Canada is the second largest country in the world after Russia and its border with the U know is the longest in the world (8891 km). The two countries are linked by solid bilateral relations, especially in the economic sphere. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), signed by Canada and the US in 1988 and extended to Mexico in 1994, represented an effective economic and commercial tool for deepening cooperation between member states. Although the USAare Canada’s main trading partner – with an exchange that reaches 77% of Canadian exports -, since the early 1970s Ottawa has started a strategy of diversification of commercial interlocutors, thus attempting to reduce its dependence on the US economy. It identified first the European Union (E u) as its main partners, then China and, more generally, the Asian area. Ottawa and Brussels signed the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (Ceta) on 18 October 2013, an important economic-trade agreement pending ratification, which aims to improve economic integration and facilitate investment flows between two areas. For Canada government and politics, please check a2zgov.com.
From the Asian economic powers, Ottawa instead aims to obtain above all new investments in the country and the construction of pipelines to export energy raw materials to Asia. The growth in trade with China now makes Beijing Canada’s second largest trading partner. The two countries have also intensified dialogue in areas other than the economic one: from cultural exchanges to health policies to enhance medical research, to programs to promote democratic development and the protection of human rights. In the Pacific area, Canada is also developing relations with the member countries of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (A pec), of which he is a founding member. It is no coincidence, therefore, that Ottawa is among the twelve signatory countries of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (T pp), the free trade area which, if ratified by the various parliaments, will unite the Americas with Asia on a commercial level.
Canada is also very active in the G7 (formerly G8) and G20. In 2010, the government organized two summits in Muskoka and Toronto, respectively. In these fora, Ottawa has for years hoped for solid international economic cooperation based on the values of sustainability and balance. Furthermore, Canada insists on the need to involve non-G20 countries in the international economic and trade dialogue, as well as to pursue common policies on health, environment, peace and security.
On the political level, Canada has traditionally held positions of openness to multilateralism and active involvement in international organizations. The country plays an important role in the international arena also thanks to the presence of national contingents in peacekeeping missions both within NATO and under the United Nations banner.
For some years the country has also been increasing its ambitions towards the Arctic, the polar region disputed by the countries that surround it due to the important resources kept in its subsoil. Alongside the rearmament policy undertaken to possibly address the various territorial claims (especially by Russia and Denmark), Ottawa has joined a mission to map the Arctic seabed, with a view to presenting its candidacy to the United Nations to obtain sovereignty over the North Pole.
Institutional organization and internal politics
Canada obtained semi-independence from the United Kingdom in 1931, following the Statute of Westminster, which established the almost total transfer of power to the local authorities which, up to that moment, governed what was the Canadian Dominion of British Empire. Only in 1982, Ottawa became completely independent with the Constitution Act, which made it possible for the Canadian parliament to change its Constitution without having to obtain the consent (in reality now only formal) from London. However, Canada remains a member of the Commonwealth of Nations and still recognizes the British monarch as its head of state.
While Canada is a de facto parliamentary system, it is therefore formally a constitutional monarchy with a federal system comprising ten provinces and three territories.
The British Crown is represented by a governor general (currently Sir David Lloyd Johnston), who is appointed by the monarch for five years on the recommendation of the prime minister. The latter is formally responsible for the management of executive power on the basis of the appointment by the House of Commons, which confers confidence on the government. In essence, that of the governor is essentially a symbolic charge.
Canada has an imperfect bicameral system, with an elected lower house, the House of Commons, and an upper house, the Senate. The Chamber, elected by universal suffrage for a term of maximum five years, has 308 members, while the Senate has 105 members. These are appointed by the Governor General on a proposal from the Prime Minister on the basis of a criterion of geographical representativeness and remain in office until the age of 75. Alongside the federal institutions, each province has its own legislative chamber, with competences in various areas such as health, public education, agriculture – in a balance between central and local institutions that sees the former, as opposed to what happens in others. federal systems, much more relevant than the latter.
In the past, the House of Commons has never been in office for the five years provided for by the Constitution: the governor general, usually at the request of the prime minister, has always dissolved parliament within a maximum of four years after the elections. A deadline that, without prejudice to the Constitution, in 2006 through an amendment to the Canada Elections Act was in practice indicated by the parliament as natural by setting, at the same time, regular general elections on the third Monday of October every four years.
The system has historically been characterized by an imperfect bipartisanism that flanked the two major political parties (Conservative Party and Liberal Party) various minority groups, which were sometimes decisive in parliamentary support for the majority. It also happened in the 2008 parliamentary elections, as a result of which the Quebec Bloc and the New Democratic Party had won enough seats to prevent the two majority parties from reaching the 155 necessary for an absolute majority. The resulting government, headed by conservative Stephen Harper, was therefore a minority executive. The early elections in May 2011, following the parliamentary distrust of the premier, however, reversed the trend: they assigned the conservatives an absolute majority of seats (165 out of 308 in the House of Commons) and strengthened the position of the prime minister. Also, for the first time, Quebec bloc went from 47 to just 4 seats.
New elections were held in October 2015, ending Harper’s conservative era. The Liberal Party thus returned to power, partly arousing surprise among international observers. Harper resigned as Conservative leader and Justin Trudeau, Liberal leader, chose members of the new government. Among the main objectives of the liberals is greater promotion of environmental sustainability. Indeed, Trudeau has promised to impose new limits on polluting emissions and to donate additional funds to the green economy. However, the government also supports the construction of the Keystone XL, the pipeline that, if built, would link Canada to the southern states of the United States.. Precisely in the United States, however, there is strong opposition to the project by environmentalists and by President Obama himself.