Alberta is a western province of Canada. With an estimated population of 4,067,175 as of 2016 census, it is Canada's fourth most populous province and the most populous of Canada's three prairie provinces, its area is about 660,000 square kilometres. Alberta and its neighbour Saskatchewan were districts of the Northwest Territories until they were established as provinces on September 1, 1905; the premier has been Rachel Notley since May 2015. Alberta is bounded by the provinces of British Columbia to the west and Saskatchewan to the east, the Northwest Territories to the north, the U. S. state of Montana to the south. Alberta is one of three Canadian provinces and territories to border only a single U. S. state and one of only two landlocked provinces. It has a predominantly humid continental climate, with stark contrasts over a year. Alberta's capital, Edmonton, is near the geographic centre of the province and is the primary supply and service hub for Canada's crude oil, the Athabasca oil sands and other northern resource industries.
About 290 km south of the capital is the largest city in Alberta. Calgary and Edmonton centre Alberta's two census metropolitan areas, both of which have populations exceeding one million, while the province has 16 census agglomerations. Tourist destinations in the province include Banff, Drumheller, Sylvan Lake and Lake Louise. Alberta is named after the fourth daughter of Queen Victoria. Princess Louise was the wife of Marquess of Lorne, Governor General of Canada. Lake Louise and Mount Alberta were named in her honour. Alberta, with an area of 661,848 km2, is the fourth-largest province after Quebec and British Columbia. To the south, the province borders on the 49th parallel north, separating it from the U. S. state of Montana, while to the north the 60th parallel north divides it from the Northwest Territories. To the east, the 110th meridian west separates it from the province of Saskatchewan, while on the west its boundary with British Columbia follows the 120th meridian west south from the Northwest Territories at 60°N until it reaches the Continental Divide at the Rocky Mountains, from that point follows the line of peaks marking the Continental Divide in a southeasterly direction until it reaches the Montana border at 49°N.
The province extends 660 km east to west at its maximum width. Its highest point is 3,747 m at the summit of Mount Columbia in the Rocky Mountains along the southwest border while its lowest point is 152 m on the Slave River in Wood Buffalo National Park in the northeast. With the exception of the semi-arid steppe of the south-eastern section, the province has adequate water resources. There are numerous lakes used for swimming, fishing and a range of water sports. There are three large lakes, Lake Claire in Wood Buffalo National Park, Lesser Slave Lake, Lake Athabasca which lies in both Alberta and Saskatchewan; the longest river in the province is the Athabasca River which travels 1,538 km from the Columbia Icefield in the Rocky Mountains to Lake Athabasca. The largest river is the Peace River with an average flow of 2161 m3/s; the Peace River originates in the Rocky Mountains of northern British Columbia and flows through northern Alberta and into the Slave River, a tributary of the Mackenzie River.
Alberta's capital city, Edmonton, is located at about the geographic centre of the province. It is the most northerly major city in Canada, serves as a gateway and hub for resource development in northern Canada; the region, with its proximity to Canada's largest oil fields, has most of western Canada's oil refinery capacity. Calgary is about 280 km south of Edmonton and 240 km north of Montana, surrounded by extensive ranching country. 75% of the province's population lives in the Calgary–Edmonton Corridor. The land grant policy to the railroads served as a means to populate the province in its early years. Most of the northern half of the province is boreal forest, while the Rocky Mountains along the southwestern boundary are forested; the southern quarter of the province is prairie, ranging from shortgrass prairie in the southeastern corner to mixed grass prairie in an arc to the west and north of it. The central aspen parkland region extending in a broad arc between the prairies and the forests, from Calgary, north to Edmonton, east to Lloydminster, contains the most fertile soil in the province and most of the population.
