Background Notes: Canada

PA/PC Source: Office of Public Communication, Bureau of Public Affairs Date: Jan 15, 19911/15/91 Category: Country Data Region: North America Country: Canada Subject: Cultural Exchange, Resource Management, Military Affairs, History, International Organizations, Trade/Economics [TEXT] Official Name: Canada


Area: 9.97 million sq. km. (3.8 million sq. mi.); second largest country in the world. Cities: Capital-Ottawa (pop. 833,000). Other cities-Toronto (3.5 million), Montreal (2.9 million), Vancouver (1.4 million). Terrain: Varied. Climate: Temperate to arctic. Canada's Provinces and Territories Atlantic Provinces: Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick. Area-541,180 sq. km. (208,146 sq. mi.). Population (1988)-2.3 million. Ethnic groups-predominantly British, French. Industry- fishing, agriculture, mining, manufacturing. Quebec: Area-1,356,790 sq. km. (523,857 sq. mi.). Population (1988)-6.7 million. Ethnic groups-predominantly French, British, other European groups. Industry-agriculture, mining, manufacturing, hydroelectric power. Ontario: Area-891,190 sq. km. (345,420 sq. mi.). Population (1988)-9.5 million. Ethnic groups-British, French, other European groups. Industry-manufacturing, agriculture, mining. Prairie Provinces: Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta. Area-1.77 million sq. km. (680,757 sq. mi.). Population (1988)-4.5 million. Ethnic groups-British, other European groups. Industry-agriculture, cattle, petroleum and natural gas, mining, manufacturing. British Columbia: Area-934,125 sq. km. (359,279 sq. mi.). Population (1988)-3 million. Ethnic groups-British, other European, Chinese, indigenous Indian. Industry-forestry, manufacturing, fishing, mining, agriculture. Territories: Northwest Territory and Yukon Territory. Area-3.79 million sq. km. (1.45 million sq. mi.). Population (1988)-72,300. Ethnic groups-British, indigenous Indian, Inuit. Industry-mining.
Nationality: Noun and adjective-Canadian(s). Population (1989): 26.2 million. Annual growth rate (1988-89): 1%. Ethnic groups: British 25%, French 24%, other European 16%, indigenous Indian and Eskimo 1.5%, mixed background 28%. Religions: Roman Catholic 47%, United Church 16%, Anglican 10%. Languages: English, French. Literacy: 98% of population aged 15 and over have at least a ninth grade education. Health: Infant mortality rate-7.3/1,000 (US=11.2/1,000). Life expectancy-73 yrs. male, 80 yrs. female. Work force (13.3 million, 1988): Agriculture-0.4 million. Manufacturing-2.1 million. Trade-2.2 million. Community/business/personal service-4.1 million. Public administration-0.8 million.
Type: Confederation with parliamentary democracy. Independence: July 1, 1867. Constitution: The amended British North America Act of 1867, charter of rights, and unwritten custom. Branches: Executive-Queen Elizabeth II (head of state, represented by a governor general), prime minister (head of government), cabinet. Legislative-bicameral parliament (104-member Senate, 295- member House of Commons). Judicial-Supreme Court. Political parties: Progressive Conservative, Liberal, New Democratic, Reform, Social Credit. Suffrage: Universal over 18. Government budget (FY 1990-91): Expenditures-US$127.1 billion. Revenues- US$102.6 billion. Deficit-US$24.5 billion. Defense: 2% of GDP. Subdivisions: 10 provinces, 2 territories. Flag: A red maple leaf on a white background flanked by vertical red bands.
GDP (1990): US$554.1 billion. Annual real GDP growth rate (1990): 0.7%. Per capita GDP (1990): US$21,000. Natural resources: Petroleum and natural gas, hydroelectric power, metals and minerals, fish, forests, wildlife. Agriculture: Products-wheat, livestock and meat, feed grains, oilseeds, dairy products, tobacco, fruits, vegetables. Industry: Types-motor vehicles and parts, fish and forest products, processed and unprocessed minerals. Trade (1990): Canada had a record current account deficit of US$15.9 billion in 1990. Exports-US$123 billion: motor vehicles and parts, lumber, wood pulp and newsprint, crude and fabricated metals, natural gas, crude petroleum, wheat. Partners-US 75%, EC 18%, Japan 5%. Imports-US$116.1 billion: motor vehicles and parts, industrial machinery, crude petroleum, chemicals, agricultural machinery. Partners-US 69%, EC 8%, Japan 6%. Official exchange rate (floating average rate for 1990): C$1=US$0.86. Fiscal year: April 1-March 31. Development assistance (FY 1987-88): $2 billion or 0.4% of GDP. Membership in International Organizations UN, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), North Atlantic Fisheries Organization, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Commonwealth, La Francophonie, Agency for Cultural and Technical Cooperation, International Energy Agency (IEA), INTELSAT.


