artists)
The Group of Seven, sometimes known as the Algonquin school, were a group of Canadian landscape painters from 1920-1933, originally consisting of Franklin Carmichael , Lawren Harris , A. Y. Jackson , Franz Johnston , Arthur Lismer , J. E. H. MacDonald , and Frederick Varley...

. Thomson's brief career painting Canadian landscapes spanned just 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
Lawren Harris
Lawren Stewart Harris, CC was a Canadian painter. He was born in Brantford, Ontario and is best known as a member the Group of Seven who pioneered a distinctly Canadian painting style in the early twentieth century. A. Y. Jackson has been quoted as saying that Harris provided the stimulus for the...

, A. Y. Jackson
A. Y. Jackson
Alexander Young Jackson, was a Canadian painter and a founding member of the Group of Seven.- Early life and training :...

, Arthur Lismer
Arthur Lismer
Arthur Lismer, CC was an English-born Canadian painter and member of the Group of Seven.-Early life:At age 13 he apprenticed at a photo-engraving company. He was awarded a scholarship, and used this time to take evening classes at the Sheffield School of Arts from 1898 until 1905...

, J. E. H. MacDonald
J. E. H. MacDonald
James Edward Hervey MacDonald was a member of the famous Group of Seven Canadian artists. He is the father of Thoreau MacDonald.-Life:...

, and Frederick Varley
Frederick Varley
Frederick Horsman Varley, also known as Fred Varley , was a member of the Canadian Group of Seven artists.-Early life:Varley was born in Sheffield, England. He studied art in Sheffield and in Belgium...

 – were responsible for articulating the Group's ideas. They were joined briefly by Frank Johnston
Frank Johnston (artist)
Frank Johnston was a Canadian artist associated with the Group of Seven.-Life and career:Frank Johnston was born in Toronto and like many other Group members, he joined Grip Ltd. as a commercial artist...

, and by commercial artist Franklin Carmichael
Franklin Carmichael
Franklin Carmichael was a Canadian artist. He was the youngest original member of the Group of Seven.-Biography:The youngest of the Group of Seven, Franklin Carmichael was born in 1890. His father was a carriage maker...

. A. J. Casson
A. J. Casson
Alfred Joseph Casson, OC was a member of the Canadian group of painters known as the Group of Seven. He joined the group in 1926 at the invitation of Franklin Carmichael...

 became part of the Group in 1926. Associated with the Group was another prominent Canadian artist, Emily Carr
Emily Carr
Emily Carr was a Canadian artist and writer heavily inspired by the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast. One of the first painters in Canada to adopt a post-impressionist painting style, Carr did not receive widespread recognition for her work until later in her life...

, known for her landscapes and portrayals of the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast
Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast
The Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of the Pacific Northwest Coast, their descendants, and many ethnic groups who identify with those historical peoples. They are now situated within the Canadian Province of British Columbia and the U.S...

.

The Canadian music industry has produced internationally renowned composers, musicians and ensembles. Canada's music broadcasting is regulated by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences
Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences
The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences is the organization responsible for conducting the Juno Awards, Canada's primary national musical honours...

 administers Canada's music industry awards, the Juno Award
Juno Award
The Juno Awards are presented annually to Canadian musical artists and bands to acknowledge their artistic and technical achievements in all aspects of music...

s, which commenced in 1970. The national anthem of Canada O Canada
O Canada
It has been noted that the opening theme of "O Canada" bears a strong resemblance to the "Marsch der Priester" , from the opera Die Zauberflöte , composed in 1791 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and that Lavallée's melody was inspired by Mozart's tune...

adopted in 1980, was originally commissioned by the Lieutenant Governor of Quebec
Lieutenant Governor of Quebec
The Lieutenant Governor of Quebec : Lieutenant-gouverneur du Québec, or : Lieutenant-gouverneure du Québec) is the viceregal representative in Quebec of the Canadian monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, who operates distinctly within the province but is also shared equally with the ten other jurisdictions...

, the Honourable Théodore Robitaille
Théodore Robitaille
Théodore Robitaille, PC was a Canadian physician, politician, and the fourth Lieutenant Governor of Quebec....