Much of the unforested part of Alberta is given over either to grain or to dairy farming, with mixed farming more common in the north and centre, while ranching and irrigated agriculture predominate in the south. The Alberta badlands are located in southeastern Alberta, where the Red Deer River crosses the flat prairie and farmland, features deep canyons and striking landforms. Dinosaur Provincial Park, near Brooks, showcases the badlands terrain, desert flora, remnants from Alberta's past when dinosaurs roamed the lush landscape. Alberta has a humid continental climate with cold winters; the province is open to cold arctic weather systems from the north, which produce cold conditions in winter. As the fronts between the air masses shift north and south across Alberta, the temperature can change rapidly. Arctic
Parliament of Canada
The Parliament of Canada is the federal legislature of Canada, seated at Parliament Hill in Ottawa, the national capital. The body consists of the Canadian monarch, represented by the Governor General; each element has its own officers and organization. By constitutional convention, the House of Commons is dominant, with the Senate and monarch opposing its will; the Senate reviews legislation from a less partisan standpoint and the monarch or viceroy provides royal assent to make bills into law. The Governor General summons and appoints the 105 senators on the advice of the Prime Minister, while the 338 members of the House of Commons—called members of parliament —each represent an electoral district referred to as a riding, are directly elected by Canadian voters; the Governor General summons Parliament, while either the viceroy or monarch can prorogue or dissolve Parliament, the latter in order to call a general election. Either will read the Throne Speech; the most recent Parliament, summoned by Governor General David Johnston in 2015, is the 42nd since Confederation.
The Parliament of Canada is composed of three parts: the monarch, the Senate, the House of Commons. Each work in conjunction within the legislative process; this format was inherited from the United Kingdom and is a near-identical copy of the parliament at Westminster, the greatest differences stemming from situations unique to Canada, such as the impermanent nature of the monarch's residency in the country and the lack of a peerage to form the upper chamber. Only those who sit in the House of Commons are called members of parliament. Though legislatively less powerful, senators take higher positions in the national order of precedence. No individual may serve in more than one chamber at the same time; the sovereign's place in the legislature, formally called the Queen-in-Parliament, is defined by the Constitution Act, 1867, various conventions. Neither she nor her viceroy, participates in the legislative process, save for signifying the Queen's approval to a bill passed by both houses of parliament, known as the granting of Royal Assent, necessary for a bill to be enacted as law.
All federal bills thus begin with the phrase "Now, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows..." and, as such, the Crown is immune from acts of parliament unless expressed otherwise in the act itself. The governor general will perform the task of granting Royal Assent, though the monarch may do so, at the request of either the Cabinet or the viceroy, who may defer assent to the sovereign as per the constitution; as both the monarch and his or her representatives are traditionally barred from the House of Commons, any parliamentary ceremonies in which they are involved take place in the Senate chamber. The upper and lower houses do, each contain a mace, which indicates the authority of the Queen-in-Parliament and the privilege granted to that body by her, both bearing a crown at their apex; the original mace for the Senate was that used in the Legislative Council of the Province of Canada after 1849, while that of the House of Commons was inherited from the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada, first used in 1845.
Following the burning of the Centre Block on 3 February 1916, the City of London, donated a replacement, still used today. The temporary mace, made of wood, used until the new one arrived from the United Kingdom in 1917, is still carried into the Senate each 3 February; the Senate's 1.6-metre-long mace comprises gold. The Senate may not sit. Members of the two houses of parliament must express their loyalty to the sovereign and defer to her authority, as the Oath of Allegiance must be sworn by all new parliamentarians before they may take their seats. Further, the official opposition is formally called Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition, to signify that, though they may be opposed to the incumbent Cabinet's policies, they remain dedicated to the apolitical Crown; the upper house of the Parliament of Canada, the Senate, is a group of 105 individuals appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister. Senators served for life until 1965, when a constitutional amendment imposed a mandatory retirement age of 75.