Of Canada's 26.2 million people, 80% live within 160 kilometers (100 mi.) of the US border, and half live in the southeastern part of the country near the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River. Canada's more than 6 million French-speaking citizens are primarily descendants of colonists who settled the country three centuries ago. The English-speaking community has increased mostly by immigration from the United Kingdom. The largest influx from the United States occurred during the American Revolution when thousands of "Empire Loyalists" fled to Canada. Other Canadians have indigenous Indian, Eskimo (Inuit), German, Ukrainian, Scandinavian, Italian, Dutch, Polish, or Asian origins
Cultural Achievements
Four major influences have helped shape Canadian culture: a multi-cultural-including aboriginal-heritage; English/French bilingualism; sustained government funding for artistic and literary pursuits; and the abundance and availability of US cultural productions. Canadians tend to view their country less as a melting pot than as a cultural mosaic. Inuit, Indian nations, Francophones, Anglophones, and immigrant groups have all sought to maintain their unique cultural identities. Such efforts have been encouraged by extensive government funding of the arts. The government- funded Canada Council has become the major patron of all forms of creative endeavor in Canada. Government support has produced an artistic atmosphere that encourages creativity over marketability in all areas of art and culture. Canada has a colorful literary tradition. Margaret Lawrence, Margaret Atwood, Robertson Davies, and Mordechai Richler rank among the most influential Anglophone authors. Leading Francophone authors include Gabrielle Roy and Jacques Ferron. In visual arts, Canadians are most proud of a school of painters known as "The Group of Seven," whose style of landscape painting is called "pictorial nationalism." With the support of the National Film Board, Canadian filmmakers such as Harry Rasky and Bill Mason are world leaders in producing documentaries. Canada also has a number of world-class dance troupes, orchestras, and repertory theaters. Numerous well-known musicians claim Canada as their home, including Joni Mitchell, Anne Murray, Paul Anka, Gordon Lightfoot, Bryan Adams, and Corey Hart.
Political History
Canada's early history was dominated by rivalry between France and Britain. John Cabot reached Newfoundland in 1497 and claimed a large portion of the Atlantic seaboard for Britain. Cabot was followed by the French explorer Jacques Cartier, who claimed the Gaspe Peninsula for France. While the British settled along the coast, the French pushed rapidly into the interior, and, for more than a century, Canada was a colony of France. The major settler of French Canada was Samuel de Champlain, who founded Quebec City (1608) and a number of other settlements along the Bay of Fundy and the St. Lawrence River. Explorers, traders, and missionaries, including Marquette, Joliet, and La Salle, extended French influence in what had come to be called "New France." Following the early years of settlement, French and English pioneers competed in the lucrative fur trade. Canada's future political contours began to emerge after Britain defeated France in North America during the Seven Years' War (1756-63) and took over all French colonies in North America except for the islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon. Under the terms of an 1814 agreement with the British, the islands remain a territory of France. The bitter memory of that event still has strong emotional force for French-Canadians. Although New France came under British control, it was permitted to retain its religion and civil code. During the American Revolution, French and British colonists in Canada rebuffed the overtures of American leaders and chose retention of British rule rather than independence in association with the United States. American expeditions into Canada in 1775 under Generals Montgomery and Arnold were defeated. In the War of 1812, US-British rivalry in North America again resulted in the invasion of Canada. Several events spurred unification of the British-ruled Canadian colonies under the British North America Act of 1867. First, political uprisings in 1837 in both English Upper Canada and French Lower Canada led to the creation of local governments and to greater citizen participation in government. Second, at the end of the American Civil War, it was feared that the United States might turn against British North America. Finally, development of US western territories and the slower settlement of the Canadian west prompted development of a Canadian transcontinental railroad and the perception among eastern Canadian political leaders that a Canadian federation from the Atlantic to the Pacific had to be achieved if western Canada was to avoid being absorbed by the United States. The 1867 act created the new nation of Canada, comprising four provinces-Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. It provided for a union and for a parliamentary system of government. Six other provinces eventually entered the confederation; the last was Newfoundland in 1949. In the early post-World War II period, Canada embarked on a foreign policy that has become its trademark- multilateralism. The country was a charter signatory to the United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). While