Canada, federated country of North America, a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, bounded on the north by the Arctic Ocean; on the north-east by Baffin Bay and Davis Strait, which separate it from Greenland; on the east by the Atlantic Ocean; on the south by the United States; and on the west by the Pacific Ocean and the US state of Alaska. It was formerly known as the Dominion of Canada. Occupying all of North America north of thhe conterminous United States, except Alaska, Greenland, Saint-Pierre and Miquelon Islands, Canada is the world’s second-largest country, surpassed in size only by Russia. It includes many islands, notably the Canadian Arctic Islands (Arctic Archipelago) in the Arctic Ocean. Among the larger members of this group, which in aggregate area is about 1,424,500 sq km (550,000 sq mi), are (in descending order) Baffin, Victoria, Ellesmere, Banks, Devon, Axel Heiberg, and Melville islands. Cape Columbia, a promontory of Ellesmere Island at latitude 83°06¢ north, is thhe northernmost point of Canada; its southernmost point is Middle Island in Lake Erie, at latitude 41°41¢ north. The easternmost and westernmost limits are delineated, respectively, by longitude 52°37¢ west, which lies along Cape Spear, on Newfoundland Island, and longitude 141° west, which co
Canada contains great reserves of natural resources, notably timber, petroleum, natural gas, metallic minerals, and fish. It is also an important manufacturing country, and its major cities, such as Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, and Ottawa (the country’s capital) are bustling centres of commerce and industry. Most of Canada’s inhabitants live in the southern part of the country, and vast areas of the north are sparsely inhabited. The name “Canada” is believed to derive from an Iroquoian teerm meaning “village” or “community”.
II LAND AND RESOURCES
The coast of the Canadian mainland, about 58,500 km (36,350 mi) in length, is extremely broken and irregular. Large bays and peninsulas alternate, and Canada has numerous coastal islands, in addition to the Arctic Archipelago, with a total insular coastline of some 185,290 km (115,135 mi). Off the eastern coast the largest islands are Newfoundland, Cape Breton, Prince Edward, and Anticosti. Off the western coast, which is fringed with fiords, are Vancouver Island and the Queen Charlotte Is
Although forests in Ontario and Quebec were badly affected by acid rain in the 1970s and 1980s caused by pollution originating in the United States, Canada’s own carbon dioxide emissions per capita were higher, at 4.1 tonnes per person per year. Canada is a signatory of a number of international environmental treaties, such as the Convention on Climate Change, the Montreal Protocol on CFC Emissions, and the Bio-Diversity Convention.
With its large areas of forest and important timber industry, Canada’s old-growth forest has been extensively logged for more than a century. Since the 1960s, however, legislation (usually at provincial level) has introduced increasing levels of obligation on timber companies to replant clear-cut areas, to ensure species diversity, and to minimize incidental damage from construction of logging roads. In this way, the area of old-growth forest logged as a proportion of all logging has continually diminished. Assisting this process has been the increase in the area protected within national and provincial parks; for instance, British Columbia has passed legislation increasing the area to be protected within BC provincial parks from some 25
A Physiographical Regions Excluding the Arctic Archipelago, six general physiographical regions are distinguishable in Canada: the Canadian Shield (also known as the Laurentian Plateau), Appalachian, Great Lakes, St Lawrence, Interior Plains, and Cordillera. The largest region, the Canadian Shield, extends from Labrador to the Great Bear Lake, from the Arctic Ocean to the Thousand Islands in the St Lawrence River, and into the United States west of Lake Superior and into northern New York State. This region of ancient granite rock, sparsely covered with soil and deeply eroded by glacial action, comprises all of Labrador (the easternmost part of the mainland, which is part of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador), most of Quebec, northern Ontario, Manitoba, and most of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, with Hudson Bay in the centre.
Eastern Canada consists of the Appalachian region and the Great Lakes-St Lawrence lowlands. The former embraces the island of Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island, and the Gaspé Peninsula of Quebec. This region is an extension of the Appalachian mountain system and of th
Bordering the Canadian Shield on the west is the Interior Plains, an extension of the Great Plains of the United States. About 1,300 km (800 mi) wide at the US border, it narrows to about 320 km (200 mi) west of Great Bear Lake and widens again at the mouth of the Mackenzie River on the coast of the Arctic Ocean to about 480 km (300 mi). Within the Interior Plains are the north-eastern corner of British Columbia, most of Alberta, the southern half of Saskatchewan, and the southern third of Manitoba. This region contains the most fertile soil in Canada.
The fifth and westernmost region of Canada embraces the uplifts west of the Interior Plains. The region belongs to the Cordillera, the vast mountain system extending from the southernmost extremity of South America to westernmost Alaska. In Canada, the Cordillera has an average width of about 800 km (500 mi). Part of western Alberta, much of British Columbia, the Inuvik Region and part of the Fort Smith Region of Northwest Territories, and practically all of Yukon Territory lie within this region. The eastern portion of the Cordillera in Canada consists of the Rocky Mountains and related ranges, including the Mackenzie, Franklin, and Richardson mountains. Mount Robson (3,954 m/12,972 ft) is the highest summit of the Canadian Rockies, and ten other peaks reach elevations of more than 3,500 m (11,500 ft). To the west of the Canadian Rockies is a region occupied by numerous further ranges, notably the Cariboo, Stikine, and Selkirk mountains, and a vast plateau region. Deep river valleys and extensive tracts of arable land are the chief features of the plateau region, particularly in British Columbia. Flanking this central belt on the west and generally parallel to the Pacific Ocean is another great mountain system. This system includes the Coast Mountains, related to the Cascade Range of the United States, and various coastal ranges. The loftiest coastal uplift is the St Elias Mountains, on the boundary between the Yukon Territory and Alaska. Among noteworthy peaks of the western Cordillera in Canada are Mount Logan (5,951 m/19,524 ft, the highest point in Canada and second-highest mountain in North America after Mount McKinley), Mount St Elias (5,489 m/18,008 ft), Mount Lucania (5,226 m/17,147 ft), and King Peak (5,173 m/16,971 ft); all are in the St Elias Mountains.
B Geology The Canadian Shield, which occupies the eastern half of Canada’s land mass, is an ancient craton, or stable platform, made up of rocks that formed billions of years ago, during the Priscoan, Archaean, and Proterozoic eons. The shield, with its assemblage of granites, gneisses, and schists 2 billion to 4 billion years old, became the nucleus of the North American plate at the time that the Earth’s crust first began experiencing the forces of plate tectonics that drive continental drift. See alsoNorth America: Geological History.
During the Palaeozoic era, large parts of Canada were covered by shallow seas. Sediments deposited in these seas formed the sandstone, shale, and limestone that now surround the Canadian Shield. The Cambrian and Silurian systems are represented by great thicknesses of strata that appear in outcroppings in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador, along the St Lawrence Valley, and on the shores of Lake Ontario. Flat-lying beds of Palaeozoic and younger rocks extend westward across the Interior Plains throughout the Prairie provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. In these areas, the rocks contain valuable deposits of oil and gas. In the Cordilleran region of western Canada, the rocks were subjected to tectonic forces generated by the collision of the North American plate with the Pacific plate. In the ensuing upheavals, which began during the Cretaceous period, mountain ranges rose throughout the Cordilleran region. The easternmost of these ranges, the Rocky Mountains, are similar in structure to the mountains of Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana, having been built by uplift and folding of sedimentary rocks and, in lesser degree, by volcanic activity. The strata of which they are composed range in age from Palaeozoic to Tertiary and contain valuable deposits of base and precious metals as well as fossil fuels.
During the Quaternary sub-era, nearly all of Canada was covered by vast ice sheets that terminated in the northern United States during the ice ages. Landscapes were profoundly modified by the erosive action of this vast mass of moving ice, particularly in the creation of Canada’s many thousands of lakes and its extensive deposits of sand, clay, and gravel.
C Rivers and Lakes
Canada contains more lakes and inland waters than any other country in the world. In addition to the Great Lakes on the US border (all partly within Canada except Lake Michigan), the country has 31 lakes more than 1,300 sq km (500 sq mi) in area. Largest among these lakes are Great Bear, Great Slave, Dubawnt, and Baker in the mainland Northwest Territories and Nunavut; Nettilling and Amadjuak on Baffin Island; Athabasca in Alberta and Saskatchewan; Wollaston in Saskatchewan; Reindeer in Saskatchewan and Manitoba; Winnipeg, Manitoba, Winnipegosis, and Southern Indian in Manitoba; Nipigon and Lake of the Woods in Ontario; Mistassini in Quebec; and Smallwood Reservoir and Melville in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Among the great rivers of Canada are the St Lawrence, draining the Great Lakes, and emptying into the Gulf of St Lawrence; the Ottawa and the Saguenay, the principal tributaries of the St Lawrence; the Saint John, emptying into the Bay of Fundy, between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick; the Saskatchewan, flowing into Lake Winnipeg, and the Nelson, flowing from this lake into Hudson Bay; the system formed by the Athabasca, Peace, Slave, and Mackenzie rivers, emptying into the Arctic Ocean; the upper course of the Yukon, flowing across Alaska into the Bering Sea; and the Fraser and the upper course of the Columbia, emptying into the Pacific Ocean.
D Climate Part of the Canadian mainland and most of the Arctic Archipelago fall within the Frigid Zone; the remainder of the country lies in the northern half of the North Temperate Zone. As a consequence, general climatic conditions range from the extreme cold characteristic of the Arctic regions to the moderate temperatures of more southerly latitudes. The Canadian climate is marked by wide regional variations. In the Maritime provinces (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island), extremes of winter cold and summer heat are modified by oceanic influences, which also cause considerable fog and precipitation. Along the western coast, which is under the influence of warm ocean currents and moisture-laden winds, mild summers and winters, high humidity, and abundant precipitation are characteristic. In the Cordilleran region the higher western slopes of certain uplifts, particularly the Selkirks and the Rockies, receive sizeable amounts of rain and snow, but the eastern slopes and the central plateau region are extremely arid. A feature of the Cordilleran region is the chinook, a warm, dry westerly wind that substantially ameliorates winter conditions in the Rocky Mountain foothills and adjoining plains, often causing great daily changes. For further climatic information, see articles on the individual provinces.
E Natural Resources
Canada is richly endowed with valuable natural resources that are commercially indispensable to the economy. The country has enormous areas of fertile, low-lying land in the Prairie provinces (Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan) and bordering the Great Lakes and St Lawrence River in southern Quebec and southern Ontario. Forests cover about 49 per cent of the country’s land area and abound in commercially valuable stands of timber. Commercial fishing in Canada dates from nearly 500 years ago, and ocean waters, inland lakes, and rivers continue to support this industry. The mining industry of Canada has a long history of exploration and development that pre-dates confederation in 1867. The Canadian Shield contains a wealth of minerals; the nation is also rich in reserves of crude petroleum and natural gas. The river and lake systems of the country combine with the mountainous topography to make hydroelectric energy one of the permanent natural assets of Canada. The wildlife of the country is extensive and varied.