Senators may, resign their seats prior to that mark, can lose their position should they fail to attend two consecutive sessions of parliament. The Senate is divided amongst four geographic regions: 24 for Ontario, 24 for Quebec, 24 for the Maritimes, 24 for the Western provinces. Newfoundland and Labrador, which became a Canadian province in 1949, is represented by six senators, is not part of a senatorial division. Further, Canada's three territories—the Northwest Territories and Nunavut—are allocated one senator each. An additio
Quebec is one of the thirteen provinces and territories of Canada. It is bordered to the west by the province of Ontario and the bodies of water James Bay and Hudson Bay. S. states of Maine, New Hampshire and New York. It shares maritime borders with Nunavut, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia. Quebec is Canada's largest province by its second-largest administrative division, it is and politically considered to be part of Central Canada. Quebec is the second-most populous province of Canada, after Ontario, it is the only one to have a predominantly French-speaking population, with French as the sole provincial official language. Most inhabitants live in urban areas near the Saint Lawrence River between Montreal and Quebec City, the capital. Half of Quebec residents live in the Greater Montreal Area, including the Island of Montreal. English-speaking communities and English-language institutions are concentrated in the west of the island of Montreal but are significantly present in the Outaouais, Eastern Townships, Gaspé regions.
The Nord-du-Québec region, occupying the northern half of the province, is sparsely populated and inhabited by Aboriginal peoples. The climate around the major cities is four-seasons continental with cold and snowy winters combined with warm to hot humid summers, but farther north long winter seasons dominate and as a result the northern areas of the province are marked by tundra conditions. In central Quebec, at comparatively southerly latitudes, winters are severe in inland areas. Quebec independence debates have played a large role in the politics of the province. Parti Québécois governments held referendums on sovereignty in 1980 and 1995. Although neither passed, the 1995 referendum saw the highest voter turnout in Quebec history, at over 93%, only failed by less than 1%. In 2006, the House of Commons of Canada passed a symbolic motion recognizing the "Québécois as a nation within a united Canada". While the province's substantial natural resources have long been the mainstay of its economy, sectors of the knowledge economy such as aerospace and communication technologies and the pharmaceutical industry play leading roles.
These many industries have all contributed to helping Quebec become an economically influential province within Canada, second only to Ontario in economic output. The name "Québec", which comes from the Algonquin word kébec meaning "where the river narrows" referred to the area around Quebec City where the Saint Lawrence River narrows to a cliff-lined gap. Early variations in the spelling of the name included Kébec. French explorer Samuel de Champlain chose the name Québec in 1608 for the colonial outpost he would use as the administrative seat for the French colony of New France; the province is sometimes referred to as "La belle province". The Province of Quebec was founded in the Royal Proclamation of 1763 after the Treaty of Paris formally transferred the French colony of Canada to Britain after the Seven Years' War; the proclamation restricted the province to an area along the banks of the Saint Lawrence River. The Quebec Act of 1774 expanded the territory of the province to include the Great Lakes and the Ohio River Valley and south of Rupert's Land, more or less restoring the borders existing under French rule before the Conquest of 1760.
The Treaty of Paris ceded territories south of the Great Lakes to the United States. After the Constitutional Act of 1791, the territory was divided between Lower Canada and Upper Canada, with each being granted an elected legislative assembly. In 1840, these become Canada East and Canada West after the British Parliament unified Upper and Lower Canada into the Province of Canada; this territory was redivided into the Provinces of Quebec and Ontario at Confederation in 1867. Each became one of the first four provinces. In 1870, Canada purchased Rupert's Land from the Hudson's Bay Company and over the next few decades the Parliament of Canada transferred to Quebec portions of this territory that would more than triple the size of the province. In 1898, the Canadian Parliament passed the first Quebec Boundary Extension Act that expanded the provincial boundaries northward to include the lands of the local aboriginal peoples; this was followed by the addition of the District of Ungava through the Quebec Boundaries Extension Act of 1912 that added the northernmost lands of the Inuit to create the modern Province of Quebec.