Canada has worked to remain anchored to the West, it also has pursued policies designed to accentuate its independence from the United States. These include Canada's early "normalization" of relations with Fidel Castro's Cuba and the People's Republic of China, as well as strong Canadian opposition to US involvement in the war in Vietnam. The United Nations holds and always has held a special significance for Canada. The country sent its troops to participate under UN auspices in the Korean conflict. Canadian Secretary of State Pearson mediated in the 1956 Suez Canal crisis, for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Since Suez, Canadians have participated in peacekeeping forces in a number of international trouble spots. Like the United States, Canada enjoyed significant postwar economic growth and prosperity, which was reflected in World Exposition '67 in Montreal. However, concerns about foreign (particularly US) investment in Canada mounted and contributed to a cooling of the US-Canada relationship during the Diefenbaker and Trudeau administrations. In the province of Quebec in the early 1960s, Jean Lesage's "Quiet Revolution" led to a new assertiveness and heightened sense of identity among the French-speaking Quebecers, who make up about one-quarter of Canada's population. Radical elements within Quebec, most notably the Quebec Liberation Front (FLQ), precipitated an urban violence campaign and the "October Crisis" of 1970, during which Trudeau invoked extraordinary measures to maintain public safety and order. In 1976, the separatist Parti Quebecois (PQ) won the provincial election and began to explore a course for Quebec of greater independence from the rest of Canada. In 1982, Queen Elizabeth ceremonially turned over full responsibility for Canada's constitution-the amended British North America Act of 1867-to the Canadian parliament. This was made possible when the federal government and all provinces, except Quebec, agreed on a charter of rights and an amending formula. Quebec's status remains a serious political issue in Canada. In a 1980 referendum, the Parti Quebecois sought a mandate from the people of Quebec to negotiate a new status-"sovereignty association"-combining political independence with continued economic association with the rest of Canada. Sixty percent of Quebec voters rejected the proposal. Canada continued its quest to develop a constitutional formula that will satisfy the aspirations of French-speaking Quebec through the 1987 Meech Lake Constitutional Accord. Quebec's current Liberal government strongly endorsed the accord, which would have brought the province into Canada's federal constitutional framework while recognizing Quebec as a "distinct society." However, since the accord was not ratified by Manitoba and Newfoundland-which felt it gave too much power to Quebec-it expired on the June 23, 1990, deadline. Quebec has since announced that it will negotiate constitutional issues only on a bilateral basis with Ottawa, and a special commission established by Quebec's "National Assembly" is considering options for the province's future relationship with the rest of Canada.


Canada is a constitutional monarchy with a bilingual federal system, a parliamentary form of government, and strong democratic traditions. Although Canada consolidated its written constitution in 1982, many of the country's legal and parliamentary practices are based on unwritten custom, as is the case in the United Kingdom. But the federal structure which unites the 10 provinces resembles the US system. The constitution provides for a federal government to which are reserved specific powers, such as those relating to defense, trade and commerce, banking and currency, criminal law, postal services, and certain taxes, as well as all powers not expressly granted to the provinces. The provinces have authority to administer and legislate on such matters as education, property laws, health, and local affairs generally. The 1982 Charterof Rights guarantees basic rights in many areas. Queen Elizabeth II, as Queen of Canada, serves as a symbol of the nation's unity. She appoints a governor general on the advice of the prime minister of Canada, usually for a 5-year term. Canada's parliament consists of an elective House of Commons and an appointive Senate. In practice, legislative power rests with the Commons (295 members). Commons members are elected at least every 5 years but also at any time that the prime minister advises the governor general to dissolve the House. Senate members, in contrast, are appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister. During the Meech Lake debate, many Canadians called for reform of the Canadian Senate, such as election of senators. The cabinet is led by the prime minister, who is the leader of the political party in power. The cabinet remains in office as long as it retains majority support in the Commons on major issues. Criminal law, a federal prerogative based largely on British law, is uniform throughout the nation. Civil law is also based on the common law of England, except in Quebec, which has retained its own civil code patterned after that of France. Justice is administered by federal, provincial, and municipal courts. Each province is governed by a premier and a single, elected legislative chamber. A lieutenant-governor, appointed by the governor general, represents the crown in each province.