, for the 1880 St. Jean-Baptiste Day
Fête nationale du Québec
Quebec's National Holiday is celebrated annually on June 24, St. John the Baptist DayIn Quebec, the national holiday is a paid statutory public holiday covered under the Act Respecting Labour Standards...

 ceremony. Calixa Lavallée
Calixa Lavallée
Calixa Lavallée, , born Calixte Lavallée, was a French-Canadian-American musician and Union officer during the American Civil War who composed the music for O Canada, which officially became the national anthem of Canada in 1980.-Biography:Calixa Lavallée was born at Verchères, a suburb of...

 wrote the music, which was a setting of a patriotic poem composed by the poet and judge Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier
Adolphe-Basile Routhier
Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier was a Canadian judge, author, and lyricist. He wrote the lyrics of the original French version of the Canadian national anthem O Canada. He was born in Saint-Placide, Quebec to Charles Routhier and Angélique Lafleur.Routhier studied law at Université Laval and graduated...

. The text was originally only in French, before it was translated to English in 1906.
Canada's official national sports are ice hockey
Ice hockey
Ice hockey, often referred to as hockey, is a team sport played on ice, in which skaters use wooden or composite sticks to shoot a hard rubber puck into their opponent's net. The game is played between two teams of six players each. Five members of each team skate up and down the ice trying to take...

 and lacrosse
Lacrosse
Lacrosse is a team sport of Native American origin played using a small rubber ball and a long-handled stick called a crosse or lacrosse stick, mainly played in the United States and Canada. It is a contact sport which requires padding. The head of the lacrosse stick is strung with loose mesh...

. Hockey is a national pastime
National sport
A national sport or national pastime is a sport or game that is considered to be an intrinsic part of the culture of a nation. Some sports are de facto national sports, as baseball is in the U.S., while others are de jure as lacrosse and ice hockey are in Canada.-De jure national sports:-De facto...

 and the most popular spectator sport in the country. It is also the sport most played by Canadians, with 1.65 million participants in 2004. Seven of Canada's eight largest metropolitan areas – Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg – have franchises in the National Hockey League
National Hockey League
The National Hockey League is an unincorporated not-for-profit association which operates a major professional ice hockey league of 30 franchised member clubs, of which 7 are currently located in Canada and 23 in the United States...

 (NHL), and there are more Canadian players in the NHL than from all other countries combined. Other popular spectator sports include curling
Curling
Curling is a sport in which players slide stones across a sheet of ice towards a target area. It is related to bowls, boule and shuffleboard. Two teams, each of four players, take turns sliding heavy, polished granite stones, also called "rocks", across the ice curling sheet towards the house, a...

 and football
Canadian football
Canadian football is a form of gridiron football played exclusively in Canada in which two teams of 12 players each compete for territorial control of a field of play long and wide attempting to advance a pointed prolate spheroid ball into the opposing team's scoring area...

; the latter is played professionally in the Canadian Football League
Canadian Football League
The Canadian Football League or CFL is a professional sports league located in Canada. The CFL is the highest level of competition in Canadian football, a form of gridiron football closely related to American football....

 (CFL). Golf
Golf
Golf is a precision club and ball sport, in which competing players use many types of clubs to hit balls into a series of holes on a golf course using the fewest number of strokes....

, baseball
Baseball
Baseball is a bat-and-ball sport played between two teams of nine players each. The aim is to score runs by hitting a thrown ball with a bat and touching a series of four bases arranged at the corners of a ninety-foot diamond...

, skiing
Skiing
Skiing is a recreational activity using skis as equipment for traveling over snow. Skis are used in conjunction with boots that connect to the ski with use of a binding....

, soccer
Soccer in Canada
Association football, more commonly known in Canada as soccer, is the most popular sport in terms of participation rate. According to FIFA's Big Count, 2,695,712 people played in Canada in 2006.-Terminology:...

, cricket
Cricket
Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of 11 players on an oval-shaped field, at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard long pitch. One team bats, trying to score as many runs as possible while the other team bowls and fields, trying to dismiss the batsmen and thus limit the...

, volleyball
Volleyball
Volleyball is a team sport in which two teams of six players are separated by a net. Each team tries to score points by grounding a ball on the other team's court under organized rules.The complete rules are extensive...