F Plants and Animals The flora of the entire northern part of Canada is arctic and subarctic. A substantial part of the Maritime provinces is covered by forests of mixed hardwoods and softwoods. The Prairie provinces were in their natural state grasslands and are thus comparatively treeless as far north as the Saskatchewan river system; prairie grasses, herbage, and bunchgrasses are the chief forms of vegetation. North of the Saskatchewan a broad belt of rather small and sparse trees extends from Hudson Bay to Great Slave Lake and the Rocky Mountains. Spruce, tamarack, and poplar are the principal species. The dry slopes and valleys of the Rocky Mountains support thin forests, mainly pine, but the forests increase in density and the trees in size westward towards the region of greater rainfall. On the coast ranges, especially on their western slopes, are dense forests of mighty evergreen trees. The principal trees are the spruce, hemlock, Douglas and balsam firs, jack and lodgepole pines, and cedar.
The animals of Canada are very similar or identical to those of northern Europe and Asia. Among the carnivores are several species of the weasel subfamily, such as the ermine, sable, fisher, wolverine, and mink. Other representative carnivores include the black bear, grizzly bear, lynx, wolf, coyote, fox, and skunk. The polar bear is distributed throughout the arctic regions; the puma is found in British Columbia. Of the rodents, the most characteristic is the beaver. The Canadian porcupine, the muskrat, and many smaller rodents are numerous, as are hare, and in the Interior Plains a variety of burrowing gopher is found.
Several varieties of Virginia deer are indigenous to southern Canada; the black-tailed deer occurs in British Columbia and parts of the plains region. This region is also the habitat of the pronghorn antelope. The woodland caribou and the moose are numerous and widely distributed, but the Barren Ground caribou is found only in the more northern areas, which are also the habitat of the musk ox. Elk and bison are found in various western areas. In the mountains of British Columbia bighorn sheep and Rocky Mountain goats are numerous. Birds are abundant and diverse, and fish are numerous in all the inland waters and along all the coasts. Reptiles are scarce except in the far south, as are insects, except for mosquitoes, which occur in vast numbers in the mainland Northwest Territories and Nunavut during the brief summers.
G Soils Large areas of Canada are covered by boggy peat characteristic of the tundra and adjoining forest areas. This land is generally infertile and frequently mossy. A formation of rich dark brown and black prairie soils runs from southern Manitoba west across Saskatchewan and into Alberta, forming Canada’s best farmland. The grey-brown soil of the St Lawrence Basin and the Great Lakes is also good farmland. Only about 5 per cent of Canada’s land is suitable for farming, however, the remainder being too mountainous, rocky, wet, or infertile.
The racial and ethnic make-up of the Canadian people is diverse. About 34 per cent of the population is composed of people of British or part-British origin. People of French or part-French origin total about 27 per cent of the population. The vast majority of French-speaking Canadians reside in Quebec, where they make up about 78 per cent of the population; large numbers also live in Ontario and New Brunswick, and smaller groups inhabit the remaining provinces. French-speaking Canadians maintain their language, culture, and traditions, and the federal government follows the policy of a bilingual and bicultural nation. During the 1970s and 1980s the proportion of Asians among the Canadian population increased from 5 per cent to more than 16 per cent; more than two thirds of the Asian immigrants live in Ontario or British Columbia. The remainder of the population is composed of people of various ethnic origins, such as German, Italian, Ukrainian, Dutch, Scandinavian, Polish, Hungarian, Greek, and the native peoples, who are officially designated the First Nations. The First Nations make up nearly 2 per cent of Canada’s population, and belong predominantly to the Algonquian linguistic group; other representative linguistic stocks are the Iroquoian, Salishan, Athabascan, and Inuit (Eskimoan). Altogether, the indigenous people of Canada are divided into nearly 600 groups, or bands.
Blacks have never constituted a major segment of the Canadian population, but their history has been an interesting one. Although Louis XIV of France in 1689 authorized the importation of slaves from the Caribbean, black immigration into Canada has been almost entirely from the United States. Some Loyalists brought slaves north with them during and after the American War of Independence (1775-1783). The British troops that burnt Washington in the War of 1812 brought many slaves back with them to Halifax, Nova Scotia. However, Nova Scotia abolished slavery in 1787 and their action was followed six years later by Upper Canada, thus setting precedents for the whole British Empire, in which slavery was finally abolished in 1833. The presence of free soil in Canada was a major influence in the operation of the Underground Railroad, which, during the abolition campaign in the United States, transported many slaves into Canada, particularly to Chatham and Sarnia in Ontario. Blacks make up less than 2 per cent of the Canadian population today.
A Population Characteristics The population of Canada is 31,330,255 (2000), compared with 27,296,859 in the 1991 census. The overall population density is about 3 people per sq km (8.1 people per sq mi).
Approximately three quarters of the people of Canada inhabit a relatively narrow belt of land along the US border, with about 62 per cent concentrated in Quebec and Ontario. Nearly 17 per cent of the population lives in the Prairie provinces of Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan; about 8 per cent in the Atlantic provinces, which include Newfoundland and Labrador and the Maritime provinces of Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick; and about 13 per cent in British Columbia. Yukon Territory, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut are sparsely inhabited, having only about 0.3 per cent of the total population. About 77 per cent of the population is urban.
B Political Divisions The country is divided into ten provinces (Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Saskatchewan) and three territories (Northwest Territories, Yukon Territory, and Nunavut, which was created from a division of the Northwest Territories, and came into existence in 1999).
C Principal Cities
Among the leading cities of Canada are Toronto, Ontario, a port and manufacturing city (population, 1996 estimate, metropolitan area, 4,444,700); Montreal, Quebec, a port and major commercial centre (3,359,000); Vancouver, British Columbia, a railway, shipping, and forest-products manufacturing centre (1,891,400); Ottawa, Ontario, the capital of Canada and a commercial and industrial city (Ottawa-Hull metropolitan area, 1,030,500); Winnipeg, Manitoba, a major wheat market and railway junction (676,700); Edmonton, Alberta, a farming and petroleum centre (891,500); Quebec City, Quebec, a shipping, manufacturing, and tourist centre (697,600); Hamilton, Ontario, a shipping and manufacturing centre (650,400); Calgary, Alberta, a transport, mining, and farm-trade centre (851,600); St Catharines, Ontario, an industrial and commercial city (St Catharines-Niagara metropolitan area, 389,700); Kitchener, Ontario, a city of manufacturing industries (403,300); London, Ontario, a railway and industrial centre (416,100); and Halifax, Nova Scotia, a seaport and manufacturing city (346,800).
The largest religious community in Canada is Roman Catholic. Nearly half of Canadian Roman Catholics live in Quebec. Of the Protestant denominations in Canada the largest is the United Church of Canada, followed by the Anglican Church of Canada. Other important religious groups are Presbyterian, Lutheran, Baptist, Eastern Orthodox, Jewish, and Pentecostalist. Smaller religious communities include Islamic, Hindu, and Sikh groups. Nearly 13 per cent of Canadians claim no religion.
E Education The educational system in Canada is derived from the British and American traditions and the French tradition, the latter particularly in the province of Quebec. English or French is the language of instruction, and some schools provide instruction in both official languages. Each of the ten provinces has responsibility for establishing and maintaining its own school system. In Quebec, the French-Canadian tradition is followed by the Roman Catholic schools. The province also maintains Protestant schools, however, which are widely attended. Although Canada does not have a central ministry of education, the federal government provides schools for First Nations children, inmates of federal penitentiaries, and the children of military personnel in Europe.
The earliest Canadian schools, which were conducted by French Catholic religious orders, date from the early 17th century. Higher education was inaugurated in 1635 with the founding of the Collčge des Jésuites in the city of Quebec. It was not until the transfer of Canada from French to British jurisdiction in 1763 that an educational system began to emerge that encompassed Church, governmental, and private secular schools. The early 19th century saw the establishment of the large universities, beginning with McGill University (in Montreal) in 1821 and followed by the University of Ottawa in 1848 and the University of Toronto in 1850. Since 1945, a notable expansion in higher education has occurred. Many new institutions have been founded, and the older universities have increased in size, scope, and influence. The federal and provincial governments fund the university system in Canada, and students pay only a small portion of the cost. Universities are still the predominant institutions offering higher education, but the number of non-university post-secondary institutions, particularly community colleges, has increased sharply in recent decades. In 1994, 7.6 per cent of the national budget was spent on education.
Education is generally compulsory for children from ages 6 or 7 to ages 15 or 16, depending on the province in which they live, and it is free until the completion of secondary school studies. In the early 1990s Canada had more than 16,000 elementary and secondary schools, with a total enrolment of nearly 5.3 million pupils. In the early 1990s Canada maintained 19 specialized schools for visually impaired and hearing-impaired people, with an enrolment of about 2,300 pupils. Canada has several schools for developmentally disabled children.
In the early 1990s Canada had 69 degree-granting universities and colleges, which together enrolled some 573,200 full-time students. Among the country’s larger universities are the following: the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary, in Alberta; the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University, in British Columbia; the University of Manitoba; the University of Moncton and the University of New Brunswick, in New Brunswick; Memorial University of Newfoundland; Acadia University and Dalhousie University, in Nova Scotia; Carleton University, McMaster University, the University of Ottawa, the University of Toronto, the University of Waterloo, and York University, in Ontario; the University of Prince Edward Island; Concordia University, Laval University, McGill University, the University of Montreal, and the University of Quebec, in Quebec; and the University of Saskatchewan.
The federal government especially encourages the arts through the Canada Council, established in 1957, which awards fellowships and grants. It favours decentralizing policies that bring cultural resources within reach of the most isolated communities. Since 1972 it has supported a multicultural policy to reflect the varied influences that make up the mosaic of Canadian life, including the cultures of indigenous peoples.
Of Canada’s more than 2,100 museums, archives, and historical sites, the most important are in the National Capital Region. These include, in Hull, Quebec, the Canadian Museum of Civilization, which celebrates Canada’s multicultural heritage; and, in Ottawa, the Canadian Museum of Nature (formerly the National Museum of Natural Sciences), the National Museum of Science and Technology, and the National Gallery of Canada. The National Museum Policy (1972) has encouraged and supported the growth of regional museums.
The Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto has collections of art, life and Earth sciences, and Canadiana. Among more specialized museums are Upper Canada Village, a restoration of 18th- and 19th-century buildings in Morrisburg, Ontario; the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Museum, in Regina, Saskatchewan; and the Royal British Columbia Museum, in Victoria, which contains important displays of Native American artefacts.
The National Library of Canada, in Ottawa, issues the national bibliography and maintains union catalogues of the collections of more than 300 other libraries. Its holdings, including a comprehensive collection of Canadian newspapers, exceed 15.9 million items. Particularly outstanding university libraries are those of McGill, Toronto, British Columbia, and Montreal.
