The Evolution Of Canada

The Evolution Of Canada

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The Evolution Of Canada

Canada, independent nation in North America. A country rich in minerals
and agriculture, it was settled by the French and English and became an
independent Commonwealth country with a federal system of government, in
which the provinces enjoy a large measure of autonomy.

Land and Economy. The 2nd-largest country in the world (after the USSR),
Canada occupies the N half of the North American continent, stretching E
and W from the Atlantic to Pacific oceans, N from the 49th parallel to the
North Pole, including all the islands in the Arctic Ocean from W of
Greenland to Alaska. It is divided into 10 provinces, which are (E-W):
Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Quebec,
Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia. Two
territories--Northwest Territories and Yukon Territory--are in the N and NW.
The outstanding geological feature is the Canadian Shield, a 1,850,000-sq-
mi (4,791,500-sq-km) arc of Pre-Cambrian rock from Labrador around Hudson
Bay to the Arctic islands. The Shield, site of once great mountain chains
worn down and covered by the sea, contains valuable minerals--gold, silver,
platinum, copper, nickel, cobalt, iron, and zinc--making Canada one of the
most important mining countries in the world. The Shield's N portion is a
treeless plain with permanently frozen subsoil; in its S section are

Extending from the Shield's W border to the Canadian Rockies are
prairies more than 800mi (1,288km) wide that yield wheat, the dominant crop,
and are centers of livestock raising. W Canada is a land of mountains with
fishing, agriculture, and lumbering as important industries. With the
development of major oil and natural gas deposits since the 1950s in the W,
the now-dominant energy industry has resulted in dramatic economic growth
there, and made Canada a major oil-producing country. The E provinces
provide rich farm lands, forests, coal mines, and major fishing sources
along the long coastline. Source of a route into the interior for early
settlers, the St Lawrence-Great Lakes area is the most populous section of
Canada as well as its economic and political center. It contains over 60%
of the population. Abundant minerals have made Canada the world leader in
the production of silver, nickel, potash, and zinc; second in gypsum,
asbestos, uranium, and sulfur; third in gold, lead, and platinum; fourth in
magnesium and fifth in copper. Timber is also valuable, and Canada is a
world leader in newsprint production. The growth of manufacturing during
the 1950s and 1960s changed Canada from a rural society to an industrial
and urban country. Farming employs 7% of the working population.

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Mechanization has made it possible to export 30%-40% of its total
agricultural production, accounting for 11% of total exports. Wheat is
particularly important. Of the total fishing catch, 75% is exported.

People. Canada's indigenous Indians and Eskimos are descendants of the
Mongoloid tribes who took the NW route from Asia across the Bering Strait
15,000-20,000 years ago. The Arctic region contains about 12,000 Eskimos.
Today, 44% of the population is of British descent. About 30% is French,
descended from the colonists who came to Canada in the 17th and 18th
centuries, and now heavily concentrated in Quebec and New Brunswick. During
the American Revolution many British loyalists fled to Canada from the
United States, and after 1900 waves of immigrants from Germany, the Ukraine,
and Italy settled on the prairie farmlands or the urban centers. Native
Indians have been increasing in number, accounting for over 210,000, mostly
living in the prairie states. During periods of US prosperity, emigration
has brought Canadians S to work in the industrial cities. Forty-six percent
of the population is Roman Catholic with the coalition United Church of
Canada next (20%). Literacy is almost 100%.

Government. In its role as a member of the Commonwealth of Nations,
Canada is both a constitutional monarchy and a democracy. Internally, there
is a federal structure of the 10 provinces and 2 territories. The British
monarch names a governor general who serves as symbol of the association
with the Commonwealth. Parliament is divided into two houses. Members of
the Senate are appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime
minister. Members of the House of Commons are elected. The executive branch
includes a cabinet, headed by the prime minister, who is the leader of the
party in power. Within each province the government is headed by a premier
and parliament.

