Canada is located in North America. It occupies the northern part of the continent and adjacent islands, including the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, Newfoundland, Vancouver, etc. The area of Canada is 9.971 million square kilometers. km. This is the second largest state (after Russia) and the third largest land (after Russia and China) state in the world. In the south and south-west it borders with the United States; in the west, north and east it is washed by the Pacific, Arctic and Atlantic oceans. The territorial-administrative division of Canada is 10 provinces (Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunsouk, Manitoba, British Columbia, Prince Edward, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Newfoundland) and two territories (Northwest, Yukon). The capital is Ottawa.
Canadians say, “We have too little history and too much territory.” Located between two oceans, Canada maintains links with most of the world by cheap waterway. Through Canada run international airlines connecting Europe and Asia with the American continent.
Population. Characterizing the population of Canada, it is necessary, first of all, to say about its small number. In 2001, the population of the state was 31 million people. The factor of small number acts in this case as a deterrent to the development of the country. Due to this circumstance, not only the capacity of the domestic market is limited, but also the international political weight of the state is reduced. Most of the population are descendants of European immigrants, mainly Anglo-Canadians (about 44% in 9 provinces), as well as Germans and Ukrainians (especially in the steppe provinces), Italians (in cities), Scandinavian peoples, Dutch, Hungarians, Poles, Lithuanians, Latvians, Belarusians, Chinese, Japanese, Filipinos, Arabs, etc. This gives reason to call Canada a multi-ethnic state. The indigenous population is Indians. Their number is small and amounts to about 500 thousand people. They live mainly in the zone of coniferous forests in the north. A smaller indigenous ethnic group are the Eskimos living in the far north. There are about 30 thousand of them.
The demographic situation of Canada is characterized by a constant decline in the birth rate, an increase in the proportion of people of retirement age. Canada’s population increases by 0.9% each year. This is significantly lower than the global average (1.3%). In 2000, the birth rate was 11.3 per 1,000 inhabitants. This indicator is estimated on the international scale as low (for comparison: in the world this figure is 25%, and in developed countries of Europe 11%). The process of mortality of the population differs from most European countries by a lower intensity – 7% (in Europe – 11%). The average number of children per woman is 1.6.
According to the above parameters, Canada is close to its main neighbor – the United States.
The above indicates that in recent years there has been a negative trend in demographic development – there is an increase in the number and proportion of people of retirement age. In 2000, their share was 12%. According to the UN scale, a state is considered demographically old if the proportion of people over 65 years old is 7%.
The sex and age structure of Canada can be called regressive with a predominance of the female population.
The proportion of persons aged 0–15 years is 19.8%. Canada has a high life expectancy in the world: 82.6 years for women and 75.9 years for men.
The specificity of the state in terms of population and resources lies in the extremely large territorial resources. Canada has the lowest population density in the world – 3 people per sq. km – and is characterized by uneven settlement. More than 9/10 of the population is concentrated in the southern, border strip to the United States; 2/3 live in the lakeside part with the center in Toronto and in the valley of the St. Helena River. Laurentia with the center in Montreal.
Canada is a highly urbanized state; 76.9% of the total population lives in cities. Moreover, the city in this country is considered a settlement with a population of more than 1 thousand inhabitants and a density of at least 400 people per 1 sq. km. As of 1999, the largest cities in Canada are: Toronto (4.3 million people), Montreal (3.3 million people), Vancouver
(821.6 thousand people), Quebec (671.9 thousand people), Winnipeg (667.2 thousand people).
The small population of the country, the tendency to depopulation due to an increase in the proportion of people of retirement age are the factors that put immigration policy among the most important components of social policy at the federal and provincial levels. Experts say that at the moment there is no alternative to massive immigration. It is at the expense of immigrants that there will be a change in the regime of reproduction of the population, its natural rejuvenation. Already in the mid-1990s, the immigration quota allocated by the Government of Canada was increased and amounted to 270 thousand people. Canada today is the country most open to immigration. In the structure of immigrants at the beginning of the XXI century. in the first place are immigrants from Asia, followed by Europeans, Africans, residents of Latin America and the Caribbean and Americans. The specific number of external emigrants per 1 thousand inhabitants is 6.2 people. This is a fairly high figure in the world (the maximum values are 14.8 and 21.6 are typical for oil-producing countries of the Middle East – Kuwait, Qatar, etc.).
The structure of employment is typical for highly developed countries. Agriculture employs 3 per cent of the population; 15% – in the manufacturing industry; 2.35 – in mining; 74% – in the service sector; the remainder is engaged in construction and utilities. Part-time employment among women – 10.5%, among men – 28.6%. The bulk (80%) of the economically active population are employees, mainly workers.