The performing arts in Canada are supported by government and private grants. The National Arts Centre, in Ottawa, opened in 1969, has a resident symphony orchestra and theatre companies that perform in French and English. The chief theatrical centres are Quebec, Montreal, and Toronto where the theatres present new Canadian plays as well as imports and classics. Opera companies include the Canadian Opera, in Toronto; two companies in Montreal; and six in the west—in Vancouver, Victoria, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, and Saskatoon. Among the principal dance companies are the National Ballet of Canada, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens (Montreal). The Toronto Dance Theatre presents modern dance. The prominent orchestras include the Montreal Symphony, the Toronto Symphony, and the Vancouver Symphony.
Canadians and visitors also enjoy summer festivals, such as the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Ontario; the Shaw Festival at Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario; and Cultures Canada, a series of multicultural events in Ottawa. Local traditions are preserved in the Highland Games on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia; the Sherbrooke Festival de Cantons (Quebec), celebrating French-Canadian culture and cuisine; and the Ukrainian Festival in Dauphin, Manitoba.
Until the early 20th century, Canada was primarily an agricultural nation. Since then it has become one of the most highly industrialized countries in the world. To a large extent the manufacturing industries are supplied with raw materials produced by the agricultural, mining, forestry, and fishing sectors of the Canadian economy.
In 1998 Canada’s gross national product (GNP) was US$580,872 million, equivalent to US$19,170 per capita (World Bank estimate). Federal government annual revenue in 1997 was US$116,823 million; expenditure for the same year was US$141,742 million.
A Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing
The Canadian economy depends heavily on agriculture, which employs about 3 per cent of the labour force. In the early 1990s Canada had some 280,000 farms, which averaged 242 hectares (598 acres) in size. The annual value of farm output amounted to US$18,600 million at that time. Because of its abundant production and relatively small population, Canada is a leading exporter of food products. Its farms are about equally divided between arable and livestock production. Wheat is the most important single crop, and the Prairie provinces of Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan form one of the greatest wheat-growing areas of the world, averaging 16 per cent of global production (half of this coming from Saskatchewan alone). These provinces also grow a large percentage of the coarse grains and oilseeds produced in Canada. After wheat, the major crops in descending order of value are rapeseed, vegetables, barley, maize, potatoes, fruits, tobacco, and soya beans. Annual output totals in 1999 included (in tonnes) wheat, 25 million; barley, 13 million; and maize, 8.12.
Quebec produces 82 per cent of the maple products, and Ontario produces 89 per cent of the nation’s tobacco crop. Fruit-farming takes place in Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec, with apples contributing about 40 per cent of the total value. Ontario produces about one half of the total vegetable crop, followed by Quebec and British Columbia.
Livestock and livestock products accounted for about 48 per cent of farm cash receipts in 1996. Ranching prevails in the west, and the raising of livestock is a general enterprise, except in parts of Alberta and Saskatchewan, where beef cattle form a specialized industry. Ontario and Quebec rank highest in production of dairy products, with about 71 per cent of the national output. In 1999 the livestock population of Canada included about 13 million cattle.
Forestry is a major source of Canada’s wealth, and forest products annually account for more than 11 per cent of the value of Canadian exports. Forests cover some 4.2 million sq km (some 1.6 million sq mi) of the country, and the provincial and federal governments own about 90 per cent of this land. Canada has more than 150 varieties of native trees; about 80 per cent of them are softwoods, such as spruce, Douglas fir, hemlock, cedar, and balsam. Canada’s annual timber harvest in 1998 was about 160 million cu m (5.65 billion cu ft). Forestry sustains a complex and diversified export and domestic industry, employing more than 250,000 people. Canada leads the world in newsprint production, with about 28 per cent, and accounts for more than half of world exports; most of the Canadian export is sent to the United States. The sawmill and planing-mill industry is centred in British Columbia. Quebec and Ontario lead the nation in pulp and paper production.
The fishing resources of the country are harvested from the north-western Atlantic and north-eastern Pacific oceans and from the most extensive bodies of fresh water in the world. In the early 1990s the number of people employed in fishing or fish-processing operations was approximately 114,600. Most of the yearly output of the fishing industry, which has a market value of about US$2,000 million per year, is exported, making Canada one of the world’s pre-eminent fish exporters. The catch, which totalled some 1.5 million tonnes annually in 1991, before dropping sharply to 1,030,523 tonnes in 1997 (in an effort to prevent overfishing of depleted stocks), includes cod, herring, salmon, flounder, lobster, scallops, crab, and redfish.
B Fur Industry Fur trapping (particularly of beaver) had an important role in Canada’s early economic development, and the practice continues today. The value of trapped and farm-raised pelts rose from US$26.5 million in 1960 and 1961 to US$110.8 million in 1987, but declined rapidly in the late 1980s to reach US$36.8 million in 1991. Farming operations consist mainly of raising mink, which contributes more than 90 per cent of the annual value of pelts from fur farms, with fox accounting for virtually all the remainder.
C Mining The mining industry in Canada has a long history. The most significant period of growth, however, has been since 1945, with mineral discoveries in almost every region of the country. Mining is an important source of national wealth; in the early 1990s mineral production was valued at about US$29,300 million. The Canadian mining industry is strongly oriented towards exports, and Canada is one of the world’s leading mineral exporters.
The growth of the mining industry is due in part to petroleum and natural gas discoveries in western Canada; development of huge iron-ore deposits in Labrador and Quebec; the discovery and development of large deposits of nickel in Ontario and Manitoba, uranium in Ontario and Saskatchewan, and potash in Saskatchewan; extraction of sulphur from natural gas in the western provinces; development of copper, lead, and zinc deposits; and the production of gold in Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, and the Northwest Territories. The leading minerals in value (1998) are crude petroleum (724 million barrels), natural gas (171 billion cu m/6,036 billion cu ft), natural gas by-products, gold (166,089 kg), copper (706,745 tonnes), zinc (1.06 million tonnes), nickel, coal (75.4 million tonnes), potash, and iron ore (24.9 million tonnes). These minerals together typically account for more than 80 per cent of the value of annual mineral production. Alberta (with its large oil reserves) leads the country by a wide margin in the yearly value of mineral output; it is usually followed by Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. Canada usually leads the world in the annual production of asbestos and zinc and ranks among the top countries in the annual production of uranium, cobalt, copper, gold, gypsum, iron ore, lead, molybdenum, nickel, natural gas, platinum-group metals, potash, silver, sulphur, and titanium concentrates. The mining industry is subject to market fluctuations that adversely affect dependent local economies.
D Manufacturing The Canadian economy is largely dependent on manufacturing, and industry, which employs about 14 per cent of the labour force, and accounts for about 20 per cent of the annual GDP. Manufacturing has grown remarkably since 1945. The leading manufactured products, ranked by value of shipments, are motor vehicles and vehicle parts, processed foods, paper and paper products, chemicals, primary metals, refined petroleum, electrical and electronic products, fabricated metals, sawn and planed timber, and printed materials. The most important manufacturing provinces are Ontario, which now accounts for more than half the manufacturing production of Canada, and Quebec, which accounts for nearly a quarter. The chief manufacturing cities include Toronto, Montreal, Hamilton, Vancouver, Windsor, Winnipeg, and Kitchener.
E Tourism The seasons and scenic wonders of Canada draw large numbers of tourists. In the spring, blossom festivals flourish across Canada, especially in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia and the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. Alberta’s Calgary Exhibition and Stampede in July is world-famous. The Niagara Grape and Wine Festival and autumn-colour tours in central Ontario and the Laurentian Mountains of Quebec are among the other attractions. The abundant snowfall is made use of; skiing centres are expanding. About 730,000 sq km (282,000 sq mi) of scenic areas have been preserved in the natural state for use as national, marine, and provincial parks, such as the world-famous Jasper and Banff national parks. Banff receives more than 4 million visitors annually.
Tourism has become one of the leading industries of Canada. In 1997 the country was visited by some 45 million tourists, of whom about 90 per cent came from the United States. Income from tourism was about US$7,980 million a year in 1996.
F Energy Endowed with many fast-flowing rivers, Canada is the world’s leading producer of hydroelectricity. More than 85 per cent of the country’s hydroelectric output is generated in the provinces of Quebec, Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador, and British Columbia. In 1979 the first of nine planned hydroelectric stations on La Grande-Rivičre, near James Bay in Quebec, began operations; when completed, the nine installations, owned and operated by Hydro-Québec, will have a capacity of 15,500 megawatts, more than any other hydroelectric complex in North America. Churchill Falls, in the Labrador region, is another major Canadian hydroelectric facility, with a capacity of 5,428 megawatts.
The first nuclear power plant in Canada (at Rolphton, Ontario) was completed in 1962. Other major nuclear power plants are located at Pickering and the Bruce Peninsula (both in Ontario).
In the mid-1990s Canada had an installed electricity-generating capacity of some 113,000 megawatts. In 1998 the annual output of electricity was about 551 billion kWh, of which 60 per cent was provided by hydroelectric plants, 12 per cent by nuclear power plants, and 27 per cent by conventional plants using fossil fuels. Canada exports about 10 per cent of its energy production to the United States.
G Currency and Banking The unit of currency in Canada is the Canadian dollar, which consists of 100 cents ($1.4415 Canadian dollars equal US$1; 2000).
H Commerce and Trade The per capita foreign trade of Canada ranks among the highest of any nation in the world. The growth since 1945 of Canada’s external trade has been remarkable. In 1998 the value of exports totalled US$214,327 million and imports were valued at around US$206,233 million.
Most of Canada’s foreign trade is with the United States, which typically takes about 80 per cent of Canada’s exports and supplies more than 65 per cent of its imports (indeed the value of Canadian-US trade is greater than between any other two countries in the world). Japan and the United Kingdom are usually Canada’s next leading trade partners. Canada and the United States entered into a Free Trade Agreement in 1988, superseded in 1994 by the North American Free Trade Agreement, which included Mexico.
I Labour The civilian labour force in Canada in 1997 was made up of approximately 13.94 million people. Employment was concentrated in services (7.79 million), in manufacturing (2.17 million), and in trade (2.39 million). Approximately 500,000 people worked in agriculture, forestry, or fishing.
Union membership in the early 1990s exceeded 4 million people, or about 36 per cent of all non-agricultural workers. About 60 per cent of the union members belonged to organizations affiliated with the Canadian Labour Congress.
