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Basic facts
The country 
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Capital: Ottawa
Area: 9,970,610 sq km; 3,849,674 sq miles
Population: 31,330,255 (2000 Estimate)
Urbanisation: Urban 77 per cent (1998 Estimate); Rural 23 per cent (1998 Estimate)


Exports: Newsprint, wood pulp, timber, crude petroleum, machinery, natural gas, aluminium, wheat, fish and fish products, motor vehicles and parts, telecommunications equipment

Industry: Processed and unprocessed minerals, food products, wood and paper products, transport equipment, chemicals, fish products, petroleum and natural gas

Agriculture: Wheat, barley, maize, oilseed, potatoes, oats, soya beans, sugar beet, fruits, vegetables; cattle, pigs, sheep, horses, fish

Currency: 1 Canadian dollar (C$), consisting of 100 cents

Natural resources: Nickel, zinc, copper, gold, lead, molybdenum, potash, silver, fish, wildlife, coal, petroleum, natural gas, uranium, timber


The people

Ethnic: British Isles origin 35.0 per cent, French origin 25.0 per cent, Other European origin 20.0 per cent, Indigenous peoples 3.0 per cent, Other 17.0 per cent

Language: English (official), French (official), German, Italian, Ukranian, Chinese, Spanish, indigenous languages. Both English and French are official languages in Canada. Their respective importance varies from province to province. Canadian English differs somewhat from British and United States forms. Although most Canadian accents are closer to US than to British pronunciation, Canadians use many British spellings, such as "centre" and "colour" rather than the US "center" and "color".

Religion: Roman Catholic 45.2 per cent, United Church 11.5 per cent, Anglican 8.1 per cent, Other Protestant 7.9 per cent, Other or non-religious 27.3 per cent (Percentages based on census respondents claiming only one ethnic origin). Most Canadians are nominally Christian, but society is highly secularised. Most Christian Canadians of French descent are Roman Catholic and most of British descent are Protestant.


The history

Independence: 1 July 1867 (from the United Kingdom)

Government: The Federal Parliament consists of a 104-member Senate, nominated by the Prime Minister and the citizens of the provinces and an elected, 301-member House of Commons. The Prime Minister is the leader of the dominant political party in the House. The Queen of Canada, Elizabeth II is head of state and is represented by a governor-general and a privy council. Each provincial premier is the leader of the provincial assembly's dominant party. Provincial Governments have administrative and legislative authority over issues of education, property laws and medical facilities.

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