Principal Government Officials
Chief of State-Queen Elizabeth II Governor General-Ramon Hnatyshyn Prime Minister-Brian Mulroney Secretary of State for External Affairs-Joe Clark Ambassador to the United States-Derek Burney Ambassador to the United Nations-Yves Fortier Canada maintains an embassy in the United States at 501 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20001 (tel. 202-682- 1740). Canadian Consulates Atlanta, Georgia-404-577-6810; Boston, Massachusetts-617-262-3760; Buffalo, New York-716- 852-1247; Chicago, Illinois-312-427-1031; Cleveland, Ohio-216- 771-0150; Dallas, Texas-214-922-9806 ;Detroit, Michigan-313- 567-2340; Los Angeles, California-213-687-7432; Minneapolis, Minnesota-612-333-4641; New York, New York-212-586-2400; San Francisco, California-415-981-2670; Seattle, Washington-206- 443-1777


The three principal national parties in Canada are the Progressive Conservatives, the Liberals, and the New Democratics, a social democratic party formed in 1961. Since 1921, either the Liberal or the Conservative Party has controlled the Canadian government. Both are broadbased parties of the center. In past federal elections, the Liberals relied on strong support from Quebec. However, in 1984 and 1988, the Progressive Conservatives won the majority of seats in that province. The Conservatives traditionally have been strong in the western provinces. Heavily populated Ontario often plays a decisive role in elections. The Progressive Conservative Party won 169 seats in the House of Commons in the 1988 election and again formed a majority government with representation from every region in the nation. The Liberal Party, the official opposition, won 83 seats; the New Democratic Party, 43. Federal-provincial interplay is a central feature of Canadian politics. Quebec wishes to preserve and strengthen its distinctive nature. (See HISTORY section.) Western provinces desire more control over their abundant natural resources, especially energy reserves. Industrialized central Canada is concerned with economic development, while the Atlantic provinces have resisted federal claims to fishing and mineral rights off their shores. Canadians have responded to these differing regional needs by attempting to strengthen both their confederation and the fundamental democratic principles essential to a balanced federal- provincial political system, but setbacks such as the June 1990 failure to ratify the 1987 Meech Lake accord have made this process more difficult. The Calgary-based Reform Party of Canada recently has emerged to represent the interests of western Canadians who are disenchanted with Canada's three major parties. Following the failure of Meech Lake, members of Canada's parliament from Quebec organized the new "Bloc Quebecois" to advocate that province's concerns in Ottawa.


Canada ranks seventh in the world in gross domestic product and is one of the world's largest producers of a wide variety of minerals. The mineral industry, forest products, and agriculture have been major factors in Canada's economic development. Canada's lakes have more than 50% of the world's surface fresh water, and 75% of Canada's power needs are met by hydroelectric energy. The spectacular growth of Canadian manufacturing, particularly since the 1950s, has transformed the nation from a rural, agricultural society into one primarily industrial and urban. Industry is now the leading segment of the nation's economy, employing one-third of the work force. Following rapid expansion in 1985-89, the Canadian economy slipped into a shallow recession in the first half of 1990. Growth for the year was a sluggish 0.7% in real terms. With the slowdown, unemployment rose and stands at over 8%. Inflation for the year was moderate-just under 5%-as the government continued to follow a tight monetary policy. Interest rates remain high in relation to the United States. Partly because of this, the Canadian dollar is near its decade-high value against the US dollar.
Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries
Agriculture's contribution to the Canadian economy is similar to that of the United States, averaging less than 4% of both GNP and employment in the late 1980s. Agricultural exports are less than 10% of all trade and are led by wheat and barley to third markets and by pork and horticultural products to the United States. The United States is Canada's leading market, taking nearly one-third of all food exports, dominated by pork and horticultural products. Conversely, Canada is the United States' second largest agricultural market, primarily importing fresh fruits and vegetables and livestock products. Forest covers about half of Canada's total land area. Forest product exports, including pulp and paper, represent 15% of Canada's total export trade with nearly two-thirds going to the United States. Canada is the world's leading producer of newsprint, accounting for 40% of global output. Nearly 75% of Canada's total newsprint production goes to the United States. Commercial fisheries provide an annual catch of about 1.4 million metric tons (1.5 million tons), of which about 70% is exported.
Canada ranks first in the world in mineral exports and third in mineral production after the United States and the Soviet Union. It is the world's largest producer of zinc, potash, uranium, and nickel; the second largest producer of asbestos, silver, titanium, gypsum, and sulfur; and a leading producer of molybdenum, aluminum, cobalt, gold, lead, copper, iron, and platinum. Significant mineral deposits are located in all regions. Canada is a major producer of hydroelectricity, oil, and gas and, unlike most of its industrial partners, is a net exporter of energy (primarily gas and electricity). Canada's exports and imports of oil are currently in approximate balance. Crude petroleum is the largest single component of Canada's minerals output. In 1988, Canadian oil reserves were about 6.8 billion barrels. Canada produces annually more than 500 million barrels of oil and about 3.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The United States imports about 6% of its natural gas requirements from Canada.
Foreign Trade
In total volume of trade, Canada ranks seventh in the world, after the United States, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Japan, and Italy. The value of US-Canadian merchandise trade for 1989 was $167 billion, more than that between any other two countries in the world. US exports to Canada were $78 billion, and imports were $88 billion. Also in 1989, about 22% of all US merchandise exports went to Canada, and Canada supplied about 19% of total US merchandise imports. Almost one-third of US-Canadian trade occurs under the terms of the US-Canada Automotive Agreement (Auto Pact), which provides for free trade in cars, trucks, and auto parts. Under the 1965 agreement, two-way trade in automotive products rose from $715 million in 1964 to $23 billion by 1978. In 1980-81, it declined to about $18 billion, but it rose to $51.5 billion in 1988. Foreign Investment The investment relationship between the United States and Canada is close, and the United States is Canada's largest foreign investor. At the end of 1988, the stock of US direct investment in Canada was $61 billion, or about 80% of total foreign direct investment in Canada. US investment in Canada is primarily in the mining and smelting industries, petroleum, chemicals, the manufacturing of machinery and transportation equipment, and finance. Canada's investment exposure in the United States is substantial. At the end of 1988, the stock of Canadian direct investment in the United States was $27.4 billion, or 20% of total foreign direct investment in the United States. Canadian investment in the United States is concentrated in manufacturing, wholesale trade, real estate, and petroleum.


In Canada's early days as a nation, its foreign affairs were conducted by the United Kingdom. By 1909, the Canadian drive for autonomy led to the creation of a department of external affairs. After World War I, Canadian representatives signed the Treaty of Versailles and began to conduct a truly independent foreign policy. World War II gave considerable impetus to Canadian participation in world affairs. Canada took an active role in the creation of the United Nations, which it strongly supports. It has contributed troops to UN forces in Korea, the Middle East, the Congo, Yemen, Namibia, and Cyprus. Canada also has contributed naval vessels and fighter aircraft to the multinational force in the Persian Gulf crisis. In addition to its peacekeeping activities, Canada has assumed a prominent role in UN disarmament discussions, environmental activities, law of the sea negotiations, human rights issues, North-South issues, and world food problems. Canada also continues to be a strong supporter of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and its goals. A member of NATO since its inception, Canada shares responsibility with the United States and other allies for the North Atlantic Treaty area. Due to its membership in NATO, Canada is an active participant in discussions stemming from the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE). Two other international organizations of special interest to Canada are the Commonwealth-an association of former British colonies that share similarities of language, customs, and institutions-and La Francophonie-an association of French-speaking countries that include France and former French colonies. Since about 24% of all Canadians regard French as their mother tongue, Canada has sought to broaden and strengthen ties with La Francophonie. Canadian economic assistance to developing countries totals more than $2 billion annually. The official channel for government overseas aid programs is the Canadian International Development Agency. Canada also contributes substantially to international and regional development organizations and is a major supplier of food aid worldwide.