J Transport The natural water and mountain barriers of Canada, combined with a dispersed population, necessitate efficient and economical transport facilities. Since the earliest explorations of the country, water transport has been indispensable. The St Lawrence-Great Lakes navigation system extends some 3,769 km (2,342 mi) from the Gulf of St Lawrence into the centre of the continent. The opening of the St Lawrence Seaway in 1959 contributed greatly to industrial expansion. In the mid-1990s cargo carried through the Montreal-Lake Ontario section of the seaway exceeded 31 million tonnes. Nearly 27,000 vessels engaged in foreign trade entered and cleared Canadian ports annually; cargo unloaded totalled some 77.1 million tonnes, and about 169.8 million tonnes were loaded. The ports in Vancouver, Sept-Īles, Montreal, Port-Cartier, Quebec, Halifax, Saint John (New Brunswick), Thunder Bay, Prince Rupert, and Hamilton together handled most of the total (Vancouver handled a total of 73.5 million tonnes in 1997, maintaining its position as the leading port on the western coast of North America for total tonnage). Canadian merchant vessels of 1,000 gross tonnes or more numbered 62 in the mid-1990s, with a total deadweight tonnage of nearly 804,440.
The rail network in Canada amounts to some 69,677 km (43,295 mi). Of this, about 27,350 km (17,000 mi) is operated in Canada and the United States by Canadian National Railways, which passed out of public ownership to become an investor-owned railway in November 1995. In 2000 Canadian National Railway Co. merged with Burlington Santa Fe corporation to become North American Railways, the largest rail network in North America. Canadian Pacific, also privately owned, serves all of Canada, except Newfoundland Island, Prince Edward Island, and the three territories, and operates some 29,100 km (18,082 mi) of track in Canada and the United States. Nationwide passenger rail transport is provided on about 14,000 km (9,270 mi) of track by VIA Rail Canada, an independent Crown corporation created in 1978.
The total length of the federal and provincial road system in Canada in the mid-1990s was more than 300,000 km (186,420 mi). The Trans-Canada Highway, completed in 1962, stretches from St John’s, on Newfoundland Island, to Victoria, British Columbia, a distance of 7,775 km (4,831 mi). In 1997 there were about 441 cars for every 1,000 people. The Confederation Bridge, spanning 12.9 km (8 mi) from mainland New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, across the Northumberland Strait to Prince Edward Island, opened in June 1997. It is the world’s longest bridge over ice-covered water; the main bridge is constructed using 44 spans and features a navigation span with a clearance of 60 m (196.9 ft) to facilitate the passage of merchant shipping.
Two major airlines, Air Canada and Canadian Airlines International, maintain a broad network of domestic and international routes. Other smaller carriers are licensed. Of the more than 1,200 airfields certified by Transport Canada, the busiest are Lester B. Pearson International Airport, in Toronto; Vancouver International Airport; Dorval and Mirabel international airports, near Montreal; and Calgary International Airport.
K Communications The publicly owned Canadian Broadcasting Corporation owned and operated 65 originating radio stations, including AM, FM, and short-wave, and 29 originating television stations in the early 1990s, broadcasting in English, French, and First Nations languages. A total of 695 private originating radio stations and 116 private television stations were operating. Ninety-nine per cent of households had radio and television sets.
In 1998 there were 634 telephones in service for every 1,000 people in Canada, of which 70 per cent were residential and 30 per cent commercial. Most domestic telephone service is provided by Telecom Canada, a consortium that includes nine telephone companies, seven of which are privately owned. Also within this consortium is Telesat Canada, which was established in 1969 by the federal government and private firms to provide commercial communications via satellite. In 1972 it launched the world’s first stationary communications satellite designed for domestic commercial use. Called Anik I, after an Inuit word for “brother”, the satellite helped provide television broadcasting and telephone service to remote northern Canada.
In 1996 Canada had 107 daily newspapers, with an aggregate daily circulation of 5 million copies. Widely read dailies included the Calgary Herald; the Edmonton Journal; the Province, published in Vancouver; the Vancouver Sun; the Winnipeg Free Press; the Globe and Mail, published in Toronto; the Toronto Star; the Toronto Sun; and the Gazette, La Presse, and Le Journal de Montréal, all published in Montreal. The government-controlled Canada Post provides mail delivery throughout the country.
Canada is mainly governed according to principles embodied in the Constitution Act of 1982, which gave the Canadian government total authority over its constitution. Previously, the British North America Act of 1867 and subsequent laws had reserved some constitutional authority with the British parliament. Canada is a federal union, with a division of powers between the central and provincial governments. Under the original 1867 act, the central government had considerable power over the provinces, but, through amendments to the act and changes brought by practical experience, the provincial governments have increased the scope of their authority. However, considerable tension continues to exist between the federal government and the provincial governments over the proper allocation of power.
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, added by the passage of the 1982 Constitution Act to the country’s constitution, guarantees to citizens “fundamental freedoms”, such as those of conscience and the press; “democratic rights” to vote and seek election; “mobility”, “legal”, and “equality” rights to move throughout Canada, to enjoy security of person, and to combat discrimination; and the equality of the French and English languages. The charter changed the Canadian political system by enhancing the power of the courts to make or unmake laws through judicial decisions. It also contains the so-called “notwithstanding” clause, which allows Parliament or the provincial legislatures to designate an act operative even though it might clash with a charter provision.
The head of state of Canada is the sovereign of the United Kingdom, who is represented in Canada by the Governor-General; the head of government is the prime minister, who is responsible to Parliament.
A Executive and Legislature The central government of Canada exercises all powers not specifically assigned to the provinces; it has exclusive jurisdiction over administration of the public debt, currency and coinage, taxation for general purposes, organization of national defence, fiscal matters, banking, fisheries, commerce, navigation and shipping, energy policy, agriculture, postal service, census, statistics, patents, copyright, naturalization, aliens, indigenous peoples, marriage, and divorce. Among the powers assigned to the provincial governments are education, hospitals, provincial property and civil rights, taxation for local purposes, the regulation of local commerce, and the borrowing of money. With respect to certain matters, such as immigration, the federal and provincial governments possess concurrent jurisdiction.
The Canadian parliament consists of two houses: the Senate (composed of 104 members appointed by the Governor-General on the advice of the prime minister), and the House of Commons (composed of 301 members apportioned according to provincial population). Senators serve until the age of 75, and House members are elected for five years (or until the House is dissolved) by popular vote. Elections are held at the prime minister’s discretion. Laws must be passed by both houses and signed by the Governor-General.
B Political Parties
The strongest national political parties in Canada during the 20th century have traditionally been the Liberal Party and the Progressive Conservative Party, also known as the Tories. However, a voter backlash in the early 1990s has resulted in a great upheaval in the Canadian political picture, and established groups such as these two parties have lost much of their power. Although they agree on many issues, the Liberals have generally supported government intervention to promote the general welfare, while the Conservatives have favoured free enterprise and the limited state. The smaller New Democratic Party, by contrast, endorsed social democracy and the rights of organized labour, and found support in Ontario and the western provinces. The new Alberta-based Reform Party has become an increasingly significant vehicle of conservative sentiment in English Canada, outside the Maritime provinces. The Bloc Québécois, a splinter from the Conservatives, has risen in prominence by espousing sovereignty for Quebec. To a degree, this party acts as the federal arm of the Parti Québécois, a Quebec-based party that held power in the province from 1976 to 1985.
C Judiciary The legal system in Canada is derived from English common law, except in Quebec, where the provincial system of civil law is based on the French Code Napoléon. The federal judiciary is headed by the Supreme Court of Canada, made up of a chief justice and eight puisne (associate) judges, three of whom must come from Quebec. It sits in Ottawa and is the final Canadian appellate court for all civil, criminal, and constitutional cases. The next leading tribunal, the Federal Court of Canada, is divided into a Trial Division and an Appeal Division. Provincial courts are established by the provincial legislatures, and, although the names of the courts are not uniform, each province has a similar three-tiered court system.
D Provincial and Territorial Government The sovereign is represented in each of Canada’s ten provinces by a lieutenant-governor, appointed by the Governor-General on the advice of the prime minister. The head of government of each province is the premier, who is responsible to a unicameral provincial legislature. The three territories are governed by federally appointed commissioners, assisted in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut by a legislative assembly and in the Yukon Territory by an elected council and legislature.
E Health and Welfare All levels of government share the responsibility for social welfare in Canada. The federal government administers comprehensive income-maintenance measures, such as the Canada Pension Plan, Canada Assistance Plan, old-age security pensions, family allowances, youth allowances, and unemployment insurance, in which nationwide coordination is necessary. The federal government gives aid to the provinces in meeting the costs of public assistance; it also provides services for special groups, such as First Nations, veterans, and immigrants. Administration of welfare services is mainly the responsibility of the provinces, but local authorities, generally with financial aid from the province, often assume the provision of services. Provincial governments have the major responsibility for education and health services in Canada.
The Medical Care Act, passed in 1966, has permitted the federal government to contribute about half the cost of the Medical Care Insurance Programme (Medicare), with the respective province contributing the remainder. The programme establishes the following minimum criteria: (1) comprehensive coverage, to cover all medically required services rendered by doctors and surgeons; (2) universal availability to all residents; (3) portability, to cover temporary or permanent change in residence to another province; and (4) non-profit basis. In 1994 there were 455 people for every doctor and in 2000 the infant mortality rate was 5 deaths per 1,000 live births. In 1997, 4.60 per cent of government expenditure was spent on health care.
F Defence The Canadian armed forces are integrated and are headed by the chief of the defence staff, who reports to the civilian minister of national defence. Under the defence staff are three major commands, organized according to function: the mobile command, the air command, and the maritime command. Canada is a member of NATO, and Canadian Forces Europe comprises the air and land forces allocated to support NATO in Europe. It also contributes troops to UN peacekeeping operations. In 1998 the Canadian armed forces included about 60,600 people.
G International Organizations Canada is a member of the UN, the Commonwealth of Nations, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Organization of American States, and NATO.
VI HISTORY The history of Canada was shaped by the encounter of its people with the rigours and riches of a vast new land. It was also marked by the achievements and conflicts of its diverse inhabitants—indigenous peoples and French, English, and other European immigrants. A pervasive influence was Canada’s southern neighbour, the United States.
A A Meeting of Peoples North America, from which the country of Canada emerged, received large waves of immigrants from both the West and the East over many thousands of years.
A1 Indigenous Peoples
In a series of migrations that occurred during the last stages of the Pleistocene Ice Age, the settlement of the Americas began when Mongoloid peoples from Asia entered North America, probably crossing the Bering Strait. Gradually they spread over the continent and into South America. By 1600, more than 250,000 of their descendants inhabited what is now Canada. Developing a Stone Age economy, they hunted, fished, and gathered food and, in warmer areas, also farmed. The basic social unit was the band, which varied from a few families to several hundred people. In areas of higher population density, bands were organized into tribes and even confederations of tribes.
The largest linguistic group was the Algonquian, which included migratory hunting tribes such as the Cree and Naskapi in the eastern subarctic region and the Abenaki and Micmac in the eastern woodlands on the coast. By the 18th century, Algonquians had spread west, where the Ottawa, Ojibwa, Blackfoot, Plains Cree, and others roamed the prairies and plains in search of bison. The Iroquoian-speaking tribes—the Huron and the Iroquois—lived in permanent farm settlements and had a highly developed tribal organization in the St Lawrence Valley and around Lakes Ontario and Erie.
