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From dKosopedia

Flag of Canada
Flag of Canada
Map of Canada
Map of Canada

Canada is the most expansive of the five Anglo-Saxon states.



Form of Government: confederation with parliamentary democracy
Official Languages: French and English
Capital City: Ottawa, Ontario

Canada is a bilingual (French and English) multicultural decentralized parliamentary and federal state.

Canadians share a family tree that represents peoples from around the world. Canada’s political and cultural landscape has been shaped by many waves of immigrants who displaced the peoples and traditions of most First Nations (Canada). For more information about Canadian diversity visit Here you will find information about the many cultures that make up Canada's mulitcultural landscape. For extremely detailed information on Canadian issues and parties, much of it in issue/position/argument form, see

The second largest country on the planet in territory, Canada has a population estimated at 31,630,000 in 2004. As a consequence it has a population density of only 8.22 persons per square mile or 3.43 persons per square kilometer. Only Australia, Botswana, Iceland and Suriname have lower population densities. The population of Canada is highly concentrated in a zone within 200 miles of the U.S. Border.

Canada's provinces and territories are usually described in perceived in the following terms:

Jefferson's state?

It is sometimes said that Thomas Jefferson's own model was better realized in Canada than in the United States in various ways:

Jefferson himself listed his founding of the University of Virginia, that state's religious tolerance statue, the Declaration of Independence which removed the US from the conflict between the superpowers of the day (Britain and France), and the Bill of Rights - not sure about this fourth - check it please - as the four primary achievements he took pride in. He did not list his own presidency. It should also be said that as a Francophile and certified French food snob, Jefferson would have loved hanging out in Quebec and eating at its restaurants.

Policy contrast

It is sometimes said that what Americans spend on guns, Canadians spend on health care -- although the US actually spends more as a percentage of GDP on health care than Canada does. It's also a common observation that Canada would be "defenceless" without the United States. However, looking at a map makes it clear that there is exactly and only one potential enemy that could ever invade Canada: the US. See U.S. invasion of Canada and the reciprocal Canadian invasion of the U.S. - both equally ridiculous but not for the reasons you think.

The assertion that Canadians are cowardly is rare, wholly ignorant, and easily refuted with reference to performance in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, many UN peacekeeping operations and the Afghan War. Quite the contrary, Canadian forces have relied since WWI on volunteers and have accordingly had much higher morale. On D-Day, a German commander hearing Canadian troops would invade his beach, complained bitterly that "dozens of nations against us, and I get the Canadians". The only attempt to invade Europe prior to D-Day was the failed Dieppe Raid, a suicide mission by Canadian troops - a possibly cynical attempt to test the defences of the continent.

Canadian citizens are also about as heavily armed as the US in rural areas, though far fewer Canadians die of gunshot wounds. An issue explored in Bowling for Columbine by Michael Moore.

Americans wonder that Canada has managed to provide universal health care to its entire population. Canada's inexpensive prescription drugs are a source of great envy to American seniors, who cross the border to make their purchases. However the load placed on the Canadian system by Americans has become a threat. Recently, a Supreme Court of Canada judgement held that Quebec (though not necessarily all Canadian) citizens had a right to buy private health insurance, which is banned in Canada though private health care isn't.

An August 22-27 public opinion poll of Canadians revealed that a majority believed U.S. foreign policy was responsible for the September 11, 2001 attacks on the WTC and Pentagon. Seventy-seven percent of the respondents in Quebec and 57 percent od respondents in Ontario expressed that idea. Source: "New poll says most Canadians blame U.S. for 9/11 attacks." September 7, 2006.


Canada is officially a "compact between nations" formed after the Seven Years War, which recognised the British dominance of New France that resulted from the defeat of French forces on the Plains of Abraham (near Quebec City) in 1759. The stress between the nations continues to this day. Quebecers traditionally resented the perceived control of their economic destiny by English Canadians, though the so-called "Quiet Revolution" of the 1960s began a process whereby French Canadians began to assume control of many of the province's businesses. Whether because or in spite of significant social changes in Quebec over the last thirty years, the secessionist ("separatist") movement that began in the 1970s remains very much alive, with support hovering between 45% and 55% in polls.

