Canada in a glance:
Overview:Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Spanning over 9.9 million square kilometres, Canada is the world's second-largest country by total area, and its common border with the United States is the longest land border in the world. Canada is a federal state that is governed as a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy. It has one of the highest per-capita immigration rates in the world.
Economy of CanadaCanada is the world's eleventh-largest economy, with a 2011 nominal GDP of approximately US$1.74 trillion, and a very high GDP per capita. It is a member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the G8, and is one of the world's top ten trading nations. Canada is a mixed economy, ranking above the US and most western European nations on the Heritage Foundation's index of economic freedom. The largest foreign importers of Canadian goods are the United States, the United Kingdom, and Japan.
Canada is one of the few developed nations that are net exporters of energy. Atlantic Canada possesses vast offshore deposits of natural gas, and Alberta also hosts large oil and gas resources. The immense Athabasca oil sands give Canada the world's second-largest proven oil reserves, after Saudi Arabia. Canada is additionally one of the world's largest suppliers of agricultural products; the Canadian Prairies are one of the most important global producers of wheat, canola, and other grains. Canada is the largest producer of zinc and uranium, and is a leading exporter of many other natural resources, such as gold, nickel, aluminum, and lead. Many towns in northern Canada, where agriculture is difficult, are sustainable because of nearby mines or sources of timber. Canada also has a sizable manufacturing sector centred in southern Ontario and Quebec, with automobiles and aeronautics representing particularly important industries.
Canada's economic integration with the United States has increased significantly since World War II. The Automotive Products Trade Agreement of 1965 opened the country's borders to trade in the automobile manufacturing industry. In the 1970s, concerns over energy self-sufficiency and foreign ownership in the manufacturing sectors prompted Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau's Liberal government to enact the National Energy Program (NEP) and the Foreign Investment Review Agency (FIRA). In the 1980s, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney's Progressive Conservatives abolished the NEP and changed the name of FIRA to "Investment Canada", in order to encourage foreign investment. The Canada – United States Free Trade Agreement (FTA) of 1988 eliminated tariffs between the two countries, while the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) expanded the free-trade zone to include Mexico in 1994. In the mid-1990s, the Liberal government under Jean Chrétien began to post annual budgetary surpluses, and steadily paid down the national debt.
Science, technology and researchCanada possesses one of the world's most highly developed science and technology sectors. In 2011 alone, Canada spent approximately C$29.9 billion on domestic research and development. The country has produced ten Nobel laureates in physics, chemistry and medicine, and is home to a number of leading global technology firms, such as smartphone maker Research In Motion and video games developer BioWare. Canada ranks twelfth in the world for Internet users as a proportion of the population, with 28 million users (equivalent to around 84% of its total 2011 population).
The Canadian Space Agency operates one of the world's most active space programs, conducting space, planetary, and aviation research, and developing rockets and satellites. In 1984, Marc Garneau became Canada's first astronaut, serving as payload specialist on NASA's STS-41-G Space Shuttle mission. As of 2012, nine Canadians have flown into space, over the course of fifteen manned missions.
Canada is a participant in the International Space Station, and is a pioneer in space robotics, having constructed the Canadarm, Canadarm2 and Dextre robotic manipulators. Since the 1960s, Canada's aerospace industry has designed and built numerous marques of satellite, including Radarsat-1, Radarsat-2, ISIS and MOST. Canada has also produced a successful and widely used sounding rocket, the Black Brant; over 1,000 Black Brants have been launched since the rocket's introduction in 1961.