In 1927, the border between Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador was established by the British Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. Quebec disputes this boundary. Located in the eastern part of Canada, part of Central Canada, Quebec occupies a territory nearly three times the size of France or Texas, most of, sparsely populated, its topography is different from one region to another due to the varying composition of the ground, the climate, the proximity to water. The Saint Lawrence Lowland and the Appalachians are the two main topographic regions in southern Quebec, while the Canadian Shield occupies most of central and northern Quebec. Quebec has one of the world's largest reserves of fresh water, occupying 12% of its surface, it has 3 % of the world's renewable fresh water. Mor
Population of Canada
Canada ranks 38 comprising about 0.5% of the world's total population, with over 37 million Canadians as of 2018. Despite having the 2nd largest landmass, the vast majority of the country is sparsely inhabited, with most of its population south of the 55th parallel north. Though Canada's population density is low, many regions in the south such as Southern Ontario, have population densities higher than several European countries. Canada's largest population centres are Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Ottawa with those six being the only ones with more than one million people; the large size of Canada's north, not arable, thus cannot support large human populations lowers the carrying capacity. Therefore, the population density of the habitable land in Canada can be modest to high depending on the region; the historical growth of Canada's population is complex and has been influenced in many different ways, such as indigenous populations, expansion of territory, human migration. Being a new world country, Canada has been predisposed to be a open society with regards to immigration, the most important factor in its historical population growth.
The 2016 Canadian census counted a total population of 35,151,728, an increase of around 5.0 percent over the 2011 figure. Between 1990 and 2008, the population increased by 5.6 million, equivalent to 20.4 percent overall growth. Scholars vary on the estimated size of the indigenous population in what is now Canada prior to colonization and on the effects of European contact. During the late 15th century is estimated to have been between 200,000 and two million, with a figure of 500,000 accepted by Canada's Royal Commission on Aboriginal Health. Although not without conflict, European Canadians' early interactions with First Nations and Inuit populations were peaceful; however repeated outbreaks of European infectious diseases such as influenza and smallpox, combined with other effects of European contact, resulted in a twenty-five percent to eighty percent indigenous population decrease post-contact. Roland G Robertson suggests that during the late 1630s, smallpox killed over half of the Wyandot, who controlled most of the early North American fur trade in the area of New France.
In 1871 there was an enumeration of the indigenous population within the limits of Canada at the time, showing a total of only 102,358 individuals. According to the 2011 Canadian Census, indigenous peoples numbered at 1,400,685, or 4.3% of the country's total population. The European population grew under French rule, thus remained low as growth was achieved through natural births, rather than by immigration. Most of the French were farmers, the rate of natural increase among the settlers themselves was high; the women had about 30 per cent more children than comparable women. Yves Landry says, "Canadians had an exceptional diet for their time." The 1666 census of New France was the first census conducted in North America. It was organized by Jean Talon, the first Intendant of New France, between 1665 and 1666. According to Talon's census there were 3,215 people in New France, comprising 538 separate families; the census showed a great difference in the number of men at 2,034 versus 1,181 women.
By the early 1700s the New France settlers were well established along the Saint Lawrence River and Acadian Peninsula with a population around 15,000 to 16,000. Due to natural increase and modest immigration from Northwest France the population of New France increased to 55,000 according to the last French census of 1754; this was an increase from 42,701 in 1730. During the late 18th and early 19th century Canada under British rule experienced strong population growth. In the wake of the 1775 invasion of Canada by the newly formed Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War 60,000 of the 80,000 Americans loyal to the Crown, designated as United Empire Loyalists fled to British North America, a large portion of whom migrated to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in 1784. Although the exact numbers cannot be certain because of unregistered migration At least went to 20,000 to Nova Scotia, 14,000 to New Brunswick. For the rest of the 1780s additional immigrants arrived from the south. From 1791 An additional 30,000 Americans, called "Late Loyalists," were lured into Ontario in the 1790s by the promise of land and swearing loyalty to the Crown.
