Key facts Canada

by Melissa Alexander
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Capital: Ottawa

Demography: Population 31.6 million, 0.99% growth rate (July 2001 estimates); English, French official languages; religions, 42% Roman Catholic, 40% Protestant.

Geography: Northern North America, bordered by the Northern Pacific, Northern Atlantic Oceans, Arctic Circle; climate widely varied from temperate in south to Arctic in North; mostly plains with mountains in west and lowlands in southeast.

Government: Confederation with parliamentary democracy. Chief of state is Queen Elizabeth II; head of government is Prime Minister Jean Chretien.

Official agricultural agencies: Ministry of Agriculture under Minister Lyle Van Clief; Canadian Wheat Board under President and Chief Executive Officer Greg S. Arason.

Economy: As an affluent, high-tech industrial society, Canada today closely resembles its U.S. neighbor in its market-oriented economic system, pattern of production and high living standards. Since World War II, the impres-sive growth of Canada’s manufacturing, mining and service sectors has transformed the nation from a largely rural economy into one primarily industrial and urban. Real rates of growth have averaged nearly 3.0% since 1993.

G.D.P. per capita: U.S.$24,800 (purchasing power parity), 4.3% growth rate, 2.6% inflation, 6.8% unemployment (2000 estimates).

Currency: Canadian dollar. Jan 15, 2002, exchange rate: 1.58759 Canadian dollars per U.S. dollar.

Exports: U.S.$272.3 billion (f.o.b., 2000), motor vehicles, machinery, timber, wheat.

Imports: U.S.$238.2 billion (f.o.b., 2000), machinery and equipment, crude oil, durable consumer goods.

Major crops: Wheat, barley, canola.

Wheat (non-durum): Production in the past five years averaged nearly 20 million tonnes a year, ranging from a low of 18 million in 1998-99 to a high of 22.6 million in 1999-2000. Exports averaged 13.4 million tonnes, with consumption averaging 7.1 million.

Durum: Five-year production averaged 4.7 million tonnes, ranging from a high of 6 million in 1998-99 to a low of 3.1 million in 2001-02. Total use averaged 966,000 tonnes, and exports averaged 3.8 million.

Barley: Five-year production averaged 12.9 million tonnes, ranging from a high of 13.5 million in 1997-98 to a low of 11.4 million in 2001-02. Total use averaged 10.9 million tonnes, and exports averaged 2.2 million.

Canola: Five-year production averaged 7 million tonnes, ranging from a high of 8.7 million in 1999-00 to a low of 5 million in 2001-02. Total exports averaged 3.7 million

Transportation: Highways, 901,902 km, 318,371 km paved; railroads, 36,114 km, all 1.435-m gauge; major grain ports, Vancouver, Thunder Bay, Prince Rupert.