Even without having passed through the production cycles often typical of colonial economies, even Canada has suffered from the protracted condition of political subordination. For a few centuries (with the exception of the rural and commercial settlements of the eastern area) based on hunting fur animals and fishing, logging and mining (gold), the Canadian economy only since in the late nineteenth century, with the demographic increase and the maturation of a more defined political-territorial structure, it began to diversify. But it was above all in the twentieth century, and mainly after independence and the consequent strong influx of US capital, that intense industrialization began (always only in the southern regions and, in particular, in the south-eastern ones) and, subsequently, a considerable diversification of the production structure. Today the tertiary sector is absolutely prevalent, both for its contribution to GDP (almost 70%) and for the number of employees (about 75%); but industrial productions continue to have a very considerable weight, as well as, on the other hand, agricultural, forestry and, for some decades, mining productions. Certainly declined (but not disappeared) the production of furs, now supplied by farms, among the traditional activities the fishing, maritime and fluvial, remains local, both on the Atlantic coast, where it still characterizes the settlement, dispersed in villages with small ports and devoted to fishing, above all, cod and its processing, as well as the peaceful one (salmon). Huge is the forestry potential, carefully managed:
1 Agriculture Agricultural production received an extraordinary boost in the second half of the twentieth century, in particular with the progressive enhancement of the lands of the Great Prairies and those N of the Great Lakes, as well as with the intensification of crops in the Great Lakes region itself, in the Appalachian and the Pacific coast, where the conditions exist for the production of fruit and vegetables. To the west of the Great Lakes, massive irrigation works and the adoption of fast-growing, high-yielding crop varieties have made it possible to extend the land suitable for the cultivation of cereals (wheat, barley, oats) towards the W and especially towards the N Canada one of the main exporters of wheat. Agricultural management follows a model similar to that of the United States, with large company extensions, strong mechanization, intense use of capital, very high returns per employee; the situation for livestock farming is similar (cattle, pigs, poultry). For Canada business, please check cheeroutdoor.com.
2 Industry The availability of abundant and low cost energy has been one of the determining conditions for the industrial development of the country, together with the very wide range of minerals. Industrialization began in the Great Lakes region at the beginning of the twentieth century, relying on the minerals present in the region, on coal and on hydroelectric energy; the first to develop were the basic industry (metallurgy, mechanics, chemicals) and wood processing, greatly boosted by international demand during the Second World War. Metallurgy and mechanics continue to be of great importance, especially for the production of capital goods required by the internal market and for means of transport; chemistry also continued its development, focusing in particular on agricultural products. Still very important is the sector of wood and derivatives, in the past for a long time the main voice of the Canadian economy; in addition to the production of wood for work, wood pulp and paper, the Canadian industry has turned to processes with a higher added value (furniture, laminates). Finally, the entire agri-food sector is noteworthy. As a whole, industrial production is not adequate to the internal demand for consumer goods, given the prevailing orientation towards basic products, but it is largely integrated with that of the United States and, in general, feeds important export flows. Canada has given up on further diversifying its industry and recourse to international trade (of which Canada holds over 3%) is therefore an indispensable condition; its high-tech industrial productions, however,
3 Mineral resources. – In the second half of the twentieth century, Canada has established itself as a large producer of minerals, also due to the initiative of some companies that have rapidly internationalized, despite having previously known the cultivation of gold deposits (especially in the North-West, still very productive), of coal and iron. Currently, Canada is the first world producer of uranium and one of the very first of natural gas, and then again of nickel, cobalt, molybdenum, zinc, copper, all of strategic importance for contemporary industry, as well as of almost all metals. rare, of diamonds (recently discovered in Nunavut), of precious metals.
Coal production, already intense, is in decline as everywhere; that of oil, supplied above all by the Alberta fields, although substantial, is absorbed by the internal market; the production of gas feeds an important flow towards the United States (given the distance from the places of consumption, it was necessary to install a network of pipelines that reaches a total of 50,000 km). The production of energy, moreover, is entrusted in the first place to the exploitation of water potential and not to fossil fuels; with over 70 million kWh installed and over 330 billion kWh produced (2004), Canada ranks first in the world for the production of electricity, which is also exported; a major producer of uranium and cobalt, moreover, Canada has also equipped itself with about twenty thermonuclear power plants.
4 Routes of communication A necessary condition to enhance the Canadian territory and prevent its fragmentation is a continental-scale communications and transport system. The problem was faced and solved already in the nineteenth century, as in the United States, through the opening of railway lines from coast to coast, from which lines of penetration to the North branch off and others of connection to the USA, for a total (2004) of approximately 58,000 km in operation. Another direction in which Canada distinguished itself was the enhancement of inland waterways: if the San Lorenzo waterway (3769 km navigable without interruption, after the great canalization works completed in 1959) is certainly the most impressive, the navigable fluvial and lacustrine stretches are extraordinarily extended and affect almost the entire Canada; to the navigation is added, moreover, the floating of the timber. New Brunswick ; Port Hawkesbury in Nova Scotia; in Québec, Sept-Îles, specialized in iron ore, and Québec-Lévis). The most recent and significant changes, however, are those of the road and motorway network (1,042,300 km in 2005), also in this case innervated by a coast-to-coast line (7700 km of motorway section); and air transport, which can count on just under a thousand airports and landing fields and on a large transport capacity. It should also be emphasized that the complex of maritime, river, lake, land and air infrastructures is highly integrated.