US defense arrangements with Canada are more extensive than with any other country. The Permanent Joint Board on Defense, established in 1940, provides policy-level consultation on bilateral defense matters. The United States and Canada share NATO mutual security commitments. As the only other non-European ally, Canada contributes forces to NATO commands in Europe and the North Atlantic. In addition, US and Canadian military forces have cooperated since 1958 on continental air defense within the framework of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, an integrated bilateral military command exercising operational control over US and Canadian air defense forces and also providing early warning information on possible air and missile attack on North America. Canada and the United States work closely in defense research and production.


Canada views its relationship with the United States as crucial to a wide range of Canadian interests. The bilateral relationship is varied and complex. Although occasional differences occur, US-Canadian relations are close and cooperative. Investment and trade issues are a major feature of US-Canadian relations. There are a number of cooperative economic efforts, such as the Auto Pact, which created a largely integrated two-country market for automobiles, and defense economic arrangements, which diminish obstacles to trade and technology exchange and encourage a balance of trade in defense related areas. The US-Canada trading relationship has been enhanced by the bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA) that became effective on January 1, 1989. Over a 10-year period, the FTA will remove all tariffs and virtually all import and export restrictions; resolve many longstanding bilateral irritants; and liberalize rules in several areas including agriculture, services, energy, financial services, investment, and government procurement. The United States and Canada recently have resolved several major issues involving fisheries. By common agreement, the two countries submitted a Gulf of Maine boundary dispute to the International Court of Justice in 1981; both accepted the court's October 12, 1984, ruling. On January 28, 1985, the United States and Canada signed the Pacific Salmon Treaty, the culmination of years of difficult negotiations aimed at rebuilding the Pacific salmon resource. In 1990, the United States and Canada signed a bilateral Fisheries Enforcement Agreement which, when implemented, should deter illegal fishing activity and thereby reduce the risk of injury during fisheries enforcement incidents. The two countries work closely to resolve transboundary environmental issues, an area of increasing importance in the bilateral relationship. A principal instrument of this cooperation is the International Joint Commission (IJC) established in 1909 to promote international environmental cooperation. The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreements of 1972 and 1978, aimed at preserving and enhancing the water quality of the Great Lakes, are historic examples of joint cooperation in controlling transboundary water pollution. The two governments also frequently consult on transboundary air pollution, which remains an issue of concern in both countries. As of January 1991, the United States and Canada were close to concluding an Air Quality Accord which would limit the effects of transboundary air pollution such as acid rain. Energy and transportation problems, such as natural gas trade and trucking regulations, also are often nettlesome and require frequent attention from both sides, though such issues usually have been successfully resolved or managed through bilateral consultative forums. Canada and the United States recently have announced an interest in negotiating a new "open skies" regime in civil aviation.
Principal US Officials
Ambassador-Edward N. Ney Deputy Chief of Mission-J. Todd Stewart Minister-Counselor for Political Affairs-Stephen W. Buck Minister-Counselor for Economic Affairs-Lawrence P. Taylor Minister-Counselor for Public Affairs-Dell F. Pendergrast Minister-Counselor for Commercial Affairs-George Mu The US Embassy in Canada is located at 100 Wellington Street, Ottawa, (tel. 613-238-5335). There are US consulates general in the following cities: Calgary, Alberta (tel. 403-266-8962); Halifax, Nova Scotia (tel. 902-429-2480); Montreal, Quebec (tel. 514-398- 9695); Quebec City, Quebec (tel. 418-692-2095); Toronto, Ontario (tel. 416-595-1700); and Vancouver, British Columbia (tel. 604- 685-4311).
Houston Economic Summit, July 9-11, 1990
President Bush hosted the 16th annual G-7 summit for the leaders of the major industrialized democracies-Canada, the Federal Republic of Germany, France, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States-and the president of the European Community, in Houston, Texas, July 9-11. The Houston summit was held against the backdrop of movement toward democracy and freer markets in many parts of the world, including elections in Eastern Europe and Nicaragua, increasing momentum toward German unification, and political reforms in the Soviet Union. The summit leaders agreed on most international economic and political issues, but intense discussions were needed on agricultural subsidies in the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations, economic assistance to the Soviet Union, and global warming before consensus could be reached.