, and basketball
Basketball
Basketball is a team sport in which two teams of five players try to score points by throwing or "shooting" a ball through the top of a basketball hoop while following a set of rules...

 are widely played at youth and amateur levels, but professional leagues and franchises are not widespread.

Canada has hosted several high-profile international sporting events, including the 1976 Summer Olympics
1976 Summer Olympics
The 1976 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXI Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event celebrated in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, in 1976. Montreal was awarded the rights to the 1976 Games on May 12, 1970, at the 69th IOC Session in Amsterdam, over the bids of Moscow and...

 in Montreal, the 1988 Winter Olympics
1988 Winter Olympics
The 1988 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XV Olympic Winter Games, were a winter multi-sport event celebrated in and around Calgary, Alberta, Canada from 13 to 28 February 1988. The host was selected in 1981 after having beat Falun, Sweden and Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy...

 in Calgary, and the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup
2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup
The 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup was the sixteenth edition of the FIFA U-20 World Cup , hosted by Canada from June 30 to July 22, 2007. Argentina defeated Czech Republic in the title game by the score of 2–1, thus managing a back-to-back world title, its fifth in the past seven editions, and sixth...

. Canada was the host nation for the 2010 Winter Olympics
2010 Winter Olympics
The 2010 Winter Olympics, officially the XXI Olympic Winter Games or the 21st Winter Olympics, were a major international multi-sport event held from February 12–28, 2010, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, with some events held in the suburbs of Richmond, West Vancouver and the University...

 in Vancouver
Vancouver
Vancouver is a coastal seaport city on the mainland of British Columbia, Canada. It is the hub of Greater Vancouver, which, with over 2.3 million residents, is the third most populous metropolitan area in the country,...

 and Whistler, British Columbia
Whistler, British Columbia
Whistler is a Canadian resort town in the southern Pacific Ranges of the Coast Mountains in the province of British Columbia, Canada, approximately north of Vancouver...

.

Canada's national symbols are influenced by natural, historical, and Aboriginal sources. The use of the maple leaf
Maple leaf
The maple leaf is the characteristic leaf of the maple tree, and is the most widely recognized national symbol of Canada.-Use in Canada:At the beginning of the eighteenth century, the settlements of New France had attained a population of about 18,000...

 as a Canadian symbol dates to the early 18th century. The maple leaf is depicted on Canada's current
Flag of Canada
The national flag of Canada, also known as the Maple Leaf, and , is a red flag with a white square in its centre, featuring a stylized 11-pointed red maple leaf. Its adoption in 1965 marked the first time a national flag had been officially adopted in Canada to replace the Union Flag...

 and previous flags
Canadian Red Ensign
The Canadian Red Ensign is the former flag of Canada, used by the federal government though it was never adopted as official by the Parliament of Canada. It is a British Red Ensign, featuring the Union Flag in the canton, defaced with the shield of the Coat of Arms of Canada.-History:The Red Ensign...

, on the penny
Penny (Canadian coin)
In Canada, a penny is a coin worth one cent or of a dollar. According to the Royal Canadian Mint, the official national term of the coin is the "one-cent piece", but in practice the term penny or cent is universal. Originally, "penny" referred to a two-cent coin. When the two-cent coin was...

, and on the Arms of Canada. Other prominent symbols include the beaver
Beaver
The beaver is a primarily nocturnal, large, semi-aquatic rodent. Castor includes two extant species, North American Beaver and Eurasian Beaver . Beavers are known for building dams, canals, and lodges . They are the second-largest rodent in the world...

, Canada Goose
Canada Goose
The Canada Goose is a wild goose belonging to the genus Branta, which is native to arctic and temperate regions of North America, having a black head and neck, white patches on the face, and a brownish-gray body....

, Common Loon, the Crown, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and more recently, the totem pole
Totem pole
Totem poles are monumental sculptures carved from large trees, mostly Western Red Cedar, by cultures of the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast of North America...

 and Inuksuk.

Further reading



History ISBN 0802050166, ISBN 0802028012
Geography and climate
Government and law

Foreign relations and military
Economy
Demography and statistics
Culture

External links