Geographic and Governmental Profile of Canada

Background
A land of vast distances and rich natural resources, Canada became a self-governing dominion in 1867 while retaining ties to the British crown. Economically and technologically, the nation has developed in parallel with the US, its neighbor to the south across the World's longest unfortified border. Canada faces the political challenges of meeting public demands for quality improvements in health care, education, social services, and economic competitiveness, as well as responding to the particular concerns of predominantly francophone Quebec. Canada also aims to develop its diverse energy resources while maintaining its commitment to the environment.
Location
Northern North America, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean on the east, North Pacific Ocean on the west, and the Arctic Ocean on the north, north of the conterminous US
Geographic coordinates
60 00 N, 95 00 W
Continent / Subcontinent
North America
Area
total:
9,984,670 sq km
rank:
2
land:
9,093,507 sq km
water:
891,163 sq km
Area - comparative
slightly larger than the US
Land boundaries
total:
8,893 km
border countries:
US 8,893 km (includes 2,477 km with Alaska)
Canada is the World's largest country that borders only one country
Coastline
202,080 km
Maritime claims
territorial sea:
12 nm
contiguous zone:
24 nm
exclusive economic zone:
200 nm
continental shelf:
200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
Climate
varies from temperate in south to subarctic and arctic in north
Terrain
mostly plains with mountains in west and lowlands in southeast
Elevation extremes
lowest point:
Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point:
Mount Logan 5,959 m
Natural resources
iron ore, nickel, zinc, copper, gold, lead, rare earth elements, molybdenum, potash, diamonds, silver, fish, timber, wildlife, coal, petroleum, natural gas, hydropower
Land use
arable land:
4.57%
permanent crops:
0.65%
other:
94.78% (2005)
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Irrigated land
8,550 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
3,300 cu km (1985)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
total:
44.72 cu km/yr (20%/69%/12%)
per capita:
1,386 cu m/yr (1996)
Natural hazards
continuous permafrost in north is a serious obstacle to development; cyclonic storms form east of the Rocky Mountains, a result of the mixing of air masses from the Arctic, Pacific, and North American interior, and produce most of the country's rain and snow east of the mountains
volcanism:
the vast majority of volcanoes in Western Canada's Coast Mountains remain dormant
Environment - current issues
air pollution and resulting acid rain severely affecting lakes and damaging forests; metal smelting, coal-burning utilities, and vehicle emissions impacting on agricultural and forest productivity; ocean waters becoming contaminated due to agricultural, industrial, mining, and forestry activities
Environment - international agreements
party to:
Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified:
Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Marine Life Conservation
Geography - note
second-largest country in world (after Russia); strategic location between Russia and US via north polar route; approximately 90% of the population is concentrated within 160 km of the US border
Country name
conventional long form:
none
conventional short form:
Canada
Government type
a parliamentary democracy, a federation, and a constitutional monarchy
Capital
name:
Ottawa
geographic coordinates:
45 25 N, 75 42 W
time difference:
UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time:
+1hr, begins second Sunday in March; ends first Sunday in November
Canada is divided into six time zones
Administrative divisions
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*
Independence
1 July 1867 (union of British North American colonies); 11 December 1931 (recognized by UK per Statute of Westminster)
National holiday
Canada Day, 1 July (1867)
Constitution
made up of unwritten and written acts, customs, judicial decisions, and traditions; the written part of the constitution consists of the Constitution Act of 29 March 1867, which created a federation of four provinces, and the Constitution Act of 17 April 1982, which transferred formal control over the constitution from Britain to Canada, and added a Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as procedures for constitutional amendments
Legal system
common law system except in Quebec where civil law based on the French civil code prevails
International law organization participation
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
Suffrage
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch
head of state:
Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General David JOHNSTON (since 1 October 2010)
head of government:
Prime Minister Stephen Joseph HARPER (since 6 February 2006)
