Canada, officially English and French Canada [ kænədə, English; kana because, French], state in North America (2018) 37.1 million residents; The capital is Ottawa.
According to the Constitution Act, which came into force on April 17, 1982, which abolished the last legal ties to Great Britain and guaranteed fundamental rights and freedoms, Canada is a federal state with a parliamentary form of government within the Commonwealth. The head of state is the British Queen Elizabeth II. , represented by a Governor General appointed on the proposal of the Canadian Prime Minister (since 2015 J. Trudeau ) (since 2017 Governor General J. Payette [* 1963]).
The legislature lies with the bicameral parliament, consisting of the upper house (Senate) and lower house (House of Commons). The House of Lords has 105 provincial and territorial senators appointed by the Governor General on the proposal of the Prime Minister. Senators must be between 30 and 75 years old and from the state they represent. The (since 2015) 338 members of the lower house are elected for 5 years (majority voting system). Both chambers work together on an equal footing when it comes to legislation. In the federal structure, the federal parliament has the most important legislative powers (e.g. for foreign policy, defense, currency, criminal law, international traffic); the remaining areas fall within the competence of the provinces. The executive is formally appointed by the governor general, de facto, however, perceived by the government chaired by the Prime Minister. The position of Prime Minister is strong on the British model; he is appointed by the governor general as leader of the majority party and in turn appoints the other members of the cabinet, which is responsible to the lower house.
Canada has extremely close political and economic ties with the United States of America, with which it is linked in the North American Free Trade Area (NAFTA). As a founding member of NATO, Canada pursues a multilateral foreign policy and is one of the member states of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE); Canada is also part of the G7 group at the World Economic Summit.
The most influential parties in the parliamentary system of government are the Liberal Party of Canada (LPC, founded in 1867), the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC, formed in 2003 through the union of the Canadian Reform Conservative Alliance and the Progressive Conservative Party), the New Democratic Party (NDP, founded in 1961), the Bloc Québécois (BQ, founded in 1990) and the Green Party of Canada (founded in 1983).
The Parti Québécois (PQ, founded in 1968), which only exists in Quebec, stands for the full sovereignty of this province.
The largest umbrella organization is the Canadian Labor Congress (CLC; founded 1956) with (2016) 3.3 million members.
The total strength of the volunteer army is around 66,000, that of the paramilitary forces (especially coast guard units) 4,500 men. In 1968 the traditional structure of the armed forces was dissolved, and the following »Functional Commands« took their place: The Mobile Command (intervention command) with around 34,800 soldiers essentially comprises three mechanized infantry brigades as well as an anti-aircraft and engineer regiment. The Maritime Command (naval command) with about 11,300 men leads the sea and sea air forces in the Atlantic and Pacific, the Air Command (air force command) with about 19,900 soldiers the flying combat, transport and training squadrons. About 31,000 men belong to the reservists. – The country is a founding member of NATO.
The law is based on the English common law (often superimposed by laws), in the province of Quebec – with its own bilingual civil code since 1866, completely new since 1994 – on pre-Napoleonic French law. Provincial law is in particular “property and civil rights” and thus in principle general private law. Federal law is primarily citizenship and immigration law, criminal law, marriage and divorce law, bankruptcy law, and copyright and patent law. Legislative competence is precisely delimited according to the constitution between the federal government and the provinces, but there is also cooperation (“cooperative federalism”).
According to Trackaah, the national flag of Canada was introduced on February 15, 1965. In the middle of the red cloth it shows a white square with a red maple leaf.
The coat of arms, awarded in 1921 by the British King George V, shows a shield divided into two parts. The head of the shield is split and bears the three golden, looking English lions in the first red field, the red Scottish lily border with a red lion in the second golden field. The blue middle row, which is also split, shows the golden Irish harp in the third field and the golden French lilies in the fourth field. The entire base of the shield is covered by a silver field on which three (since 1957 red) maple leaves. Shield bearers are the British lion and the Scottish unicorn, who wear the British Union Jack on silver tournament poles or lead the French lily flag. In the upper coat of arms on a golden spade helmet with a red and silver helmet cover the crowned British lion, above which the crown of the British royal family hovers. Heraldic shield and shield bearer rest on a banner with the motto “A Mari Usque Ad Mare” (From sea to sea); under the ribbon a bundle of roses (symbol of England), lilies (France), thistles (Scotland) and clover leaves (Ireland).
National holiday: July 1st commemorates the gaining of de facto independence in 1867 (“Canada Day”).