As a result of the period known as the Great Migration by 1831, Lower Canada's population had reached 553,000, with Upper Canada reaching about 237,000 individuals. The Irish Potato Famine of the 1840s had increased the pace of Irish immigration to Prince Edward Island and the Province of Canada, peaking in 1847 with 100,000 distressed individuals. By 1851, the population of the Maritime colonies reached 533,000. To the west British Columbia had about 55,000 individuals by 1851. Beginning in the late 1850s, the immigration of Chinese into the Colony of Vancouver Island and Colony of British Columbia peaked with the onset of the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush. By 1861, as a result of natural births and the Great Migration of Canada from the British Isles, the Province of Canada population increased to 3.1 million inhabitants. Newfoundland's population by 1861 reached 125,000 individuals; the popu
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, branded as CBC/Radio-Canada, is a Canadian federal Crown corporation that serves as the national public broadcaster for both radio and television. The English- and French-language service units of the corporation are known as CBC and Radio-Canada and both short-form names are commonly used in the applicable language to refer to the corporation as a whole. Although some local stations in Canada predate CBC's founding, CBC is the oldest existing broadcasting network in Canada, first established in its present form on November 2, 1936. Radio services include CBC Radio One, CBC Music, Ici Radio-Canada Première, Ici Musique. Television operations include CBC Television, Ici Radio-Canada Télé, CBC News Network, Ici RDI, Ici Explora, Documentary Channel, Ici ARTV; the CBC operates services for the Canadian Arctic under the names CBC Radio-Canada Nord. The CBC operates digital services including CBC.ca/Ici. Radio-Canada.ca, CBC Radio 3, CBC Music/ICI.mu and Ici.
TOU. TV, owns 20.2% of satellite radio broadcaster Sirius XM Canada, which carries several CBC-produced audio channels. CBC/Radio-Canada offers programming in English and eight aboriginal languages on its domestic radio service, in five languages on its web-based international radio service, Radio Canada International. However, budget cuts in the early 2010s have contributed to the corporation reducing its service via the airwaves, discontinuing RCI's shortwave broadcasts as well as terrestrial television broadcasts in all communities served by network-owned rebroadcast transmitters, including communities not subject to Canada's over-the-air digital television transition. CBC's federal funding is supplemented by revenue from commercial advertising on its television broadcasts; the radio service employed commercials from its inception to 1974, but since its primary radio networks have been commercial-free. In 2013, CBC's secondary radio networks, CBC Music and Ici Musique, introduced limited advertising of up to four minutes an hour, but this was discontinued in 2016.
In 1929, the Aird Commission on public broadcasting recommended the creation of a national radio broadcast network. A major concern was the growing influence of American radio broadcasting as U. S.-based networks began to expand into Canada. Meanwhile, Canadian National Railways was making a radio network to keep its passengers entertained and give it an advantage over its rival, CP. This, the CNR Radio, is the forerunner of the CBC. Graham Spry and Alan Plaunt lobbied intensely for the project on behalf of the Canadian Radio League. In 1932 the government of R. B. Bennett established the CBC's predecessor, the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission; the CRBC took over a network of radio stations set up by a federal Crown corporation, the Canadian National Railway. The network was used to broadcast programming to riders aboard its passenger trains, with coverage in central and eastern Canada. On November 2, 1936, the CRBC was reorganized under its present name. While the CRBC was a state-owned company, the CBC was a Crown corporation on the model of the British Broadcasting Corporation, reformed from a private company into a statutory corporation in 1927.
Leonard Brockington was the CBC's first chairman. For the next few decades, the CBC was responsible for all broadcasting innovation in Canada; this was in part because, until 1958, it was not only a broadcaster, but the chief regulator of Canadian broadcasting. It used this dual role to snap up most of the clear-channel licences in Canada, it began a separate French-language radio network in 1937. It introduced FM radio to Canada in 1946, though a distinct FM service wasn't launched until 1960. Television broadcasts from the CBC began on September 6, 1952, with the opening of a station in Montreal, a station in Toronto, Ontario opening two days later; the CBC's first owned affiliate television station, CKSO in Sudbury, launched in October 1953. From 1944 to 1962, the CBC split its English-language radio network into two services known as the Trans-Canada Network and the Dominion Network; the latter, carrying lighter programs including American radio shows, was dissolved in 1962, while the former became known as CBC Radio.
