Country of the World Canada
About the country Canada, its location, size, population, leaders and rulers.
NATIONS AND THEIR RULER
Lay of the Land: Canada occupies most of the northern portion of the North American continent. In the far east of Canada, the Appalachian Mountains extend into the Maritime provinces, creating a hilly, forested landscape with an irregular coastline punctuated by scenic bays and inlets. To the west is a lowlands region stretching from the St. Lawrence River to the Great Lakes. This is a fertile area of dairy farms, tobacco plantations, and orchards. Also located in this region, where 60% of all Canadians live, are the cities of Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and Quebec. Further westward are the Canadian prairies, a belt of flatlands running from the Great Lakes to the Rocky Mountains. In this treeless region, wheat fields blanket the land from horizon to horizon. To the north of these regions, the sparsely inhabited frozen Canadian Shield region extends northward from Hudson Bay into the Arctic Circle. Composing one half of Canada's total area, this region is covered by scrub forests, tundra, and swamplands, and includes immense ice-and glacier-coated islands, such as Baffin Island, which is the size of Spain. The Canadian far west is dominated by the Rocky, Coast, and Mackenzie mountains. In the south-western corner of the nation, there is a relatively warm coastal region, where the cities of Vancouver and Victoria are located.
Size: 3,851,809 sq. mi. (9,976,139 sq. km.).
Population: 23.5 million, Languages: English. 66.9%; French, 25.7%; Italian, 2.0%; German, 1.0%; Ukrainian, 0.7%; Indian and Eskimo, 0.6%; others, 3.1%. Religions: Roman Catholic, 46.2%; United Church of Canada, 17.5%; Anglican Church of Canada, 11.8%; Presbyterian, 4.0%; Lutheran, 3.3%; Greek Orthodox, 1.5%; Jewish, 1.3%; Ukrainian Catholic. 1.1%; others, 13.3%.
Who Rules: Canada is a constitutional monarchy, with British Queen Elizabeth II serving as the titular head of state. She is represented in Canada by her appointed governor-general, who performs almost purely ceremonial and non-political functions, even though he is paid $48,000 a year and has a $100,000 expense account. Canada has a parliamentary government composed of two houses, the elected House of Commons with 264 members and the Senate, whose members are appointed by the prime minister and serve until the age of 75, when they are required to retire. Like the British House of Lords, the Senate has little real power. The actual head of the government is the prime minister, who is the leader of the majority parliamentary party and forms and presides over a cabinet.
Who REALLY Rules: Control of the Canadian federal government and bureaucracy is in the hands of Protestant English-speaking males of British descent. Even though Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau is a native of Quebec, French-speaking Canadians, Canadians of non-British ancestry (including Italians, Ukrainians, and Jews), and Indians are largely excluded from the highest positions in Canada's political and economic elite. In domestic affairs, U.S.-owned Canadian corporations exert tremendous power within the government. American corporate influence has resulted in lenient, highly favorable tax laws concerning investments and profits for U.S.-based corporations in Canada. An American corporation can transfer its profits from its Canadian companies to the U.S. without paying any taxes on them.
In the fall of 1977, news of domestic spying operations conducted by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police--Canada's federal police, popularly known as the Mounties--scandalized the Canadian government. Opposition politicians accused Prime Minister Trudeau's administration of having ordered the bugging of Parliament members' offices. Other allegations charged that the famed Mounties had stolen and destroyed files belonging to the separatist Parti Quebecois and had infiltrated a variety of political groups, from the Canadian Federation of Labor to the radical and now defunct Quebec Liberation Front (FLQ). On Nov. 1, 1977, testifying before a provincial commission in Montreal, a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) sergeant stated that he and a specially trained squad of Mounties had burned down an inn to disrupt a meeting held by FLQ members and American Black Panthers. In January, 1978, a federal commission learned of more illegal RCMP breakins and wiretappings, including the tapping of former Solicitor-general Warren Allmand's telephone. However, further investigations were halted when the government refused to release RCMP documents, claiming they were vital to national security.
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