Economic Accomplishments
-- Agreement on progressive reductions in internal and external support and protection of agriculture and on a framework for conducting agricultural negotiations in order to successfully conclude by December 1990 the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade talks under the auspices of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). -- Request to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to undertake, in close coordination with the European Community (EC), a study of the Soviet economy, to make recommendations, to establish the criteria under which Western economic assistance could effectively support Soviet reforms, and to submit a report by the end of 1990. -- Support for aid to Central and Eastern European nations that are firmly committed to political and economic reform, including freer markets, and encouragement of foreign private investment in those countries and improved markets for their exports by means of trade and investment agreements. -- Pledge to begin negotiations, to be completed by 1992, on a global forest convention to protect the world's forests. Political Accomplishments -- Promotion of democracy throughout the world by assisting in the drafting of laws, advising in fostering independent media, establishing training programs, and expanding exchange programs. -- Endorsement of the maintenance of an effective international nuclear nonproliferation system, including adoption of safeguards and nuclear export control measures, and support for a complete ban on chemical weapons.


Customs: US citizens visiting Canada may be required to show proof of citizenship. A US passport, birth certificate, or naturalization certificate will suffice. Climate and clothing: Climate varies by region. Currency: The unit of currency is the Canadian dollar. Canadian and US dollars are fully convertible at banks and at most border crossing points. The rate of exchange varies daily (1990 avg. was C$1=US$0.86). Tourist attractions: In addition to abundant mountain and aquatic recreational resources, Canada offers a wide range of regional events. Newfoundland's annual regatta is one of the oldest sporting events in North America. Prince Edward Island features Country Days and Old Home Week, with music, agricultural and handicraft displays, harness racing, and parades. Events in Nova Scotia include the Annapolis Apple Blossom Festival, the Halifax Tattoo, and the Highland Games. New Brunswick provides a variety of festivities related to its fishing industry, such as the Shediac Lobster Festival, the Richibukto Scallop Festival, and the Campbellton Salmon Festival. Quebec has many attractions, including Man and His World (formerly Expo '67) and the Sherbrooke Festival des Cantons, featuring Quebecois shows, horsepulling, soirees, and gourmet cuisine. In Ontario, drama festivals in Stratford and Niagara-on-the-Lake are major attractions. Events in western Canada tend to reflect its cultural diversity and pioneer heritage. They include the National Ukrainian Festival in Manitoba and the Oktoberfest in Vancouver, British Columbia. Saskatchewan has its Pioneer Days, and Alberta has its Indian Days and the popular Calgary Stampede, one of the largest rodeo shows in the world. Canada is abundantly endowed with natural attractions. The federal government maintains 34 national parks, most of them with campsites and other basic camping facilities, and each province maintains a number of similar parks. In addition, 96 national historic parks and sites are maintained by the government of Canada. Time zones: Time zones in Canada correspond to those in the United States, with the exception of Atlantic time (1 hour ahead of eastern standard time), which is observed in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island; and Newfoundland time (1 hour and 30 minutes ahead of eastern standard time), which is observed only in the Province of Newfoundland. Transportation, telecommunication, and other: Virtually all US products are available in Canada. Canadian telephone facilities are excellent, and direct dialing is possible between the United States and Canada. Public transportation, education, and health services generally are excellent.
National Holidays:
New Year's Day-Jan. 1 Queen's Birthday-mid-May Dominion Day-July 1 Civic Holiday-1st Mon. in Aug. Thanksgiving Day-Oct. 12 Remembrance Day-Nov. 11 Christmas Day-Dec. 25 Boxing Day-Dec. 26 Further information about Canada is available from the Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC, and Canadian consulates in several US cities (see page 5). Published by the United States Department of State -- Bureau of Public Affairs -- Office of Public Communication -- Washington, DC -- January 1991 -- Editor: Marilyn J. Bremner. Department of State Publication 7769--Background Notes Series -- This material is in the public domain and may be reprinted without permission; citation of this source is appreciated. For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, US Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402. (###)