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Canada Geography and Population

Canada - Geography

Canada Geography

Canada is a federal state, consisting of 10 provinces and 3 territories.

Population

With a population density of less than 3 residents per km2, Canada is one of the world's most sparsely populated states. Apart from a few smaller towns, the country is almost uninhabited north of a line that runs approximately 300 km from the US border. Larger population concentrations are found in the small Atlantic provinces and especially in the border areas with the United States. As many as 60 percent of the population lives in "The Main Street", which, like a 1,200 km long urban belt, stretches along the border river St. Lawrence in the southeast. Here are all the major cities with the exception of Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and Winnipeg, which form larger enclaves in the western provinces. Largest cities are Toronto (5.2 million), Montreal (3.7 million), Vancouver (1.8 million), Ottawa-Hull (1.1 million) and Edmonton (1.0 million) (all including suburbs in 2004). Taken together, the cities do not take up much space in the vast land area, but it is here - and especially in the fast-growing suburbs - that 80 percent of Canadians live.

Canada Population

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The migration from country to city and the development in mortality and fertility correspond to the pattern known from other island countries. After large cohorts of children in the years after World War II, there has been a noticeable decrease in the birth rate and an increase in average age and life expectancy (men 77 years, women 82 years). Especially due to large-scale immigration, the growth rate has been relatively high throughout the post-war period and has led to a doubling of the population since 1951.

The many immigrants are no new phenomenon. Since 1867, Canada is believed to have received approximately 15 mio. immigrants and refugees, who, despite the fact that many have left the country again, have had a great influence on the composition of the population. Previously, most came from Europe and the United States, as a result of discriminatory immigration laws that were supposed to promote a "white" Canada. This has since changed. In the 1960's, in principle, free access was granted to all, regardless of race or nationality, but in return a points system was introduced to meet the need for skilled labor (1967). Of the total 963,325 immigrants 1996-2001, Europeans accounted for 20 percent, while 59 percent came from Asia. Among them were many refugees, but also many business people who were granted entry permits through the so-called "Business Immigrant Program", a scheme which obliges applicants to invest a certain minimum amount and which has so far resulted in a capital transfer of EUR 1500 million. can. dollars (1986-1991).

A consequence of the new wave of immigration from many third world countries has been that the proportion of Canadians who are of either British, French or Native American descent (Inuit, Mestizer and Native Americans) has dropped from 90 percent in 1901 to 75 percent in 1991. This shift towards a more multicultural society is most evident in the major cities of Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, which have been targets for the majority of immigrants. The only major area where descendants of the indigenous population are in the majority is in the Nunavut Territory, which is home to approximately 17,000 inuit. The 2 million. km2large territory was officially opened in 1999 and is the first area on the north american continent where an indigenous people has gained extensive autonomy. The rest of the indigenous peoples, mostly Indians and mestizos, who together number about 1 million, live in reserves or as minorities in the cities.

Although Canadians' standard of living is among the highest in the world, over 10 percent of the population has an income below the official poverty line. Among the poor, in addition to indigenous peoples in reserves and special territories, there is a predominance of ethnic minorities in the major urban centers with crime and high unemployment.

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Transport and communication

Due to the large distances, the development of the infrastructure has had a high priority in the country's history. The colonization of the prairie provinces began in earnest after the completion of the first transcontinental rail link, the Canadian Pacific Railway (1885), and the establishment of roads, canals, air routes, ferry routes, pipelines and high-voltage networks has later been a means of reducing regional disparities and exploiting natural resources. Important elements have been the 7800 km long Trans-Canada Highway from Newfoundland to Vancouver Island (1950-1970); Saint Lawrence Seaway 1954-1959 (the direct shipping link between the Atlantic and the Great Lakes); The ANIK satellites, which after the launch in 1972-1975 has provided Canada with the world's first nationwide telesatellite system, as well as the construction of an approximately 200,000 km long network of pipelines, which started from oil and gas fields in Alberta in the 1950's and now has branches to almost all major cities and the United States in the south.