Tribes of Salishan, Athabascan, and other linguistic groups occupied fishing villages along the rivers of interior British Columbia. On the Pacific coast, Salishan tribes, such as the Bellacoola, and related Wakashan-speaking tribes—the Kwakiutl and Nootka—developed a rich culture, based on salmon-fishing, expressed in carved wooden totem poles and the lavish displays of wealth in potlatch ceremonies. In the western subarctic, the Athabascan group—Carrier, Dogrib, and others—lived in a nomadic, hunting economy similar to that of the Algonquians. Small, isolated Inuit bands developed a unique culture based on hunting seals and caribou, enabling them to survive the harsh environment of the Arctic.
A2 European Intruders
The first Europeans to reach North America were probably the Icelandic colonizers of Greenland. According to Icelandic sagas, Leif Ericson reached Vinland—somewhere along the North Atlantic coast—about AD 1000. Archaeological evidence suggests that Nordic people established short-lived settlements in Newfoundland. Claims that they penetrated deep into the mainland have not been substantiated.
A second wave of European exploration, between about 1480, when ships from Bristol began fishing off the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, and 1540, firmly established the existence of the new land in European minds. Many of the explorers, under government auspices, sought a North West Passage by sea from Europe to Asia’s riches and thus regarded the Canadian land mass as an obstacle as well as a potentially useful discovery. The voyage to Newfoundland in 1497 of John Cabot, a Venetian in English service, inspired a series of further explorations and laid the basis for English claims to Canada.
During the 1530s and 1540s the French explorer Jacques Cartier sailed up the St Lawrence River, claiming the land for France. His failure to find a North West Passage—or gold, as the Spanish had found in Peru—discouraged further exploration. France was also too preoccupied with domestic religious wars to make any substantial commitment. Canada was important, however, to English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese fishing fleets, all of which by then regularly fished the Grand Banks.
English and French interest in Canada revived in the late 16th century, largely for commercial reasons. The English explorers Martin Frobisher in the 1570s and Henry Hudson in 1610 and 1611 continued the fruitless search for a passage to Asia. English fishing interests in the 1630s secured a virtual prohibition on efforts to colonize Newfoundland.
A3 Earliest French Settlements
The French were more successful. Fishermen had noticed the abundance of beaver, whose pelts merchants were eager to market in Europe. The French government, motivated by visions of building an empire in the New World, decided to work through commercial monopolies, which in return for control of the fur trade would foster colonization. A monopoly granted to Pierre du Guast, sieur de Monts, in 1603 established trade settlements in Acadia in 1604 (now New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island) and at Quebec on the St Lawrence. The settlement of Quebec in 1608 owed much to Samuel de Champlain, an explorer hired by de Monts, who became the foremost champion of French colonization. Eventually Champlain convinced Cardinal Richelieu, chief adviser to Louis XIII, of the importance of North America to his mercantilist system of state-aided economic development. In 1627 Richelieu organized a joint-stock company, the Company of One Hundred Associates, to found a powerful centre of French civilization in the New World.
For the following 250 years, geographical factors limited European settlers to relatively small areas of what is now Canada, so that the relationship between them and the indigenous peoples centred on trade (principally the fur trade) rather than conquest. While this avoided the worst bloodshed of what became known in the United States as the Indian Wars, it did not prevent the destruction of indigenous peoples through successive waves of disease (particularly smallpox), and alcohol, which the fur companies used both as an article of trade and as a means of ensuring the submissive compliance of the bands with which they traded.
B New France (1627-1763) As a French possession, New France reflected the interests of the parent country.
B1 A Proprietary Colony
Under the proprietorship of Richelieu’s company, and later its colonial agent, the Community of Habitants (1645-1663), the new French colony took shape along the St Lawrence. In the French feudal tradition, large fiefs of land were granted to seigneurs, men who promised to parcel it out among habitants, or tenant farmers. Frenchmen were induced to emigrate, resulting in a population of about 2,000 by 1666. Hardy, adaptable, and tenacious, many entered the lucrative fur trade, which was brought under central control. New trade settlements were founded, notably at Trois-Rivičres (1634) and Montreal (1642). Further explorations of the interior were carried out by coureurs de bois, adventurous, unlicensed fur traders who wanted to escape company restrictions. Two of them, Pierre Esprit Radisson and Médard Chouart, sieur des Groselliers, explored west of Lake Superior in the 1650s.
Of more lasting significance was the role of the Roman Catholic Church. French Protestants, defeated in France, were prohibited from settling in the new colony. Roman Catholic religious orders were charged with maintaining and spreading the faith. Franciscan Récollet friars arrived in 1614 to convert the indigenous peoples, but were replaced in 1635 by the heroic priests, such as Jean de Brébeuf and Isaac Jogues, of the richer, better-organized Society of Jesus, commonly known as the Jesuits. Later came Ursuline nuns (1639), who educated girls, and Sulpicians (1657), who ran missions. In 1659 a vicar apostolic, the Jesuit-trained Bishop F. X. de Laval-Montmorency, arrived to take command of the missions and to found parishes. The Church increasingly became a powerful, rigidly moralistic force in colonial life.
The survival of New France was uncertain, however, because of almost continuous warfare with the Iroquoian Confederacy. In 1608 Champlain had allied himself with the Algonquians and with the Hurons, who were amenable to missionary activities and acted as the principal suppliers of furs. This alliance, however, antagonized the Iroquoian Confederacy, traditional rivals of the Huron and suppliers of furs to the Dutch in New Amsterdam. After the Iroquois had brutally ravaged Huron country north of the St Lawrence in 1648 and 1649, they turned against New France itself. The fur trade was no longer profitable, and the threat to the colony was now so great that the French considered abandoning it.
B2 A Crown Colony In 1663 Louis XIV’s brilliant minister Jean-Baptiste Colbert reorganized New France directly under royal authority. Administration was divided between a military governor and a more powerful intendant, both ruling from the city of Quebec but under orders from France. The fur trade was granted to a new monopoly, the Company of the West Indies. Defence was improved by the arrival in 1665 of the French Carignan-Saličres regiment, many of whose members stayed on as settlers. The Iroquois menace was ended, although attacks continued sporadically throughout the 17th century. Restructuring the seigneurial system, the Crown deprived uncooperative landowners of their fiefs, granted new blocs of land to promising candidates, and laid down rules to govern seigneurs and habitants. The Church received land and special payments. The Comte de Frontenac, as governor, encouraged further explorations. Those of Louis Jolliet and Father Jacques Marquette led to the exploration of the Mississippi River (1673) and those of René-Robert Cavelier, sieur de La Salle, to the acquisition of Louisiana (1682).
Jean Talon, intendant from 1665 to 1672, set out to establish New France as a prosperous, expanding colony rivalling the thriving English colonies to the south. He invited many new settlers, including young women, until by 1675 the population was almost 8,000. He also tried to diversify the economy beyond furs and build trade with Acadia and the West Indies. Talon was recalled before he could carry out his policies, however. After Colbert’s death in 1683, French interest in the colony waned, and by 1700 it was clear that New France was not going to be self-sufficient. The situation was further complicated by the establishment in 1670 of the Hudson’s Bay Company, a London company set up with the fur-trading expertise of Radisson and Groseilliers, who had gone over to the English. Although it discouraged settlement, the company, granted title to all the land draining into Hudson Bay, played a crucial role in maintaining a British presence in northern and central Canada over the next 200 years.
Under the governor, the intendant, and the bishop, officials, military officers, and seigneurs constituted a little colonial nobility, over-conscious of their rank. Leading merchants, also pursuing status, were influential in the towns. The clergy, almost a separate class altogether, controlled the morals, education, and social welfare of the colonists.
The theoretical authoritarianism of this regime was in fact limited by the vigorous spirit of independence among the people. The artisans were organized into strong guilds, each the focus of its own rituals and ways. They and the rural habitants successfully resisted the colonial government when it infringed on what they considered their traditional rights. The fur trade offered a more rugged alternative if the controls of society were too overbearing.
B3 Anglo-French Rivalry
As the colony developed, it was caught up in the imperial rivalries of England and France, which, in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, were locked in a struggle for worldwide control. Europe was one battlefield, North America another. The burgeoning English colonies along the Atlantic Ocean were hemmed in by Acadia and New France in the north and by French expansion in the Mississippi Valley. At the same time, the French felt themselves caught between the Hudson’s Bay Company, which dominated northern Canada, and the English colonies to the south. The inevitable conflict broke out in 1689 as King William’s War (the North American counterpart of the War of the Grand Alliance in Europe). After almost a decade of guerrilla warfare, the Peace of Ryswick (1697) merely confirmed the status quo, even returning Acadia, captured by the English, to the French.
This short-lived truce collapsed in 1702 with the outbreak of Queen Anne’s War (paralleling the European War of the Spanish Succession). In the course of the war, the British recaptured Acadia (1710), this time permanently. By the Treaty of Utrecht (1713), the French ceded Newfoundland and the Hudson Bay region as well. They retained Cape Breton Island and the Īle Saint-Jean (Prince Edward Island).
To compensate for their loss, the French in 1720 built a fortress at Louisbourg on the south-eastern tip of Cape Breton Island. This expensive endeavour was in vain, however. When hostilities recommenced in King George’s War (the North American counterpart of the War of the Austrian Succession), the fortress fell to a joint British-New England force in 1745. Louisbourg was returned to France by the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle (1748).
The succeeding French and Indian War (counterpart of the Seven Years’ War) was disastrous for France. France had attempted to strengthen its position in North America by refurbishing Louisbourg, building forts in the Ohio Valley, and arranging new Native American alliances. New France, however, with a population of roughly 60,000 and an indifferent, war-weary parent country, was weak. It could not uphold French imperialism against a British population of more than 1 million in the 13 American colonies, backed by the military and naval capacity of an expanding Britain. Anglo-French competition in the Ohio Valley sparked conflict in 1754. The next year the British, presuming that their French Acadian subjects were disloyal and urged by New Englanders fearing northern invasion, deported the Acadians to southern Louisiana. In 1758 a British expedition reconquered Louisbourg. A British army under the impulsive young James Wolfe won the crucial battle of the Plains of Abraham against the French, led by the experienced Marquis L. J. de Montcalm, and so gained Quebec. British land forces won control of the west, and the arrival of a British fleet led to the surrender of Montreal in 1760. The result, confirmed by the Treaty of Paris in 1763, was that New France came under British rule.
C British North America (1763-1867)
Under British rule, the population rapidly increased, and ethnic tensions developed.
C1 Shaping of a British Colony
British North America was formed more by historical chance than by design. In 1763 it consisted of four distinct regions. Three, long disputed with France, had been won in 1713. Newfoundland was considered merely a series of fishing stations even after settlement, until it became self-governing in the 19th century. The Hudson Bay region (Rupert’s Land and the adjoining Northwest Territories) was a wilderness where the Hudson’s Bay Company and small, aggressive Scottish companies such as the North West Company competed for the fur trade. Acadia, conquered to protect New England and renamed Nova Scotia, was populated largely with New Englanders to replace the exiled French. Its capital, Halifax, was founded in 1749. Annexed to Nova Scotia was Prince Edward Island, which became a separate colony in 1769.
