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Countries : North America : Canada Last Updated: 25 Mar. 2008 - 7:18:47 PM


Posted in: Canada
Canada
By [unknown placeholder $article.author$]
21 Jun. 2006 - 7:16:00 PM

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Canada is best known as the US's northern neighbor. In fact Canada is proof that the American Revolution did not totally defeat the British, the opponents of the Revolution went to Canada. Canada also includes the Province of Quebec, captured by General Wolf, which was originally a French colony. This accounts for the presence of French in all official Canadian documentation, and the continual threat of Quebec to declare independence, which has been a backdrop to Canadian politics for a generation.

Canadians, when traveling, are normally keen to make it clear that they are not Americans. Canada is vast, larger than the Continental US and Alaska, but much of the territory is arctic waste, and there are a lot of trees in Canada. Most Canadians live within a hundred miles of the US border. Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state, and the British connection is still strong outside of Quebec, in particular there is a strong Scottish element in Canadian life, not only in Nova Scotia. The British army and RAF also maintain large training areas in Canada. Western Canada is linked by road and rail to the Great Lakes provinces to the east, but there are vast areas of low density settlement. British Columbia has attracted newcomers because of its scenery and life style, and a number of Hong Kong Chinese moved to Vancouver when Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule. Canada entered the Second World War in 1939 to support Britain and its services played a critical role in the Battle of the North Atlantic and in the invasion of Europe in 1944/45. Canadian forces continue their tradition of active service in Afghanistan today. Canada is a member of NATO, NAFTA and the Commonwealth.

Canada is blessed with vast mineral wealth and its rivers generate enormous amounts of hydroelectric power. Unlike the US, Canada has a huge surplus of fresh water, which may prove to be its most valuable natural resource in the 21st century, but has no wish to see the US develop a dependency on Canadian water; if California drinks Canadian water turning the tap off is not a viable option. It is possible that there may be increasing commercial and political pressure on Canada, as the western US experiences greater water shortages due to growing population and over-exploitation of its own water reserves. Climate change may also move the cereal growing areas further north, and raise temperatures in winter, Canada may therefore be one of the few countries to benefit from the greenhouse effect, at least in the short term.

For the British and Americans the Canadians are "family", and doing business in Canada is a straightforward matter. Canada is a marvellous country to visit (though the Ontario and Quebec winters may be best avoided), it's a civilized place and Canadians have a deserved reputation for hospitality, but make sure that you support their ice-hockey team.


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