On July 1, 1958, CBC's television signal was extended from coast to coast. The first Canadian television show shot in colour was the CBC's own The Forest Rangers in 1963. Colour television broadcasts began on July 1, 1966, full-colour service began in 1974. In 1978, CBC became the first broadcaster in the world to use an orbiting satellite for television service, linking Canada "from east to west to north". Starting in 1967 and continuing until the mid-1970s, the CBC provided limited television service to remote and northern communities. Transmitters were built in a few locations and carried a four-hour selection of black-and-white videotaped programs each day; the tapes were flown into communities to be shown transported to other communities by the "bicycle" method used in television syndication. Transportation delays ranged from one week for larger centres to a month for small communities; the first FCP station was started in Yellowknife in May 1967, the second in Whitehorse in No
Cabinet of Canada
The Cabinet of Canada is a body of ministers of the Crown that, along with the Canadian monarch, within the tenets of the Westminster system, forms the government of Canada. Chaired by the prime minister, the Cabinet is a committee of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and the senior echelon of the Ministry, the membership of the Cabinet and ministry being co-terminal. For practical reasons, the Cabinet is informally referred to either in relation to the prime minister in charge of it or the number of ministries since Confederation; the current cabinet is the Trudeau Cabinet, part of the 29th Ministry. The interchangeable use of the terms cabinet and ministry is a subtle inaccuracy that can cause confusion; the government of Canada, formally referred to as Her Majesty's Government, is defined by the constitution as the Queen acting on the advice of her Privy Council. However, the Privy Council—composed of former members of parliament and former chief justices of Canada, other elder statesmen—rarely meets in full.
This body of ministers of the Crown is the Cabinet, which has come to be the council in the phrase Queen-in-Council. One of the main duties of the Crown is to appoint as prime minister the individual most to maintain the confidence of the House of Commons; the prime minister thereafter heads the Cabinet. The Queen is informed by her viceroy of the acceptance of the resignation of a prime minister and the swearing-in of a new ministry, she remains briefed through regular communications from her Canadian ministers and holds audience with them whenever possible; the governor general appoints to the Cabinet persons chosen by the prime minister—John A. Macdonald once half-jokingly listed his occupation as cabinet maker. For instance, there is a minister from each province in Canada, ministers from visible minority groups, female ministers and, while the majority of those chosen to serve as ministers of the Crown are Members of Parliament, a Cabinet sometimes includes a senator as a representative of a province or region where the governing party won few or no ridings.
Efforts are further made to indulge interest groups that support the incumbent government and the party's internal politics must be appeased, with Cabinet positions sometimes being a reward for loyal party members. It is not necessary for Cabinet members to have a position in parliament although they are always selected from the House of Commons. From time to time, a senator may be included; as with other Westminster derived governments, but unlike the United States Cabinet, the size and structure of the Canadian Cabinet is malleable, the slate of Cabinet positions tending to be restructured periodically, the last major period of realignment occurring between 1993 and 1996. Throughout the 20th century, Cabinets had been expanding in size until the Cabinet chaired by Brian Mulroney, with a population of 40 ministers. Mulroney's successor, Kim Campbell, reduced this number, Jean Chrétien eliminated 10 members of the ministry from the Cabinet, so that by 1994 there were a total of 23 persons in Cabinet.
Under the chairmanship of Paul Martin, the number increased again to 39, in the vicinity of which it has remained. Cabinet itself—or full Cabinet—is further divided into committees; the Treasury Board, overseeing the expenditure of the sovereign's state funds within every department, is one of the most important of these, as is the Priorities and Planning Committee referred to as the inner Cabinet, the body that sets the strategic directions for the government, approves key appointments, ratifies committee memberships. Other Cabinet committees include: Operations, Social Affairs, Economic Growth and Long-Term Prosperity, Foreign Affairs and Security and Energy Security; each committee is chaired by a senior minister whose own portfolio intersects with the mandate of the committee he or she is chairing. Each minister of the Crown is responsible for the general administration of at least one government portfolio and heads a corresponding ministry or ministries, known in Canada as departments or agencies.