History. Rivalry between the French and the English marked Canada's
early development. John Cabot, sailing for England, reached Newfoundland in
1497 and claimed possession for King Henry VII. In 1534, French explorer
Jacques Cartier planted the French flag on the Gasp‚ Peninsula, and in 1604,
Samuel de Champlain established the first French colony, Port Royal, in
Nova Scotia; four years later he founded what is now the city of Quebec.
French navigators traveled the St Lawrence and Hudson rivers, claiming
large interior lands for France. Traders and missionaries penetrated the
interior, and French officials made peace with the Indians, thus
encouraging French immigration. Seeking a share of the lucrative fur trade,
the British in 1670 established the Hudson's Bay Co. Continental war
between France and England extended to the New World, and the 1759 defeat
of French commander Montcalm brought the fall of Quebec; the 1763 Treaty of
Paris gave Canada to Britain. In 1791 a constitutional act divided Canada
into two sections--an English portion in what is now Ontario and a French
portion in what is now Quebec. The next 40 years were marked by trade and
expansion. Alexander Mackenzie, the first white man to cross the continent,
reached the Arctic in 1789 and the Pacific in 1793. The United States
invaded Canada during the War of 1812, which ended in a stalemate with the
Treaty of Ghent. French Canadians demanded political reform, and in 1840
Upper and Lower Canada were joined and self-government approved. Border
questions between the United States and Canada were settled during the same
period when the 49th parallel was accepted as the demarcation line. A
movement to join the isolated colonies spread across the continent was
spurred by promises to build a railway system linking the provinces and to
provide future protection against US invasion, especially during the Civil
War, when there was anti-British feeling in the United States. In 1867 the
British North America Act joined four provinces--Quebec, Ontario, Nova
Scotia, and New Brunswick--and provided for a parliamentary system. In 1869
Canada bought land from the Hudson's Bay Co., carving out of it the
provinces of Manitoba (1870), Saskatchewan (1905), and Alberta (1905).
Encouraged by a transcontinental railway promise, British Columbia joined
the union in 1871 and Prince Edward Island in 1873. The last addition came
in 1948 when Newfoundland became Canada's 10th province. Outstanding
leaders during the drive for independence and the early years of
confederation included John A. Macdonald, Wilfrid Laurier, and William Lyon
Mackenzie King. Canada joined the Allies in WWII and after the war became a
member of the United Nations. The Liberal party dominated politics from the
early 1960s until 1984. First with Lester Pearson and, from 1968-79 and
1980-84, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, as prime minister. In 1984 Trudeau retired
from politics and chose John N. Turner to succeed him as prime minister and
party leader. The 1984 elections saw a dramatic change in power with the
election of the Progressive Conservative candidate, Brian Mulroney.
Mulroney and US President Ronald Reagan in 1988 signed a historic free-
trade agreement that made the US and Canada the largest free-trade area in
the world; annual trade was expected to amount to about $150 billion.

During the late 1970s and early 1980s, Canada successfully weathered
severe crises of national unity. In Quebec, four-fifths French-speaking,
the militant Parti Qu‚b‚cois won the elections of 1976 on a secessionist
platform, but in 1980 Quebec voters rejected a referendum on separate
status. In 1979 Trudeau announced plans to repatriate the British North
America Act, which functions as the Canadian constitution, but is amendable
only by act of the British parliament. The provincial premiers were at
first opposed to the move, but a compromise reached in 1981 was rejected
only by Quebec and was signed into effect by Queen Elizabeth II in 1982. In
1987 Quebec signed the Canadian constitution, which had been altered to
include a provision for Quebec to be recognized as a "distinct society." In
1988 a free-trade agreement was signed between Canada and the US; its
supporters expected it tostimulate international trade by encouraging the
removal of trade tariffs and restrictions.

PROFILE Official name: Canada Area: 3,851,809sq mi (9,976,185sq km)
Population: 26,310,836 Density: 6.8per sq mi (2.6per sq km) Chief cities:
Ottawa (capital); Montreal; Toronto; Edmonton Government: Constitutional
monarchy with parliamentary system of government Religion: Roman Catholic
(major), Anglican, United Church Language: English, French Monetary unit:
Canadian dollar Gross national product: $471,500,000,000 Per capita income:
$18,070 Industries: pulp and paper, petroleum products, iron, steel, motor
vehicles, aircraft, machinery, chemicals, aluminum, fish canning
Agriculture: wheat, barley, oats, rye, potatoes, fish, cattle, forests
Minerals: oil, iron ore, gold, silver, platinum, copper, nickel, cobalt,

Trading partners: United States, Japan, United Kingdom
Following is a list of the prime ministers of Canada.


John A. McDonald 1867-73
Alexander Mackenzie 1873-78
John A. McDonald 1878-91
John J.C. Abbot 1891-92
John S.D. Thompson 1892-94
Mackenzie Bowell 1894-96
Charles Tupper 1896
Wilfrid Laurier 1896-1911
Robert L. Borden 1911-20
Arthur Meighen 1920-21
W. L. Mackenzie King 1921-26
Arthur Meighen 1926
W. L. Mackenzie King 1926-30
Richard B. Bennett 1930-35
W. L. Mackenzie King 1935-48
Louis Stephen St. Laurent 1948-57
John George Diefenbaker 1957-63
Lester B. Pearson 1963-68
Pierre Elliott Trudeau 1968-79
Joe Clark 1979-80
Pierre Elliott Trudeau 1980-84
Brian Mulroney 1984-
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