Canada is the second largest country in the world after Russia. However, its population is only about one-fifth of Russias.
Nearly 90% of Canadians live within 200km of the border with the United States, which means that Canada contains vast expanses of wilderness to the north.
The relationship to its powerful neighbor is a defining factor for Canada. The US and Canada are both each other’s largest trading partner.
The North American Free Trade Agreement, involving Canada, the US and Mexico, has brought a trade boom for Canada. But thorny issues abound. American moves which impact on Canadian exports, in the form of tariffs on Canadian timber and increased subsidies for US farmers, have created particular tension.
Vancouver rates as one of the worlds most livable cities
Canada is also worried about pollution from US factories near the border, and about the possible impact on the environment of the exploitation of oil deposits in Alaska.
- Politics: Canada gradually emerged as a federation of former British colonies, and the provinces retain extensive powers. It follows the British pattern of parliamentary democracy, and the UK monarch is head of state, represented by a largely ceremonial governor-general. French-speaking Quebec has wide-ranging cultural and linguistic autonomy.
- Economics: Canada punches well above its population size in economic terms, and is one of the worlds top trading nations. While the service sector dominates, Canada also has vast oil reserves and is a major exporter of energy, food and minerals. Close economic integration exists with the US, but Asian markets are growing in importance.
- International: Canada often cooperates closely with the US, but does go its own way sometimes. Strong historical ties to the UK remain, while Quebec looks towards France. Canada often plays a major role in UN peacekeeping missions.
Canada pursues a foreign policy that is distinct from that of the US. The country has committed troops to the American-led war on terror, but does not back the US trade embargo on Cuba. Canada did not send troops to join the US-led war in Iraq.
After the 11 September 2001 attacks in the US, the challenge of securing the 9,000-km Canada-US border from possible terrorist infiltration prompted both countries to look at ways of sharing information.
Canada is home to one of the best school systems in the world. From elementary school to university, language schools to vocational programs, Canadian schools accommodate students of all interests and backgrounds. Individuals who study in Canada receive quality, internationally-respected educations that prepare them for future professional pursuits. This is combined with cost of tuition and living fees that are generally lower than in other developed countries. For student visa, please visit our Canda study link.