The conquest of the fourth region, New France, or Quebec, placed the British, as rulers of French colonists, in something of a quandary. Eventually, two successive governors, James Murray and Sir Guy Carleton, finding that they could not govern effectively without the cooperation of the seigneurs, persuaded the Crown to guarantee the traditional language, civil law, and faith of its new subjects. This decision, embodied in the Quebec Act of 1774, ensured the cooperation of the seigneurs and the clergy with the new regime. Indeed, they stood by the government during the American War of Independence, although the habitants generally remained neutral. American troops captured Montreal in 1775 but, failing to take Quebec City or elicit local support, soon withdrew; the force was pursued by Carleton and defeated at Lake Champlain.
The success of the rebellious 13 American colonies left the British with the poorer remnants of their New World empire and the determination to prevent a second revolution. They had, however, to accommodate the roughly 50,000 loyalist refugees from the War of Independence who settled in Nova Scotia and the upper St Lawrence region. There these United Empire Loyalists soon began to agitate for the political and property rights they had previously enjoyed. In response to Loyalist demands, the Crown created New Brunswick out of Nova Scotia in 1784 and by the Constitutional Act of 1791 divided Quebec into Lower Canada (mostly French) and Upper Canada (mostly English from America).
In so doing, the Crown hoped to create a stable society that was distinctly non-American. Although French-Canadians retained the privileges granted by the Quebec Act, the Anglican Church received preferred status. An Anglo-French colonial aristocracy of rich merchants, leading officials, and landholders was expected to work with the royal governors to ensure proper order. Legislative assemblies, although elected by propertied voters, had little power. The threat of revolution, it appeared, had been banished.
This system worked well, at least for a generation. Despite the arrival of large numbers of land-hungry Americans, the aristocracy managed to dominate the society. Minor trouble arose after 1806 when a governor attempted to Anglicize Lower Canada, but he was able to quell dissent if not to achieve his goal. In the War of 1812, most Canadians, convinced that Americans were the aggressors, rallied to the British flag. Indeed, the militia aided the British army in the defence of Upper and Lower Canada. After the war, large-scale immigration of English, Scottish, and Irish settlers swelled the ranks of the English-speaking population.
C2 Agitation for Reform
The older order came under attack during the 1820s and collapsed before the forces of reform in the succeeding two decades. The underlying cause was the emergence in all the colonies of a middle class composed of business people (especially in the newly thriving timber and shipbuilding industries), lawyers and other professionals, and rich farmers. All resented the power and arrogance of the English-speaking, largely Anglican ruling class. Some, notably American immigrants, objected on political and economic grounds. Others, such as Methodists and Baptists in Upper Canada, French-Canadians in Lower Canada, and Irish Roman Catholics in Newfoundland, were opposed on the basis of religious or ethnic differences. The parallel development of political parties—pro-establishment Tories and anti-establishment reform groups—and an energetic press enabled the champions of reform to reach more and more people.
Some reformers were moderate, especially in the Maritime colonies—New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island—which had Loyalist populations. Others were radical. In Lower Canada, although the Roman Catholic Church supported moderates, the seigneur Louis Joseph Papineau led radicals in a nationalist agitation for ethnic autonomy. In Upper Canada, William Lyon Mackenzie, a Scot, led a demand for “responsible” (that is, representative) government. The radicals, frustrated by the opposition of Canadian Tories and the indifference of Britain, led the rebellions of 1837 in Upper and Lower Canada in that and the following year. The uprisings were swiftly quelled by the army and local militia. Suppression was particularly severe in Lower, or French, Canada.
Stirred by these events, the Crown appointed a liberal English aristocrat, John George Lambton, 1st Earl of Durham, the first Governor-General of all British North America, and ordered him to find a solution to colonial ills. Believing that the colonies must make economic progress, he recommended in the important Durham Report (1839) the reunification of Upper and Lower Canada, the Anglicization of the French-Canadians, and the creation of an executive responsible to the elected legislature. The next year the British parliament passed the Act of Union, which joined the two Canadas into the Province of Canada and gave each equal representation in the joint legislature. Responsible government was secured in 1849 after much agitation by moderate reformers. The French-Canadians held enough political power to retain their language and institutions, however.
C3 Progress and Tension During the 1840s and early 1850s colonial life underwent a general liberalization. Municipal corporations were organized, government-aided common schools were founded, prisons were reformed, and Anglican Church privileges and seigneurial tenure were abolished. Politics, once the domain of the elite, became the game of party politicians. Most important, the business community became dominant among conflicting interest groups. Its strength was reflected in the politics of the 1850s and 1860s, which often centred on economic issues such as the immigration of cheap labour, the building of railways, and commercial and industrial development. The last was much enlarged by the Reciprocity Treaty (1854-1866) with the United States.
Despite this progress, ethnic tensions re-emerged, especially in the two Canadas. Deep misunderstanding continued to separate urban, profit-minded British business people from largely rural French farmers and professionals concerned with maintaining tradition. The Protestant British in Upper Canada particularly disliked what they considered undue Roman Catholic French influence in local affairs. The French in Lower Canada resented English efforts to dominate and Anglicize the colony. In addition, a host of Irish Roman Catholics, fleeing famine in Ireland in the late 1840s, inspired much bigotry among Protestants. No coalition of parties was able to overcome these differences to win a stable majority, and by the mid-1860s the two Canadas were almost ungovernable. Furthermore, the American Civil War (1861-1865) seemed to threaten the survival of British North America. Colonists feared that a victorious North, angered by British businesses’ covert wartime support of the South, would retaliate by invading the British colonies (indeed, a few abortive Irish-American raids did take place).
Out of these concerns came a movement for the unification of the colonies of British North America. The initiators were three political leaders—George Étienne Cartier and John A. Macdonald of the Conservative party, successor to the Tories, and George Brown of the Liberal party, successor to the reformers—who formed a coalition government in 1864. The Charlottetown Conference, which advanced the cause of unification, was held on Prince Edward Island in September of that year; a second conference, which met in Quebec City in October, actually designed the Confederation. Many Maritimers objected, but Britain, hoping to strengthen its territory against US influences, gave its support. The Quebec resolutions, slightly modified, were passed by the British parliament as the British North America Act in March 1867 and proclaimed in Canada on July 1, 1867. It was the first time a colony had achieved devolved government without leaving the empire.
The new nation, called the Dominion of Canada, was a federation of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec (Lower Canada), and Ontario (Upper Canada). Prince Edward Island and the Island of Newfoundland refused to join. The Dominion continued to be subject to the full authority of the Crown. Indeed, political rights remained limited, because the cautious unionists wished to avoid what they saw as the perils of American democracy. The federal government, established in Ottawa, Ontario, consisted of an appointed Senate and an elected House of Commons with the power to tax and grant subsidies. The provincial governments, under federal supervision, were granted powers sufficient to develop their own resources and fashion their own social institutions. That division of powers, unionists hoped, would prevent the kind of sectional squabbles that had disrupted the American republic.
D Building a Nation (1867-1929) Confederation had created a nation of comparatively few people in a vast territory. According to the census of 1871, the Dominion’s population was 3.7 million (compared to about 40 million Americans in a smaller but more usable area). Of the total, about 1 million were French Roman Catholic, 850,000 Irish Roman Catholic and Protestant, and more than 1 million English and Scottish Protestants—all better known for mutual suspicion than for brotherly love. The remainder of the population was a mix of indigenous peoples, other European immigrants, blacks escaping slavery in the United States, and Chinese who were mostly railway construction workers. Three quarters of the population was rural. Only Montreal, Quebec, and Toronto could be considered big cities. A mere 4,185 km (2,600 mi) of railway linked the disparate provinces. The gross national product was US$459 million, with agriculture the leading occupation.
D1 Expansion Under Macdonald
Sir John Alexander Macdonald, elected Prime Minister in 1867, immediately took up the task of building a nation. Astutely, he began with a coalition government that drew support from all provinces and interests, although it soon became Conservative in cast. He extended Canada’s domain north and west by purchasing Rupert’s Land and the North-Western Territory from the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1870, largely to block possible American expansion (British exploration of the Arctic Archipelago also ensured Canadian title to those islands). This move aroused the existing inhabitants, mostly of mixed European and indigenous extraction, and especially the French-speaking Metis, who considered themselves a distinct nation. Both English- and French-speaking inhabitants were worried by the threatened incursion of Ontario settlers. The Metis, led by Montreal-educated Louis Riel, revolted. The government negotiated an end to this first Northwest Rebellion through their mediator Donald Smith, by agreeing to create the province of Manitoba in 1870, wherein political power and school policy were supposed to reflect the French and English duality.
Expanding Canada still further, Macdonald added British Columbia (1871) and Prince Edward Island (1873). The former had been explored by Spanish and British naval expeditions in the 18th century. It was opened to the fur trade through the efforts of Sir Alexander Mackenzie and others and then, in the 1860s, flooded by European and American prospectors in search of gold. The colony joined the Canadian Confederation on Macdonald’s promise of a federally financed railway to connect it to the east. Indeed, railways were necessary to bind the nation together. The government funded the Intercolonial Railway to the Maritimes and contracted with Sir Hugh Allan, an entrepreneur with US financial backing, for the difficult and costly task of building a railway across the prairies and the Rockies to the coast. In 1873 it emerged that the US backers were planning to build the route partly through the United States, in order to make Canadian trade dependent on US interests and bring the prairies within the political influence of the United States. The “Pacific Scandal” brought down the government and produced a Liberal victory in the election of 1874.
D2 A National Policy
The Liberal triumph, however, was short-lived. The onset of an economic depression, which the Liberals, under Alexander Mackenzie, were unable to check, soon rehabilitated Macdonald. He was re-elected in 1878 on the promise of a “National Policy” to make Canada economically self-sufficient. Presuming an alliance of business and government, he set out to construct an east-west market with an industrial heartland in Quebec and Ontario and an agricultural frontier in the prairies. Over the next 13 years he imposed a tariff on imports to foster industry and encouraged prairie settlement, which was finally made possible by completion of the railway in 1885. An engineering, financial, and political achievement of the first rank, the Canadian Pacific Railway was the crucial element that made the establishment and maintenance of a transcontinental nation possible. It also, however, finally made possible the extensive settlement (so long delayed by geographical obstacles) which in the United States had caused such bitter violence and the near extermination of the indigenous peoples. The prospect of the railway’s imminent completion in 1885 provoked the Metis and some indigenous groups to join in the second North West Rebellion, on the Saskatchewan River. This uprising was crushed by the army, which was rushed to the scene on the new railway; Riel was hanged for his part in the uprising. His execution enraged sympathetic French-Canadians, inflaming the ethnic tensions that, together with provincial demands for more power, had already weakened the Macdonald government.