Canada stands out for a fairly high unemployment rate – 8.3%, while stagnant – 0.8%. The stratification of society is very noticeable in the country. The main wealth belongs to less than 5% of the population. At the same time, the proportion of the population living below the poverty line (according to the UN classification) – by income below 50% of the average income – is 10.6%, and living below income of 14.4 dollars. US dollars per day – 5.9%.
Politics. Canada is a federation consisting of provinces with broad rights and territories with a lesser degree of self-government. The form of government is a constitutional monarchy. Canada is part of the Commonwealth, headed by Great Britain. Therefore, the head of state is nominally the Queen of Great Britain, represented by the Governor-General, who is appointed by the Queen on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, usually for a period of 5 years. Legislative power in Canada belongs to the Parliament, consisting of an elected (for 5 years) House, commons (301 seats) and an appointed Senate (104 seats). Executive power is exercised by the government (one-party) headed by the Prime Minister. Legislative power in the provinces headed by lieutenant governors is exercised by legislative assemblies; executive – governments headed by prime ministers.
In April 1982, the Constitution Act was passed, which gave the Canadian Parliament the right to independently make all constitutional changes (previously they were formally subject to approval by the British Parliament) and supplemented it with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Serious complications in the domestic political situation in the second half of the 1980s were caused by a struggle regarding the position of French-Canadians in the federation and the status of the province of Quebec. As a result of the 1995 referendum, the threat of the unity of the country was postponed, but the constitutional problem was not removed from the agenda.
The party system is represented by the following political structures:
1) The Liberal Party, founded in 1873, expresses the interests of the main strata of Canadian society;
2) The Progressive Conservative Party, founded in 1854, expresses the interests of large enterprise, the prosperous farming of western Canada;
3) The Reform Party was established in 1987, the Conservative Party, the political base is the western provinces of the country;
4) The Bloc Québécois has existed since 1991, advocating the separation of the province from Canada and the proclamation of its independence;
5) The New Demographic Party was created in 1961 on the basis of the social democratic federation of the cooperative commonwealth and part of the Canadian trade unions.
Natural resource potential of the country. Due to the huge length from north to south (5 thousand km) and from east to west (6.5 thousand km), Canada is distinguished by natural resource diversity. More than a third of the total territory of the country is covered with forests with valuable species of wood (douglasia, giant thuja, balsamic fir, larch, black and white spruce), in the forests there are fur-bearing animals. In terms of timber reserves, Canada is in second place in the northern forest belt (after Russia), third in the world (after Russia and Brazil), and in terms of wood per capita it is in first place in the world. Coastal waters are rich in fish (Chinook salmon, chum salmon, pink salmon, halibut, cod, herring, haddock). In terms of catch, the country ranks 15th in the world.
Geologically, almost half of the territory is occupied by the ancient Canadian Shield. In most of it there is the Laurentian Plateau with numerous lakes of glacial origin. In the south of Canada there are lowlands and plains, including the plain of the St. Lawrence River. Laurentia and part of the interior plains. The favourable natural conditions of the area have led to historically higher levels of population and economic development. To the west is the giant Cordillera mountain system.
The diversity of the relief led to the presence of a wide range of minerals. In the bowels of Canada, almost the entire system of D. Mendeleev is represented: ores of ferrous and non-ferrous metals, uranium, oil, natural gas, coal, potassium salts, asbestos. Areas of the Canadian Shield are rich in metal ores; the plains of the west and the North are energy raw materials. Canada is rich in lakes. It is home to 15% of the world’s freshwater reserves, and potential energy resources amount to 65 million kW. In terms of annual renewable freshwater reserves (12 thousand square kilometers), Canada ranks third in the world after Brazil and Russia.
The diversity of natural landscapes has determined and predetermined the peculiarities of the geography of soils and vegetation. At the same time, only 15% of the country’s area is suitable for cultivation, 50% of them are used in agriculture.
Coal deposits are located in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, in the province of Alberta and in the Appalachians, in the territory of the coastal provinces. Coal reserves amount to 15 billion tons.
Iron ores are found in the area of Lake Superior, the Labrador Peninsula and the Cordillera. The largest iron ore basin – Carroll Lake – has reserves of iron ore in the amount of 2.7 billion tons with an iron content in the ore of 38%.
Asbestos reserves are concentrated in the provinces of Quebec and British Columbia.
The resource specificity of Canada is the presence of areas that combine reserves of energy resources and mineral raw materials. These include:
1) Cordillera (non-ferrous metals, coal, hydro resources);
2) Interior plains (coal, oil, natural gas and potash salts);
3) Appalachians (non-ferrous and precious metals, chromites, asbestos, coal and hydro resources);
4) Canadian Arctic archipelago (oil, natural gas and non-ferrous metals).
The diversity and richness of Canada’s mineral resource base predetermined the country’s specialization in world economic relations.