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General information:
Population: 31,902,268
Capital: Ottawa
Other towns: Montreal, Calgary, Toronto, Vancouver, Quebec, Edmonton, Winnipeg
Currency: Canadian dollar = 100 cents
Head of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952), represented by Governor General Adrienne Clarkson (since 7 October 1999)
Head of government: Prime Minister Jean Chretien (since 4 November 1993)
GDP: $ 27,700

· It is the second largest country in the world (after Russia).
· It is occupying the northern part of the North American continent
· Is bordered by the USA in the south, the Pacific ocean and Alaska (USA) in the west, the Arctic Ocean in the north and the Atlantic Ocean in the east
· Canada’s biggest lakes are: Great Bear Lake, Great Slave Lake, and Lake Winnipeg.
· There are also other great lakes which are shared with the USA: Lake Superior (area 82,103 sq km), Lake Huron, Lake Erie, Lake Ontario
· The rivers can be divided into three systems: The Atlantic system is represented by the Winnipeg, the Saskatchewan and the St. Lawrence river, which makes the longest waterway system in the inner part of Canada; The Pacific system is made up mainly by the Columbia, the Frazer and the Yukon rivers The Arctic system consists of the Mackenzie
· Canada is divided into seven regions, each with a very different landscape and climate:

o The Pacific Coast: has the most moderate climate of Canada’s regions. It includes the area of British Columbia and Vancouver Island. o The Cordillera: made up of the Rocky Mountains, the Coast Mountains and other ranges running north to south. It includes also the highest point of Canada- Mount Logan (6,050 m high)
o The Prairies: the plains of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. This area is rich on grain, oil, natural gas and potash
o The Canadian Shield: include a huge inland sea called Hudson Bay. It stretches east to Labrador, south to Kingston on Lake Ontario and northwest to the Arctic Ocean. It is made of roots of ancient mountains and considered to be the nucleus of North American continent.

It is a storehouse of minerals, including gold, silver, zinc, copper and uranium
o The Great Lakes: consist of St. Lawrence Lowlands, Southern Quebec and Ontario. Contains two largest cities Montreal and Toronto. This region is the sugar maple country, producing grapes, peaches, pears and other fruits
o The Atlantic Provinces: are also called Appalachian Region. It consists of the smallest and oldest provinces, such as New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland. There are the richest fishing areas and fertile valleys in this region
o The Arctic: although the winters are long, bitterly cold and dark, in the summer can the temperature reach 30 degrees. It is no longer an inaccessible frontier; many places have electricity and can be reached by road or by air
· The first people have arrived to America about 30 000 years ago, by crossing from Siberia to Alaska.
· 1 000 years ago occurred the first contact between Europeans and native peoples, when Icelandic Norsemen settled on the island of Newfoundland
· On the way finding a new route to the Orient, French and English explorers settled here and constructed a number of posts, because of rich fishing grounds and many animals valued for their furs. They settled around Great Lakes and Hudson Bay, in 1497 John Cabot claimed the land for the English Crown, in 1534 planted Jacques Cartier French flag
· In the Treaty of Paris 1763 were most of the French territories given to England and in 1774 Britain passed the Quebec Act which granted recognition to French civil laws and freedoms
· After rebellions in 1848 was the united Province of Canada given from Britain its own government (except in matters of foreign affairs)
· On July 1, 1867 joined together most of Canadian provinces into the Dominion of Canada (the last province to join was Newfoundland in 1949)
· During the prewar period Canada established itself as an industrial and agricultural power. Its substantial role in World War I resulted in its representation distinct from Britain in the League of Nations.
· The Statute of Westminster in 1931 confirmed Canada’s constitutional autonomy from Britain
· Today is Canada one of the world’s strongest countries.

It is an affluent, high-tech industrial society, with market-oriented economic system, skilled labor force, pattern of production, and high living standards

Political system:
· Canada is a constitutional monarchy (the monarchy is hereditary), federal state and parliamentary democracy with two official languages (English and French) and two systems of law: civil law and common law. · Governor general is appointed by the monarch on the advice of the prime minister for a five-year term
· In 1982 the Charter of Rights and Freedoms was entrenched in the Canadian Constitution
· The Canadian Parliament is composed of the Queen (who is represented by Governor General), the Senate (also called Upper House) and the House of Commons. · The Senate has 104 members and has the same powers as the House of Commons, with a few exceptions
· The House of Commons has 295 members elected for the term of 5 years, and is the major law making body. Following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party in the House of Commons is automatically designated by the governor general to become prime minister
· The Cabinet is the real executive authority, under the direction of Prime Minister (and all together are advisors of the monarch)
· The Parliament has the central and federal responsibilities (including trade, defense, banking systems and criminal law). The regional or provincial legislatures are responsible for education, civil rights, social security, hospital system
· Provinces are responsible for its own courts, the general court is Court of Appeal
· There are 10 provinces and 2 territories; Canada’s main regions are four: Ontario, Quebec, the West and the Atlantic Provinces
· Suffrage is universal, in 18 years of age

· It belongs to the G-7 countries (the Group of seven leading industrialized countries consisting of Canada, France, Italy, Germany, Japan, Great Britain and USA).
· Has rich sources of raw materials: first place in the world in the mining of uranium, zinc; sulphur and paper for newspaper
· One of the leading countries in agriculture
· 2/3 of the Canadian work force is employed in services industries
· Over the years 1970-1990 Canada has had the fastest rate of job creation in the G-7 economies. Inflation is at less than 2 percent
· Is also a member of NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement)

System of Education
· Public education is free up to and including secondary school.

The school attendance is compulsory from age 6-7 till 15-16 years
· Canada spends 8 percent of its GDP on education (which is among the highest)
· School boards hire teachers, set local budget and shape school curriculums
· In some provinces can children enter kindergarten at the age of four
· High school programs consist of two streams- one prepares students for university, the other for post-secondary education at a community collages
· There are separate as well as private schools
· Requirements for university entrance vary from province to province.

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