cabinet:
Federal Ministry chosen by the prime minister usually from among the members of his own party sitting in Parliament
elections:
the monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch on the advice of the prime minister for a five-year term; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition in the House of Commons generally designated prime minister by the governor general
Legislative branch
bicameral Parliament or Parlement consists of the Senate or Senat (105 seats; members appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister and serve until 75 years of age) and the House of Commons or Chambre des Communes (308 seats; members elected by direct, popular vote to serve a maximum of four-year terms)
elections:
House of Commons - last held on 2 May 2011 (next to be held no later than 19 October 2015)
election results:
House of Commons - percent of vote by party - Conservative Party 39.6%, New Democratic Party 30.6%, Liberal Party 18.9%, Bloc Quebecois 6%, Greens 3.9%; seats by party - Conservative Party 166, New Democratic Party 103, Liberal Party 34, Bloc Quebecois 4, Greens 1
Judicial branch
Supreme Court of Canada (judges are appointed by the governor general on the recommendation of the prime minister); Federal Court of Canada; Federal Court of Appeal; Tax Court of Canada; Provincial/Territorial Courts (these are named variously Court of Appeal, Court of Queen's Bench, Superior Court, Supreme Court, and Court of Justice)
Political parties and leaders
Bloc Quebecois [Daniel PAILLE]; Conservative Party of Canada [Stephen HARPER]; Green Party [Elizabeth MAY]; Liberal Party [Robert RAE (interim)]; New Democratic Party [Nycole TURMEL(interim)]
Political pressure groups and leaders
other:
agricultural sector; automobile industry; business groups; chemical industry; commercial banks; communications sector; energy industry; environmentalists; public administration groups; steel industry; trade unions
International organization participation
ADB (nonregional member), AfDB (nonregional member), APEC, Arctic Council, ARF, ASEAN (dialogue partner), Australia Group, BIS, C, CD, CDB, CE (observer), EAPC, EBRD, FAO, FATF, G-20, G-7, G-8, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD (partners), IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MINUSTAH, MONUSCO, NAFTA, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS, OECD, OIF, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, PIF (partner), UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNDOF, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNRWA, UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Gary DOER
chancery:
501 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20001
telephone:
[1] (202) 682-1740
FAX:
[1] (202) 682-7701
consulate(s) general:
Atlanta, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, San Francisco/Silicon Valley, Seattle
consulate(s):
Anchorage, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Raleigh, San Diego
Diplomatic representation from the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador David C. JACOBSON
embassy:
490 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, Ontario K1N 1G8
mailing address:
P. O. Box 5000, Ogdensburg, NY 13669-0430; P.O. Box 866, Station B, Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5T1
telephone:
[1] (613) 688-5335
FAX:
[1] (613) 688-3082
consulate(s) general:
Calgary, Halifax, Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto, Vancouver, Winnipeg
Flag description
two vertical bands of red (hoist and fly side, half width) with white square between them; an 11-pointed red maple leaf is centered in the white square; the maple leaf has long been a Canadian symbol; the official colors of Canada are red and white
National symbol(s)
maple leaf
National anthem
name:
"O Canada"
lyrics/music:
Adolphe-Basile ROUTHIER [French], Robert Stanley WEIR [English]/Calixa LAVALLEE
adopted 1980; originally written in 1880, "O Canada" served as an unofficial anthem many years before its official adoption; the anthem has French and English versions whose lyrics differ; as a Commonwealth realm, in addition to the national anthem, "God Save the Queen" serves as the royal anthem (see United Kingdom)
Data source 1: All Above textual data, maps and flags were extracted from The World Factbook which was prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and made available on the following link: The World Factbook. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsered or affiliated, in any way, by the US Central Intelligence Agency
Data source 2: Plots and Charts are constructed using the world bank public data catalog which can be viewed by visiting the following link: World Bank Data Catalog. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsored or affiliated, in any way, by the worldbank

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