The economic and environmental advantages and disadvantages of the construction work have led to many political disputes, partly between the Federal Government and the individual provinces, partly between public and private interests. The same applies to the transport itself, which is characterized by competing private and public companies, for example between the giants in aviation, Air Canada (state), and Canadian Airlines (private), and between the two largest rail freight companies, Canadian National (state) and Canadian Pacific(private). In step with increasing liberalization, private companies have gained larger market shares, while public companies have been given tighter economic control during the 1980's - and explicitly after the adoption of The National Transportation Act in 1988. It has meant that the state VIA Rail, which controls almost all rail passenger transport, had to close down approximately half of its lines in 1990. With this, there has been a clear deterioration of public transport in rural areas, while S-Bahn trains and bus transport are still good alternatives to private motoring in big cities. In terms of population, the car density in Canada is the highest in the world.

Occupation and employment

By virtue of the raw materials, the economy has traditionally been based on a wide range of wood products, agricultural products, metals and energy raw materials. Even today, commodity dependence is significant, even though the spread in other economic sectors is much greater than before. The turning point came during World War II, when industrial production multiplied after large orders for ships, aircraft and weapons. By the end of the war, Canada had the world's fourth largest industrial production and a modern production apparatus, which laid the foundation for long-term economic growth with large foreign investment and increased demand, especially in the US market. After a temporary economic downturn in the 1970's and early 1980's, investment and thus also in commodity production and exports picked up again.

In efforts to correct the government deficit, successive governments have sought to reduce public spending - including rail transport and aid to developing countries - and increase tax revenues by, for example, imposing a turnover tax on consumer goods and services (1991). In addition, it is hoped that the country can benefit from the comprehensive North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with the United States and Mexico. Both in absolute values ​​and in relation to GDP, Canada has a large foreign trade, which since World War II has been dominated by the American market. In 1990, 75 percent of exports and 65 percent of imports were related to trade with the United States, while the rest were spread across countries around the world, including Japan, which is now Canada's second largest trading partner.

Canada has seen significant growth in the service sector. Trade and services contribute 66 percent of GDP and comprise as much as 71 percent of the workforce. Yet growth has not been large enough to prevent unemployment from rising to 11 per cent (1992). This is mainly due to the fact that employment in agriculture and industry has either fallen or has been insufficient to absorb the large approach to the labor market as a result of population growth and women's increasing employment participation. With less than 0.5 million employed in 1992 against approximately 3 mio. in 1951, agriculture has suffered the greatest losses, while industry has largely maintained employment since the early 1980's. However, not all industries have performed equally well. However, the decline in several of the traditional raw materials industries has been offset by the growth in the chemical industry,

All in all, Canada today has a large and versatile industry, whose focus is on Ontario and Québec, which together are home to approximately 70 percent of companies. In contrast, the small Atlantic and prairie provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan have a modest and one-sided production, especially the food industry, while Alberta and British Columbia have gained access to many new businesses outside the established industries (wood and paper industry in British Columbia, food and petrochemical industry in Alberta).

The largest is the transportation industry, which is dominated by the automotive industry around Toronto and Windsor in southern Ontario, but also includes the shipping industry and a significant aerospace industry. Although company closures and rationalisations have cost the car industry approximately 30,000 jobs since 1979, it still has more employees and more turnover than any other sub-industry; Canada has maintained its long-standing position as the world's fourth largest exporter of passenger cars. Alongside a growing Japanese influence, production is dominated by General Motors, Ford and Chrysler, which after the "Auto Pact" agreement with the United States in 1965 have been favored by duty-free trade between departments in the two countries.

Resources and environment

Canada is among the world's largest producers and exporters of copper, sulfur, nickel, uranium, zinc, lead, iron, gold, silver, titanium, coal, oil, natural gas, fish, grain and wood products. The impressive amount is not only due to the country's size and natural conditions, but is also a consequence of the US supply interests in particular. Through investments and ownership, foreign companies thus control a large part of the raw material production.