During these years, the Dominion underwent considerable social change. In the vast new western lands the surviving indigenous peoples were being forced on to reservations as a result of government treaties offering them money, supplies, and farming aid in exchange for their hunting grounds (British Columbia excepted). On the whole, however, the government’s balancing of the interests of indigenous peoples and settlers was more even-handed than in the United States. This was helped by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police who, not subject to election like their US counterparts, were perceived to be more impartial in their enforcement of the law.
In the east, despite a long depression, cities and industry grew rapidly, producing an urban working class. In response, churches, schools, newspapers, and department stores emerged as institutions to serve the new public. Ethnic differences notwithstanding, the middle-class citizenry embarked on a moral crusade to “Victorianize” society, that is, to defeat the liquor traffic, protect the sabbath, eliminate prostitution and gambling, ban “impure” literature, and improve the moral education of schoolchildren. The United States, struggling with similar difficulties, did not seem to be so successful in surmounting them. Gradually, the image of a pure Canada and an immoral United States became fixed in the national mind.
D3 The Laurier Years
The death of Macdonald in 1891 left the Conservatives without an effective leader. The election of 1896 was won by the Liberals, led by the French-Canadian lawyer Wilfrid Laurier. A period of prosperity ensued as he carried forward Macdonald’s national policy. Protective tariffs supported rapid industrial expansion. A host of immigrants was attracted from Britain and central and eastern Europe and from the United States, where available land was running out. The prairies were finally settled, with Alberta and Saskatchewan becoming provinces in 1905. Two further transcontinental railways were built (1914, terminating at Prince Rupert on the northern Pacific coast, and 1915, terminating at Vancouver) with public funds to serve the prairie granary. Private entrepreneurs with provincial aid extended railways to northern Ontario and Quebec, where gold, silver, and base metals were discovered.
Laurier also won notice as a stalwart champion of Canadian rights against the United States in a dispute (1903) over the Alaskan boundary, which cut north-western Canada off from the Pacific. He preserved Canadian autonomy by skilfully managing to limit its involvement in British imperialist expansion during the South African Wars (1899-1902).
The business community benefited most from the Laurier years. Indeed, by 1911 railway development, industrial growth, and corporate mergers had produced a powerful big-business sector. Some Canadians, however, worried about the social costs of rapid growth, began to attack the supposed evils of plutocratic rule. The spread of slums and disease in overcrowded cities led to demands for government action to improve public health, welfare, and morality. Reformers agitated for the modernization of government and its services, paralleling similar reform movements of other industrialized countries. A new women’s movement campaigned for prohibition, equal rights, and women’s suffrage. Other Canadians feared that their way of life was being threatened by alien influences. One such influence was the nearly 600,000 “New Canadian” immigrants from central and southern Europe, many of them Slavic. The other was the steady Americanization of Canada through heavy industrial investment, the domination of the trade unions by the American Federation of Labor, and the enormous popularity of American culture in the cities of English Canada.
In addition to these new discontents, the old ethnic frictions were exacerbated. Objecting to the establishment of a single English school system in Manitoba (1890) and the new provinces, and to even limited Canadian military support of Britain, French-Canadians began again to agitate for autonomy. Consequently, when Laurier negotiated a new reciprocal trade agreement with the United States that seemed to increase American influence, both French-Canadian and business interests defeated him in the election of 1911.
D4 World War I and Its Effects Robert Laird Borden, the new Conservative prime minister, was responsive to reform demands but soon found his government’s energies absorbed by World War I. The Canadian war effort was impressive. The population of 8 million spent US$1.67 billion. It sent 425,000 Canadians overseas, at first under British command but by 1917 under Canadian, and lost about 60,000 troops in such actions as Vimy Ridge and Passchendaele. As a result, in foreign affairs Canada’s autonomy was expressed by its independent participation in the Paris Peace Conference. On the domestic scene, however, the war effort had undermined national unity. The French-Canadians had bitterly opposed Borden’s decision to implement war conscription, and to counteract this Borden had attempted to forge a merger of the Conservative and Liberal parties. This joint government eventually split into two factions, the mostly English-speaking Unionists and the French-speaking Liberals. The Unionists dominated the election in 1917, winning every province but Quebec.
The Union government granted women’s suffrage in 1918 and briefly passed prohibition measures banning alcoholic drinks. It could not, however, handle post-war problems. The government, struggling under war debt, was further burdened by the acquisition of bankrupt railways, including the two subsidized by Laurier. All these were amalgamated as the Canadian National Railways in 1923. Wartime inflation followed by peacetime depression heightened class tensions. Winnipeg was crippled by a general strike in 1919, raising fears of a Communist takeover. Farmers in Ontario and the west, caught between the high cost of manufactured goods and declining wheat prices, revolted against the established parties. They formed the new National Progressive Party, which swept the Prairie provinces in the election of 1921. The Progressives gave limited support to the Liberals, enabling them to form a minority government.
D5 The Prosperous 1920s The 1920s were, by contrast, a time of healing. Prosperity returned, principally in the cities, attracting ambitious rural youth escaping farm drudgery or seeking new economic opportunity. The latter was based on a third wave of industrial development, especially of mineral and forest products from the north. Reflecting this economic upturn, the labour movement declined; farmers turned from political action to economic cooperatives; and business people regained their prestige. People spent more on personal items such as cars and radios, setting off a retail boom. The moral rigour of the previous generation relaxed, as manifested by the popularity of hockey, horse racing, and other organized sports; the rising sales of alcohol and tobacco; and the enthusiasm for American films and radio programmes.
The new Liberal prime minister, the Ontario labour expert William Lyon Mackenzie King, benefited from the new mood of confidence and ease as he strove to unify the nation. He insisted that Canada determine its own domestic and foreign policies as an equal of Britain, a right recognized at the Imperial Conference of 1926 and confirmed in 1931 by the British Statute of Westminster. His defence of Canadian autonomy was popular with both French-Canadians and Western Canadians. He partly satisfied farmers by mildly reducing the tariff, won business support by cautious budgeting, and even earned praise from reformers for passage of an Old Age Pension Act (1927). The Conservatives were in a minority, and the Progressives were in decline.
E Pursuit of Well-Being (1929-1957) After the prosperity of the 1920s, Canada underwent depression and war and emerged into another era of material progress.
E1 The Depression In four years the worldwide Great Depression shook the foundations of the nation. The gross national product fell from a high of US$6.1 billion in 1929 to a low of US$3.5 billion in 1933. The value of industrial production was halved. In 1933 about 20 per cent of the workforce was unemployed. The drought-stricken western provinces were particularly hard hit as grain prices toppled from US$1.60 a bushel in 1928 to US$0.28 in 1932. Total exports dropped by about US$600 million, a disaster for a country so dependent on foreign markets. The consequence was a shift in the government’s priority from nation-building to the pursuit of social well-being—the security, health, and comfort of the mass of people.
Canadians quickly turned to politics for a solution. Rejecting Mackenzie King, they chose the dynamic Conservative lawyer Richard Bennett, who promised swift action. He increased payments to the provinces to support the unemployed who by 1933 numbered one third of the population. He dramatically raised tariffs to protect industry and force concessions from foreign countries, and at the Imperial Economic Conference at Ottawa in 1932 he arranged preferential trade agreements with Britain and other Commonwealth countries. He enlarged the sphere of government by creating the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission (1932), the centralized Bank of Canada (1934), and a Wheat Board (1935). The economy did not recover, however, and the government lost prestige. In 1935 Bennett announced a more radical reform package similar to the American New Deal: unemployment insurance, a reduced working week, employment programmes such as “environmental restoration”, a minimum wage, industrial codes, and permanent economic planning.
The new policy did not save the Conservatives, however. Many voters turned to three small new parties, which promised solutions to the depression—the Reconstruction Party, a Conservative offshoot; the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF), a socialist group; and the Social Credit Party, a right-wing radical movement based in Alberta. Almost by default, Mackenzie King and the Liberals won the election of 1935.
Mackenzie King dropped Bennett’s New Deal package, which was eventually declared unconstitutional in 1937 by the British Privy Council, then the final court of appeal. He did, however, make a new Reciprocity Treaty (1936) with the United States, convert the radio commission into the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and fully nationalize the Bank of Canada. Fending off provincial demands for money to support relief programmes, he instituted the Rowell-Sirois Royal Commission (1937), which recommended federal responsibility for many provincial social services and a more even distribution of revenue.
E2 The War Years
The start of World War II helped save Mackenzie King’s government and the Canadian economy. Although Canada had followed an isolationist policy in the 1930s, when Britain went to war in 1939, Canada joined the anti-Axis coalition. At first the government concentrated mainly on economic contributions of food, raw materials, and goods, thereby avoiding the conscription so odious to French-Canadians. The German invasion of France in 1940, however, forced Canadians to accept the realities of total war.
Taking command of the economy, the Liberal government set up boards to regulate resources and industry, wages and prices, and a rationing system. In 1944 it approved labour’s right to collective bargaining. Most important, it agreed to a large army, which required conscription. Again, the war effort was impressive: Expenditure amounted to US$21 billion by 1950. Out of a population of 12 million, about 1.5 million men and women served, 41,700 of whom died in action in Europe and the Pacific.
During the war the government planned a peacetime society that would ensure the well-being of the populace according to the recommendations of the Rowell-Sirois Commission, similar to the welfare state being planned for post-war Britain. One key element was a minimum social-welfare package to establish a basic living standard. It consisted of unemployment insurance (1940), family allowance payments (1944), generous veterans’ benefits, improved old-age pensions, subsidized housing, and various health plans. The other key element was an economic programme to foster full employment with a minimum of inflation. After the war the government dismantled industrial controls, encouraged foreign trade, and stemmed the tide of post-war inflation.
After a total of 22 years as Prime Minister, Mackenzie King retired in 1948, to be succeeded by Louis St Laurent, a Quebec lawyer. St Laurent led the Liberals to an overwhelming victory in 1949, indicating national approval of the Liberal design for Canada. Another sign of approval was the decision of Newfoundland, including Labrador, to become a Canadian province. This union, in 1949, completed the Confederation.
E3 Post-War Prosperity The success of the Liberal design and the continued rule of the Liberal Party were ensured by an enormous post-war economic boom. New oil supplies in Alberta and new iron-ore reserves in Ungava (in northern Quebec) and Labrador were discovered during the late 1940s. In the next decade uranium resources were developed in northern Ontario, and hydroelectric power stations were built across the country. Manufacturing expanded and diversified, increasing in gross value from US$8 billion in 1946 to US$22 billion in 1953. The government encouraged modernization of the transport networks. The Trans-Canada Highway, a federal-provincial project, was begun in 1949. Trans-Canada Airways, a Crown corporation founded in 1938, expanded. In 1956 the privately owned Trans-Canada Pipeline was approved to carry oil and gas from Alberta to Canadian and American markets. The boom was further fuelled by the arrival of some 1.5 million immigrants, chiefly British and other Europeans, who provided cheap labour and a body of new consumers.
