11 Things You Didn’t Know About Canada
1) Canada Gained Independence Only 30 Years Ago
Though the Dominion of Canada was formed in 1867, giving the country the ability to self-govern free from specific British oversight, Canada didn’t really come into its own until 1982.
The final legal step was achieved in 1982 with the passage of the Canada Act, which contained another rule of construction declaring that no future British Act would have effect in Canada. — source
2) Though, The Queen of England Is Still Technically In Charge
Queen Elizabeth II is Canada’s constitutional monarch, and acting through the Parliament-appointed Governor-General she retains symbolic oversight of the country.
The Queen personifies the state and is the personal symbol of allegiance, unity and authority for all Canadians. Legislators, ministers, public services and members of the military and police all swear allegiance to The Queen. Elections are called and laws are promulgated in The Queen’s name. — source
Elections can’t be thrown without the Queen’s permission, and the Governor-General can kick out the current Prime Minister whenever he or she so chooses. But without their intervention…
3) The Prime Minister Could Rule Forever
The head-seat of Canadian federal politics has no term limit, meaning that as long as a leader keeps winning, they can keep ruling. William Lyon Mackenzie King was in charge for 21 years. On the flip side, Joe Clark ruled for 273 days before being kicked out by a vote of no-confidence.
4) Most of Canada Used To Be Owned By A Clothing Company
On March 20, 1869, the Hudson’s Bay Company reluctantly, under pressure from Great Britain, sold Rupert’s Land to the Government of Canada for $1.5 million. The sale involved roughly a quarter of the continent. – source
5) Canada Was Thrown Into Martial Law In the 1970s
In October 1970, a group of french separationists known as the Front de Libération du Québec (FLQ) kidnapped the British trade commissioner and the Québec minister of labour and immigration. In response, Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau enacted the War Measures Act. Think post-9/11 America on overdrive.
Under the emergency regulations, the FLQ was banned, normal liberties were suspended, and arrests and detentions were authorized without charge. — source
When pressed on his plan to implement military rule, Trudeau uttered what is probably the most famous phrase in Canadian political history:
6) Canada Went To War With the United States—And Didn’t Lose
In 1812 a young upstart America thought it would get back at an oppressive British empire by taking over the then-colony of Canada. However,
during the War of 1812… British troops enter Washington, D.C. and burn the White House in retaliation for the American attack on the city of York in Ontario, Canada, in June 1812. — source
The war went back and forth with ultimately no land changing hands—a draw.
7) But It Wouldn’t End Well If It Happened Again
8) The Nazis Got All Up In Our Faces
Dubbed the Battle of St. Lawrence, German U-boats infiltrated the St. Lawrence River that cuts through Québec into the heart of Canada and began picking off supply ships heading to the front lines.
By war’s end, 28 Allied ships had been attacked – and 24 of them sunk – in what historians have dubbed the Battle of the St. Lawrence.
A sideshow to the more lethal Battle of the Atlantic that was waged on the high seas, the inland waterway struggle between the Royal Canadian Navy and Nazi Germany’s U-Bootwaffe, nonetheless, claimed 300 lives. Among them were dozens of civilians, and 11 children under age 10. — source
9) We Were Real Dicks to the Japanese
“In December 1941, the Japanese air force launched an attack on the American base at Pearl Harbour, in the Pacific. Under pressure from Western politicians, the Canadian government rounded up and confined Japanese citizens in British Columbia.” The government took their property and possessions and interned them as prisoners of war. And, though the federal government apologized in 1988—43 years after the war—the province of British Columbia didn’t say they were sorry until two months ago.
10) Canada Provides A Quarter of the World’s Nuclear Material
“Canada is the largest producer of uranium in the world, with 23% of global production in 2007.” And, “nearly 85% of Canada’s uranium production is exported.” It’s also an exporter of nuclear power technology, with Canadian-designed CANDU reactors operating in Argentina, Romania, South Korea, China, India, and Pakistan.
11) And, Canada Is Huge, But Barely Anyone Lives Here
Canada is the eighth least-dense country in the world, with only 8.88 people per square mile. It’s bested by Botswana, Mauritania, Suriname, Iceland, Australia, Namibia, and Mongolia. It would take less than two-times the population of the New York metropolitan area to fully replace Canada’s population. More than 80% of Canadians live in cities, and if it weren’t for immigration the population would probably be shrinking.