Thursday, 23 May, 2013
13:37 GMT 17:37 Moscow
Local Time: 17:37
Area. 9,976,000 sq km.
Population. 32.1 million people (2005).
Capital city. Ottawa (1.3 million people).
Administrative division. 10 provinces (Alberta, British Columbia, Quebec, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Ontario, Prince Edward Island and Saskatchewan) and three territories (Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut Territory, which was created on April 1, 1999, by splitting it from Northwest Territories and is Canada's first administrative region populated by an aboriginal group, the Inuit) with their own legislatures and governments.
Official languages. English and French.
Currency. The Canadian dollar (CAD1=100 cents).
National holidays. July 1 is Day of Canada (since 1867).
State structure. Canada is a federation (a constitutional monarchy) and belongs to the British Commonwealth of Nations. The Canadian Constitution came into force on April 17, 1982.
Head of State. The monarch of Britain (Queen Elizabeth II) represented by the governor general (from September 27, 2005 – Michaelle Jean). The governor general, who is a Canadian national, is appointed by the Queen on the recommendation of the prime minister of Canada, usually for a term of five years.
Legislative power belongs to the Queen represented by the governor general and the parliament, which consists of two chambers, the Senate and the House of Commons. There are 105 Senators representing the provinces and territories: 24 from Ontario and Quebec each, 10 from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, 4 from Prince Edward Island, 6 from Manitoba, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland, and 1 from Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut. Senators are appointed by the governor general on the recommendation of the prime minister. A senator must own at least 4,000 dollars worth of property and be over 30 and under 75 years of age. The speaker of the Senate is appointed by the government.
Speaker of the Senate. Noel Kinsella.
The House of Commons currently has 308 members elected by direct popular vote for a five-year term. Eligible voters have to be citizens of Canada or Britain, over 18 (since 1972), who have lived in Canada at least one year prior to elections. Last election took place on January 23, 2006. According to its outcome, the Conservative Party holds 125 seats, the Liberal Party 102, the Quebec bloc 51, the New Democratic Party 29, and one MP is independent. The speaker is elected from among the members of the House of Commons at the first session of the newly elected House (scheduled for April 3, 2006).
Executive power is exercised by the government headed by the prime minister. A party that wins the majority in the elections becomes the ruling party and forms the government, its leader becoming the prime minister. Members of the Cabinet are usually members of the House of Commons (or, rarely, of the Senate). The government is accountable to the parliament.
After the parliamentary election on January 23, 2006, the Conservative Party won the right to form the new government, which was sworn to office on February 6, 2006.
Prime Minister. Stephen Harper
Each province is headed by the lieutenant governor and has a parliament and a government of its own.
The judicial system consists of the Supreme Court of Canada, to which the Federal Court of Canada and provincial courts are subordinated.
Canada's economic performance. The 2004 GDP grew by 2.7% to CAD1.25 trillion. Trade turnover was CAD758 billion, out of which exports accounted for CAD404 billion and imports for CAD354 billion. As of 2004, direct foreign investment in Canada's economy amounted to CAD363.1 billion, compared to CAD357.5 billion in 2003. Investment abroad was CAD432.4 billion in 2004 and CAD399.1 billion in 2003. Consumer prices grew by 1.8% in 2004, and the unemployment rate was 8%.
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