The most important minister, following the first minister, is the Minister of Finance, while other high-profile ministries include foreign affairs, industry and health. The official order of precedence does not follow the same pattern, with ministers being listed in the order of their appointment to the Privy Council or, if appointed to the Privy Council on the same day, in order of election or appointment to parliament. Unique positions in Cabinet are those such as Leader
Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million square kilometres, making it the world's second-largest country by total area. Canada's southern border with the United States is the world's longest bi-national land border, its capital is Ottawa, its three largest metropolitan areas are Toronto and Vancouver. As a whole, Canada is sparsely populated, the majority of its land area being dominated by forest and tundra, its population is urbanized, with over 80 percent of its inhabitants concentrated in large and medium-sized cities, many near the southern border. Canada's climate varies across its vast area, ranging from arctic weather in the north, to hot summers in the southern regions, with four distinct seasons. Various indigenous peoples have inhabited what is now Canada for thousands of years prior to European colonization. Beginning in the 16th century and French expeditions explored, settled, along the Atlantic coast.
As a consequence of various armed conflicts, France ceded nearly all of its colonies in North America in 1763. In 1867, with the union of three British North American colonies through Confederation, Canada was formed as a federal dominion of four provinces; this began an accretion of provinces and territories and a process of increasing autonomy from the United Kingdom. This widening autonomy was highlighted by the Statute of Westminster of 1931 and culminated in the Canada Act of 1982, which severed the vestiges of legal dependence on the British parliament. Canada is a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy in the Westminster tradition, with Elizabeth II as its queen and a prime minister who serves as the chair of the federal cabinet and head of government; the country is a realm within the Commonwealth of Nations, a member of the Francophonie and bilingual at the federal level. It ranks among the highest in international measurements of government transparency, civil liberties, quality of life, economic freedom, education.
It is one of the world's most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, the product of large-scale immigration from many other countries. Canada's long and complex relationship with the United States has had a significant impact on its economy and culture. A developed country, Canada has the sixteenth-highest nominal per capita income globally as well as the twelfth-highest ranking in the Human Development Index, its advanced economy is the tenth-largest in the world, relying chiefly upon its abundant natural resources and well-developed international trade networks. Canada is part of several major international and intergovernmental institutions or groupings including the United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the G7, the Group of Ten, the G20, the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. While a variety of theories have been postulated for the etymological origins of Canada, the name is now accepted as coming from the St. Lawrence Iroquoian word kanata, meaning "village" or "settlement".
In 1535, indigenous inhabitants of the present-day Quebec City region used the word to direct French explorer Jacques Cartier to the village of Stadacona. Cartier used the word Canada to refer not only to that particular village but to the entire area subject to Donnacona. From the 16th to the early 18th century "Canada" referred to the part of New France that lay along the Saint Lawrence River. In 1791, the area became two British colonies called Upper Canada and Lower Canada collectively named the Canadas. Upon Confederation in 1867, Canada was adopted as the legal name for the new country at the London Conference, the word Dominion was conferred as the country's title. By the 1950s, the term Dominion of Canada was no longer used by the United Kingdom, which considered Canada a "Realm of the Commonwealth"; the government of Louis St. Laurent ended the practice of using'Dominion' in the Statutes of Canada in 1951. In 1982, the passage of the Canada Act, bringing the Constitution of Canada under Canadian control, referred only to Canada, that year the name of the national holiday was changed from Dominion Day to Canada Day.
The term Dominion was used to distinguish the federal government from the provinces, though after the Second World War the term federal had replaced dominion. Indigenous peoples in present-day Canada include the First Nations, Métis, the last being a mixed-blood people who originated in the mid-17th century when First Nations and Inuit people married European settlers; the term "Aboriginal" as a collective noun is a specific term of art used in some legal documents, including the Constitution Act 1982. The first inhabitants of North America are hypothesized to have migrated from Siberia by way of the Bering land bridge and arrived at least 14,000 years ago; the Paleo-Indian archeological sites at Old Crow Flats and Bluefish Caves are two of the oldest sites of human habitation in Canada. The characteristics of Canadian indigenous societies included permanent settlements, complex societal hierarchies, trading networks; some of these cultures had collapsed by the time European explorers arrived in the late 15th and early 16th centuries and have only been discovered through archeological investigations.
The indigenous population at the time of the first European settlements is estimated to have been between 200,000