As far from all areas are utilized equally intensively, and new discoveries are constantly being made, the reserves of e.g. minerals and energy raw materials abundant enough to secure the supply for many years to come. In addition to distances and climatic conditions, etc., there is a limitation in respect for the environment, which was tightened with the Environmental Protection Act (1988) and continued in the Danish Environmental Protection Agency's "Green Plan" (1990). The goal is to reduce pollution and landscape destruction through, for example, mining, tree felling and dam construction. This results in greater expenses for e.g. the timber industry (new logging methods, more replanting), just as metal smelters and power plants have to invest in expensive treatment plants to reduce emissions of sulfur and nitrogen, which are among the causes of extensive forest damage and acidification of many thousands of lakes in eastern Canada.cree has led to a temporary halt to the comprehensive hydropower project at James Bay in Quebec following the completion of the first phase (1971-1985).

Already, however, Canada is well supplied with energy, not least in the form of hydropower, which supplies 63 percent of the electricity, followed by thermal power (22 percent) and nuclear power (15 percent). The figures cover large geographical variations, partly due to differences in local energy sources. For example, hydropower is almost predominant in Québec and British Columbia, while coal-fired power plants dominate Alberta, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia. Oil and natural gas, which comes mainly from Alberta and neighboring provinces, is mostly used for domestic heating and the production of gasoline and plastic products.

Mining and forestry are widespread in all provinces, although most mines are located in Ontario and Quebec at the southern edge of the Canadian Shield. The timber and wood production (veneer, pulp, paper) originates mainly from British Columbia, Quebec and Ontario.

In relation to a productive forest area of ​​2.4 mill. km2, agriculture does not take up much space. Less than 4 percent of the area (135.000 km2) is cultivated, of which 4/5located in the "Grain Chamber of Canada" in the southern part of the prairie provinces. The flat, semi-arid areas are dominated by extensive wheat farming as well as by barley, maize and increasingly rapeseed and other oilseeds. Alberta in particular also has a large population of beef cattle, while dairy cattle, pigs and mixed farms are more common further east. This applies, for example, to the fertile lands around the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River, where fruits and vegetables alternate with field crops and livestock. Although productivity here is the highest in the country, the areas are hard hit by urban growth, while soil erosion has been the biggest problem on the prairies for many years.

Most deep-sea fishing takes place in the Pacific Ocean (especially salmon) and in the shallow shelf areas on the Atlantic coast, where cold and warm ocean currents meet (cod, herring, haddock, redfish, lobster and mussels). Particularly at the former fishing-rich banks off Newfoundland, the issue of quotas and fishing rights has often given rise to problems with other countries, for example in the years-long conflict with France over fishing off the French-owned islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon, after Canada introduced a 200-nautical-mile fishing line in 1977. Similar but far more serious disputes with Portugal in particular have arisen over international waters beyond the 200-nautical-mile limit, which, after overfishing on the coastal banks (and the 1995 fishing ban on cod), now have the greatest fishing opportunities.

While fish catches and fish exports have been fairly constant for many years - Canada is among the world's largest fish exporters - there has been a sharp decline in fur animal catches and sales of fur skins (seals, beavers, muskrat, martens, raccoons) during the 1980's. fox, otter, mink, etc.). The decline has been the result of protests by international animal welfare organizations, combined with the EU ban on trade in sealskins (1983) and the Federal Government's own efforts to limit the capture of endangered species.

Climate and nature

Canada has temperate climates except for the northern parts of the mainland and the islands of the Arctic, which are located in the polar zone. In the coldest months, the average temperature fluctuates from a few plus degrees on the Pacific Ocean to -25 °C in the interior of the country and -37 °C in the far north. The summer variation is somewhat smaller: From July temperatures of approximately 20 °C in the south to between 4 and 10 °C in the polar zone. In addition, there are significant local differences due to wind exposure and terrain conditions; for example, the hot, dry downwind on the east side of the Rocky Mountains, the chinook, can cause temperature jumps of up to 25 °C in a few hours, especially in winter. Local conditions also affect precipitation, which is generally less inland (40-80 cm per year).

