Country Profile: Canada
Official languagesEnglish and French
Area9, 984, 670 sq km
Population33, 602, 000 (2009 est.)
English and French are spoken by 61% and 21% respectively, and are recognised by the Constitution of Canada as official languages. The most widely non-official spoken languages in Canada are Chinese, Punjabi, Spanish, Italian and Arabic. In 2006, over 6.6 million Canadians spoke French at home, of which over 90% lived in Quebec. Bi- and multilingualism are key features of Canadian society. There are several Canadian dialects of European languages, including Canadian Gaelic, Welsh, Newfoundland Irish, Acadian French, Canadian Ukrainian and Bungee.
One of the world's richest nations, Canada is member of the OECD and G8 - within the G8 it has the lowest debt burden - and is one of the world's top ten trading nations. Its mixed-market economy has been growing rapidly since the 1990s, and now, Canada is very similar to the US, due to its market-oriented economic system and high standards of life. The expansion of the industry and service sectors, in particular manufacture and mining, has led to Canada having a $364 billion export industry, and a thriving industrial and urban economy. Logging and oil are vital industries, and Canada is unique among developed nations in being a key exporter of energy, for example Atlantic Canada which has vast deposits of offshore gas and oil. Canada also has a significant role as supplier of agricultural goods, for example wheat and grains, and at the other end of the spectrum, it is an important figure in the automobile and aeronautics industries.
Unusually among developed countries, Canada is a chief exporter of energy, for example oil and natural gas, as well as renewable forms such as hydroelectricity. Canada was active in the talks which led to the founding of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. Canda's targets for reducing GHG emissions will in the future very likely be focused upon improving three areas: transportation, electricity production and fossil fuels.
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