Quebec sovereignty

The separatist Parti Quebecois first achieved power in Quebec in 1976. In 1980 the first referendum on Quebec indepedence was easily defeated with only 40% support. In 1995 a referendum on Quebec independence was defeated by a very narrow 50.6% to 49.4%. Another referendum is expected to occur during the next Parti Quebecois administration, which could happen as early as 2008 - see Quebec sovereignty referendum for an analysis of potential impacts of this. Some believe it could have a cascading and destabilizing effect on both Canada and the United States by encouraging other regional secession in Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Newfoundland and perhaps even in California. See Nine Nations of North America for a good analysis. However, it must be said that Quebec is divided from the rest of Canada by its own language, and by significant cultural differences which find no parallel in the differences among US states, Puerto Rico and Hawaii excepted.

Provinces and territories

Canada's 10 provinces and 3 territories(*): Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories(*), Nova Scotia, Nunavut(*), Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Yukon Territory(*)

Seats in Parliament - BC 36, Alberta 28, Sask/Man 28, Ontario 106, Québec 75, Atlantic 32, Territories 3.


For extremely detailed coverage see - a wiki devoted to these issues.

Canada's parliamentary system follows the so-called "Westminster" system which originated in Britain. There are few significant formal differences between the British and Canadian systems of government. (One is the existence of the Senate, which though it in many ways mirrors the House of Lords possesses no equivalent of "hereditary peers" -- see below.) Parliamentary systems have historically allowed for Third Parties to play a more active role than they are able to play in presidential systems like the U.S. In fact, in recent years as many as five parties have held enough seats in Canada's Parliament to achieve official party status. See the recent Canadian Parliamentary Elections. Like the U.S., Canada has a geographically based winner-take-allfirst-past-the-post a.k.a. single member district/plurality electoral system. Each riding elects one Member of Parliament.

Canada is a Commonwealth Realm, which means that the British monarch remains the Canadian head of state. She acts through her Governor General for Canada, who appoints the Prime Minister (who must hold the confidence of Parliament, in effect meaning the leader of the majority party), dissolves Parliament (normally at the Prime Minister's request), and signs bills into law. If one party has a majority of members, that party forms the government and a cabinet is chosen from its members to advise the Prime Minister and head the various government departments. If no party has a majority, then there is a minority government led by the party with the most seats.

The Canadian legislature, like the American, is bicameral. In addition to the elected House of Commons, there is an unelected upper chamber, the Senate. Senators are appointed by the Prime Minister and sit until retirement (mandatory at age 75). Electoral districts, or ridings, are smaller than American districts (308 districts for 32 Million people, or about 1 per 100,000 population). More detail about how the system works can be found at Elections Canada.

Canadian courts have generally followed what is known as "progressive constitutionalism" -- the adaptation of constitutional norms to changing political circumstances. There is no sacred "founding text" for Canada (the British North America Act of 1867 apportions power between provincial and federal levels of government, but says nothing about the rights of citizens), though the 1982 Charter of Rights now plays a major role in jurisprudence and legislation.

Visit for more information on Canadian politics, political process and parties.

Main Parties

Smaller federal parties

By far the largest of the smaller parties, and often reported on as a major party:

Native Insurgent Organizations

Political Issues


Canada stretches from the northern border of the United States to the North Pole. Canada is the second largest country in the world at over 6 million square miles and shares a 5,526 mile border with the United States. The country is rich in natural resources with vast reserves of petroleum, minerals and huge swathes of forests. However, most of the northern reaches are essentially uninhabitable with most larger cities occuring within close proximity to the southern border.

Provinces (west to east)

The territories are not considered provinces. The city of Toronto has an active movement for full provincial status, see Province of Toronto. Cape Breton, an island that composes the easternmost part of Nova Scotia, has agitated for territory or separate province status, and has actually filed suit against the province for its share of Canadian federal equalization funds.


Canada has a population of just over 32 million residents, slightly less than California. Canada has a net immigration rate nearly twice that of the US (6.01 migrant(s)/1,000 pop. vs. 3.52 migrant(s)/1,000 pop.) but continues to suffer from a significant emigration of professionals to the United States.

Ethnic Origins:


Canada is an advanced post-industrial market economy with a business culture very similar to the United States. It is a member of the G7 and one of the most affluent countries in the world. In 2002 Canadian GDP was estimated at $934 billion; per-Capita GDP would be $29,300 (2002 US per-Capita GDP: $36,300). Canada signed the US-Canada Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the US in 1989 and NAFTA with the US and Mexico in 1994. It is the United States' most important trading partner consuming ~23% of US exports (Mexico ~14%). The US consumes ~88% of Canadian exports.

Canadian Politicians

defiance of deal with Orchard

External Links

Further Reading

Editorial Note

There is also a remarkably crabbed article on Canada (Republican view). This article is on the Democratic, i.e. sympathetic, view of Canada, as per Dkosopedia policy.

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