Government of Canada and Canada's Economy

Canadian Government and Economy

Canada's first people, the ancestors of the Native Americans, or Indians, arrived in North America from Asia around 40,000 years ago. Later arrivals were the Inuit (Eskimos), who also came from Asia. Europeans reached the Canadian coast in 1497 and a race began between Britain and France for control f the territory.

Ottawa City Hall France gained an initial advantage, and the French founded Quebec in 1608. But the British later occupied eastern Canada in1867, Britain passed the British North America Act, which set up the Dominion of Canada, which was made up of Quebec, Ontario, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Other areas were added, the last being Newfoundland in 1949. Canada fought alongside Britain in both World Wars and man Canadians feel close ties with Britain. Canada is a constitutional monarchy, and the British monarch is Canada's head of state.

Rivalries between French and English speaking Canadians continue. In 1995 Quebeckers voted against a move to make Quebec a sovereign state. The majority was less than 1% and this issue seems unlikely to disappear. Another problem concerns the rights of the Aboriginal minorities, who would like to have more say n the running of their own affairs. To this end, in 1999, Canada created a new territory called Nunavut for the Inuit population in the north. Nunavut covers approximately 64% of what was formerly the eastern part of the Northwest Territories.

Parliament Hill OttawaCanada's system of government was originally based on the British system and now operates as a federal multiparty constitutional monarchy. A Federal government oversees and acts on matters of national interest. Provincial governments operate with their own ability to legislate on provincial matters. The head of state is the British Queen with a Governor General appointed as the Commonwealth's representative in Canada.

Ottawa, on the south bank of the Ottawa River in eastern Ontario, is home to Canada's parliament, House of Commons and senate.

Political parties in Canada are wide spread in views and popularity leaving three main parties: the Liberals, Progressive Conservatives, and the New Democratic Party (NDP). The NDP have never been appointed to form a federal government. The Canadian Alliance has rose from the west of Canada but has been unable to achieve enough popularity for its right-wing views. The Bloc Québecois, the separatist party from Québec are also an important voice in the political arena.

The provinces are run by the three main parties although in British Columbia the Social Credit Party have been able to form a provincial government. Provincial governments act independently from their related federal parties.

Canada's economy allows for a high standard of living similar to that of most Western countries. The United Nations consistently ranks Canada as one of the most desirable countries to live in. Canada is a highly developed and prosperous country. Although farmland covers only 8% of the country, Canadian farms are highly productive. Canada is one of the world's leading producers of barley, wheat, meat and milk. Forestry and fishing are other important industries. It is rich in natural resources, especially oil and natural gas, and is a major exporter of minerals. The country also produces copper, gold, iron ore, uranium, and zinc. Manufacturing is highly developed, especially in the cities where 78% of the people live. Canada has many factories that process farm and mineral products. It also produces, cars, chemicals, electronic goods, machinery, paper and timber products. Services accounts for 74% of the economy including banking, communication, education, insurance, and an enormous civil service.

Unemployment has wavered around the 8% mark although this varies regionally. Inflation rate is under 2% and the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for Canada is $1,056,000.

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