While the polar regions consist of tundra and bogs (in addition to ice caps and glaciers in the northern islands), the rest of the country is covered by countless lakes and rivers and a wide forest belt from the Cordillers in the west (coniferous forest) to the Appalachiansin the east (mixed forest). The forests occupy approximately 40 percent of the area, of which the west coast's rainforest contains most, oldest and tallest species (including douglas fir, hemlock and giant tuja). Year-on-year timber predation has reduced the original forest, just as due to cultivation there are only a few remnants of the prairie vegetation left in the semi-arid areas south of the forests. To preserve the remains, a special Grasslands National Park has now been created. The park is part of the Federal Government's plan to establish at least one national park in each of the 39 nature regions into which the country is divided (excluding maritime areas). Today, approximately half of the regions represented via 34 national parks. Some of the largest and most impressive - Wood Buffalo, Kluane, Banff, Jasper and Yoho - are located in the Cordilleras, whose magnificent mountain landscapes include contains several thousand glaciers,

In addition to the national parks, which cover a total of 182,000 km2, there are many other protected nature areas. This includes a large number of provincial parks, which give the population greater scope for recreational activities (camping, sailing, skiing, hunting and fishing). For the majority of the approximately 35 mio. tourists who visit the country annually, national parks and nature reserves are among the main attractions.

Canada - Peoples

The estimated indigenous people of Canada number over 1 million. (1995). Of these, 600,000 have official status as Indians or Inuit. The latter count approximately 35,000. Another 400,000 are so-called non-status Indians, ie. Indians who do not have official status as such, and Métis, who are descendants of mixed marriages between especially French fur hunters and merchants and Native American (often cree) women.

The indigenous population includes over 50 different linguistic groups divided into 11 language families. The Algonquin, which is widespread from the province of Alberta to northern Quebec, is the largest. It includes groups such as ojibwa, cree, naskapi, montagnais and micmac. Athapaski is the second largest language family, which is particularly prevalent in the area between Hudson Bay and Inner Alaska. It includes over 20 different language groups such as chipewyan, carrier, dogrib, hare, etc. A further 8 different other language families are represented on the west coast (haida, tsimshian, tlingit, kwakiutl, nootka, salish), on the prairie (sioux) and around the great lakes ( iroquois). The Arctic north is home to the Inuit, whose language, Inuktitut along with Cree and Ojibwa exist as spoken everyday language.

The population of the large forest and tundra areas has previously subsisted on hunting and gathering. Many, especially among the cree and dene, still live as fur hunters and supplement this income with social benefits and possibly wage labor. The Indians on the west coast are a fishing population that previously enjoyed the rich population of salmon and marine mammals in the area. They are especially known for their tall, impressively carved wooden poles - misleadingly called "totem poles" - that chiefs and family heads have erected in honor of themselves.

The relationship between the indigenous peoples and the Canadian state has been established since 1876 in "The Indian Act", according to which status Indians are Indians who are members of one of the country's 633 different "Indian Bands", administrative units which roughly coincide with small groups or communities defined through culture and kinship. Non-status Indians are Indians who, for various reasons (obtaining the right to vote, military service, marriage to non-Indians, etc.) have lost their formal status as Indians. Both Indians, Inuit and métis have formed their own political organizations in recent decades. They negotiate regularly with governments at all levels to gain recognition of land rights and regional self-government schemes. on behalf of the nation the atrocities and injustices that have been committed against the indigenous people of the country.

Canada - language

Canada's official language is English and French with English as the dominant except in Quebec, which in 1977 declared French as the only official language. Immigration waves from Ireland, Scotland and the United States have affected English in Canada, making it appear as a special variant of American English. A characteristic feature is the vowel in words like house and out, as it is pronounced raised, much like the vowel in standard British English host and boat. A similar tongue-raising is heard in the vowel in words like knife and price, also here in front of an unvoiced consonant.

With the founding of Québec in 1608, the French language gained an early outpost towards the interior of the country and came into contact with the original Native American languages ​​through trade and mission. The resulting loanwords in French were later inherited by the English-speaking colonists, such as Eskimos of controversial origin, but possibly 'those who eat raw meat' and Canada by the Kanata 'village'. During the 1700's. became English dominant outside Québec. In the big cities, other immigrant languages ​​are also heard, especially from Europe and Asia. Immigration from China, especially to Canada's west coast in the 1990's, means that Chinese here has supplanted French as a second language, though not yet officially.

The Native American languages ​​have been strongly in decline as a result of an oppressive language policy that first ceased around 1960, and only the three languages ​​Cree, Ojibwa, and Inuktitut are expected to survive in the long run.

 
 
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