The GNP rose from US$12 billion in 1946 to more than US$30 billion in 1957. The trade unions made economic gains for their members. In 1956 the two largest, the Canadian Congress of Labour and the Trades and Labour Congress, merged into the Canadian Labour Congress, which became a potent force in political and economic life. Much of this economic expansion, however, depended on heavy American investment in Canadian natural resources and American control of much Canadian manufacturing.
E4 New Foreign Ties Canada’s post-war affluence enhanced its status in a world of devastated European countries and less developed African and Asian lands. The government was especially active in foreign aid. In 1950 it joined the Colombo Plan for assisting less developed members of the Commonwealth.
As the old ties with Britain slowly dissolved, Canada came gradually into the political orbit of the United States. In 1940 Mackenzie King and US president Franklin D. Roosevelt had signed the Ogdensburg Agreement providing for permanent joint planning of North American defence. After the war, Canada’s foreign policy was closely linked to the US concern with containing Communist expansion. In 1949 Canada approved NATO, guaranteeing the defence of Europe under US leadership. It sent troops to the largely American-staffed UN army during the Korean War (1950-1953). In 1956, at the time of the Anglo-French occupation of the Suez Canal, it proposed, with American approval, a UN Emergency Force to preserve a new truce in the Middle East. This action further cemented Canada’s independence from Britain, as it did not back Britain’s action in the Middle East. Canada also negotiated the North American Air (now Aerospace) Defense Command (NORAD, 1958), confirming shared responsibility for North American defence. Thus, relations between the United States and Canada became, to the Canadian mind, as significant and intertwined as had been the ties with Britain.
F A Time of Troubles (1957- ) Beginning in the late 1950s, a series of intractable problems emerged to threaten the very survival of Canada. Affluence and Liberalism had undermined the nation’s traditional supports: the connection with Britain, a decentralized federalism, the accommodation of French- and English-Canadian ambitions, and social conservatism.
The 1957 election of the Conservative leader John Diefenbaker ended 22 years of Liberal rule in Ottawa. The next year his government won a sweeping parliamentary majority.
F1 Turmoil of the 1960s A surge of social criticism, particularly among the young, challenged existing authority during the 1960s. The old CCF was reborn in 1961 as the pro-labour New Democratic Party (NDP), intent on creating a social democracy in Canada. A wave of anti-Americanism led many artists and intellectuals in English Canada to attack all signs of US economic and cultural power. The most serious problem resulted from the revival of French-Canadian nationalism. After 1960 a new Liberal government in Quebec sponsored a “Quiet Revolution” to modernize institutions, demand autonomy, and enhance the French-Canadian presence in economic life.
In Ottawa, Diefenbaker was unable to govern the country effectively, and his party was beaten in the election of 1963 by the revitalized Liberals led by Lester Pearson, a former diplomat. Pearson’s minority government was responsive to the public mood. It unified the armed forces under a single command, revamped the broadcasting system, and laid the foundation for medical care for all citizens (which went into effect in 1969). The government also implemented “cooperative federalism” to allow Quebec and other provinces a greater say in national affairs. Even so, some nationalists turned to new separatist organizations, notably the Parti Québécois (PQ), founded in 1968 by René Lévesque.
F2 The Trudeau Era
In the 1968 election the policies and personality of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, a French-Canadian, brought the Liberals a majority. Trudeau, who dominated national politics for some 15 years, elaborated a new vision of Canada. His government strengthened cultural policies to promote the media and subsidized Canadian participation in international sports events to provide a new focus for national pride. Trudeau liberalized immigration practices, over time attracting more Asian and Central and South American newcomers to Canada, and implemented the idea of multiculturalism, encouraging the persistence of distinct ethnic identities among the population. The government greatly expanded payments to the underprivileged, the young, and the aged in an effort to realize a social democracy in the European style.
Much of Trudeau’s personal attention was focused on preserving national unity. His government passed the Official Languages Act (1969), which affirmed the equality of French and English in all governmental activities. In October 1970 he used martial law to impose order on Quebec after the separatist Front de Libération du Québec had seized a provincial Cabinet minister and a British consul.
In foreign policy, an effort was made to forge links with Europe and Asia that might counterbalance the ties to the United States. The government also flirted with economic nationalism, establishing the Foreign Investment Review Agency (1974).
A serious blow was struck against the federal government with the victory of the PQ in Quebec in 1976, and the implementation of a provincial law giving the French language preference there. The Liberals lost the May 1979 election to the Progressive Conservatives, led by Joseph Clark. He, however, was unable to form a stable majority in Parliament, and Trudeau returned to power in February 1980. In May the federal government triumphed in a provincial referendum on Quebec sovereignty, with about 60 per cent of Quebec voters rejecting independence. Trudeau was also finally able to get the English-speaking provinces to agree to a new constitution, which was proclaimed in 1982; Quebec, however, did not approve the constitution.
His efforts to remake Canada, however, had run into increasing difficulties. Provincial governments, especially in the west, were often angered by the centralizing ambitions of Ottawa. Business bitterly criticized the government’s economic policies. Many English-Canadians resented bilingualism and the signs of French power in Ottawa. Above all, government spending produced an unrelieved series of budget deficits, which reached US$38.5 billion in 1984-1985 and resulted in a US$233 billion national debt by 1986.
F3 The Conservative Reaction When Trudeau retired in June 1984, John Napier Turner became Prime Minister. In the September parliamentary elections the Conservatives, led by Brian Mulroney, easily won office and soon embarked on policies designed to undo Trudeau’s vision of Canada.
Inspired by US president Ronald Reagan and British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, the government tried to reduce the deficits, cut back on social and cultural policies, rebuild ties with business, and even privatize government enterprises. The most dramatic shift occurred in 1988 when Mulroney and Reagan signed a free-trade agreement. In the 1988 election Mulroney, strongly supported by business but bitterly opposed by English-Canadian nationalists, managed to eke out a win as candidates opposed to free trade split the vote. The benefits of free trade were undone by a combination of an overvalued Canadian dollar, corporate restructuring, a new goods and services tax (1991), and a severe recession that led to a decline in domestic manufacturing, a massive loss of jobs, and cross-border shopping by Canadians. In 1993 the Canadian government signed a further agreement with the United States and Mexico to create a free-trade zone. The North American Free Trade Agreement came into effect January 1, 1994.
An even more serious concern was the collapse of national unity. In a 1987 meeting at Meech Lake, Quebec, national and provincial leaders had approved a series of constitutional amendments that would satisfy Quebec’s demand for recognition as a “distinct society” within the Canadian confederation. Although Mulroney worked hard to win over the provinces, English-Canadians objected to the Meech Lake Accord and it was not ratified by Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador in 1990. This failure sparked a major separatist revival in Quebec, and led to another round of meetings in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, in 1991 and 1992. These negotiations culminated in the drafting of the Charlottetown Accord, a blueprint for extensive changes to the constitution, including self-government for indigenous peoples, a restructuring of parliament to achieve better representation, and recognition of Quebec as a distinct society. Although supported by most leaders in politics, the press, and business, the agreement was defeated in a national referendum in October 1992, in part because of disenchantment with politicians and Mulroney himself.
A government agreement to create a vast self-governing homeland for the Inuit people in the Northwest Territories was approved by Canadian voters at large in May 1992 and by the Inuit in November of that year. The homeland, called Nunavut (Inuktitut for “our land”), came into existence with territorial status from 1999. In February 1993, with Canada mired in recession and discord, Mulroney announced his resignation as Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader. Kim Campbell replaced him as head of the party in June, becoming Canada’s first woman prime minister. Just four months later, however, Campbell and her party, the Progressive Conservatives, were routed from office in the October election. The Liberals won 177 seats in Parliament, while the Conservatives dropped from 154 seats to 2 in the worst defeat for a governing political party in Canada’s history. The head of the Liberal Party, Jean Chrétien, was sworn in as Prime Minister on November 4, 1993.
In the election, the Quebec electorate split largely along ethnic lines: the popular vote was almost tied, but the PQ emerged with a majority of the seats. After the election, the PQ initiated a series of regional commissions throughout the province in an effort to rally popular sentiment around the cause of independence. However, although the public had voted for the PQ in the election, the majority appeared to favour remaining in Canada. The PQ, recognizing that a referendum would probably fail, announced in March 1995 that it would postpone the vote.
In October 1995 the referendum on independence from Canada was finally held in Quebec; more than 90 per cent of the Quebec electorate participated, voting to remain in the federation by around 1 per cent. Inuit voters in northern Quebec, polled separately, voted by 95 per cent against independence. The premier of Quebec and PQ leader Jacques Parizeau resigned, after making widely criticized remarks blaming the referendum defeat on “ethnics”, to be succeeded in both posts by the charismatic Lucien Bouchard. Prime Minister Chrétien announced decentralization and other initiatives designed to appease Quebec’s separatists, and in January 1996 he also took more ministers from Quebec into his government.
The Liberal Party retained five seats in six by-elections held in March. Deputy Prime Minister Sheila Copps resigned in May, after the Liberal government had broken promises made in the 1993 election campaign. She was returned to government and her previous post after a successful result in a by-election in June. A Royal Commission of inquiry into the well-being of Canada’s indigenous population, who comprise about 3 per cent of the total, published its report in November. Parliament was dissolved in April 1997, and a general election called for June 2, in which the Liberal Party, under Chrétien, won a second term. The Liberal majority was smaller, polling 38 per cent of the vote, and winning 155 seats. The opposition vote was notably fragmented, with five different parties achieving success.
A further attempt was made to address the position of Quebec within Canada, when the leaders of all the provinces and territories apart from Quebec (which boycotted the talks) met in Calgary and produced a statement, the Calgary Declaration (September 14, 1997), recognizing the “unique character” of Quebec’s francophone society. This phrase was felt to be more acceptable than “distinct society”, the formula which had proved to be the stumbling block that had prevented the ratification of both the Meech Lake and Charlottetown accords. In December 1997 the Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling allowing that two native groups had aboriginal title to 57,000 sq km (22,000 sq mi) of ancestral lands in northern British Columbia.
In January 1998 the government issued a formal apology on behalf of the federal government for the treatment of Indian and Inuit peoples by European settlers since the 15th century. Six months after hearings began on the issue of Quebec’s secession from Canada, the Supreme Court ruled in August 1998 that the province was prohibited from declaring itself independent without first negotiating an agreement with both the federal government and all nine other provinces.
After decades of negotiations and planning, the Arctic territory of Nunavut came into being on April 1, 1999. It covers almost one fifth of Canada’s land area, comprises nearly 2,000,000 sq km (772,000 sq mi), and has a population of 27,219 (85 per cent of whom are Inuit). In December 1999 Canada’s House of Commons voted in favour of a treaty to grant the Nisga’a indigenous group powers of self-government, granting title to land in north-western British Columbia as well as allowing them the right to levy taxes and pass laws.