Portal:History of Canada/Selected article

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Further information: History of Canada

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Portal:History of Canada/Selected article/1

The constitutional history of Canada begins with the 1763 Treaty of Paris, in which France ceded most of New France to Great Britain. Canada was the colony along the St Lawrence River, part of present-day Ontario and Quebec. Its government underwent many structural changes over the following century. The British North America Act 1867 was the act that established the Dominion of Canada, by the fusion of the North American British colonies of the Province of Canada, Province of New Brunswick, Province of Nova Scotia. The former subdivisions of Canada were renamed from Canada West and Canada East to the Province of Ontario and Province of Quebec, respectively. Quebec and Ontario were given equal footing with New Brunswick and Nova Scotia in the Parliament of Canada. This was done to counter the claims of manifest destiny made by the United States of America, for the defense of Britain's holdings. American claims are evinced by the invasions of the Canadas during the British-American War (1812) and the British-American War (1776).Canada obtained legislative autonomy from the United Kingdom in 1931, and had its constitution (including a new rights charter) patriated in 1982. Canada's constitution includes the amalgam of constitutional law spanning this history.

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King George V (seated centre) with his prime ministers at the Imperial Conference of 1926; William Lyon Mackenzie King, Prime Minister of Canada, is seated at the King's left

The history of monarchy in Canada stretches from pre-colonial times through to the present day, though Canada's monarchical status is typically seen as beginning with the first European settlements of what is now Canada; Newfoundland was claimed for Henry VII in 1497 and the establishment of New France by King Francis I took place in 1534. Through both these lineages, the present Canadian monarchy can trace itself back to the Anglo-Saxon period and ultimately to the kings of the Angles and the early Scottish kings. Kings and queens reigning over Canada have included the monarchs of France (to Louis XV in 1763), those of the United Kingdom (to King George V in 1931), and those of Canada (to Queen Elizabeth II as Queen of Canada today). Canadian historian Father Jacques Monet said of Canada's Crown: "[it is] one of an approximate half-dozen that have survived through uninterrupted inheritance from beginnings that are older than our Canadian institution itself."

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First Canadian Army generals in Hilversum, the Netherlands, on May 20 1945

The military history of Canada comprises hundreds of years of armed actions in the territory encompassing modern Canada, and the role of the Canadian military in conflicts and peacekeeping worldwide. For thousands of years, the area that would become Canada was the site of sporadic intertribal wars among Aboriginal peoples. Although not without conflict, European/Canadian (c. late 15th - early 16th centuries) interactions with First Nations and Inuit populations were relatively peaceful. The Inuit had more limited interaction with European settlers during that early period.

After Confederation, and amid much controversy, a full-fledged Canadian military was created. Canada, however, remained a British colony, and Canadian forces joined their British counterparts in the Second Boer War, and the First World War. While independence followed the Statute of Westminster, Canada's links to Britain remained strong, and the British once again enjoyed Canadian support in the Second World War. Since the Second World War, however, Canada has been committed to multilateralism and has gone to war only within large multinational coalitions such as in the Korean War, the Gulf War, the Kosovo War, and the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan. Canada has also played an important role in UN peacekeeping operations worldwide and has cumulatively committed more troops than any other country.

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TransCanada pipeline

The history of the petroleum industry in Canada arose in parallel with that of the United States. Because of Canada's unique geography, geology, resources and patterns of settlement, however, it developed in different ways. The evolution of the petroleum sector has been a key factor in the history of Canada, and helps illustrate how the country became quite distinct from her neighbour to the south.

Although the conventional oil and gas industry in western Canada is mature, the country's Arctic and offshore petroleum resources are mostly in early stages of exploration and development. Canada became a natural gas-producing giant in the late 1950s and is second, after Russia, in exports; the country also is home to the world's largest natural gas liquids extraction facilities. The industry started constructing its vast pipeline networks in the 1950s, thus beginning to develop domestic and international markets in a big way. Despite billions of dollars of investment, her bitumen - especially within the Athabasca oil sands - is still only a partially exploited resource. By 2025 this and other unconventional oil resources - the northern and offshore frontiers and heavy crude oil resources in the West - could place Canada in the top ranks among the world's oil producing and exporting nations. In a 2004 reassessment of global resources, America's EIA put Canadian oil reserves second; only Saudi Arabia has greater proved reserves.

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Monument to Multiculturalism, by Francesco Pirelli in Toronto.

Canadian culture is a term that explains the artistic, musical, literary, culinary, political and social elements that are representative of Canada and Canadians, not only to its own population, but people all over the world. Canada's culture has historically been influenced by European culture and traditions, especially British and French. Over time, elements of the cultures of Canada's Aboriginal peoples and immigrant populations have become incorporated into mainstream Canadian culture. It has subsequently been influenced by American culture because of its proximity and migration between the two countries.

Canada is often characterised as being "very progressive, diverse, and multicultural". Canadian Government policies such as; publicly-funded health care, higher and more progressive taxation, outlawing capital punishment, strong efforts to eliminate poverty, an emphasis on cultural diversity, imposing stricter gun control, and most recently legalizing same-sex marriage - are social indicators of how Canada's political and cultural identities differ from that of the United States.Canada's federal government has influenced Canadian culture with programs, laws and institutions. It has created crown corporations to promote Canadian culture through media, such as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), and promotes many events which it considers to promote Canadian traditions. It has also tried to protect Canadian culture by setting legal minimums on Canadian content in many media using bodies like the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).

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Canadians (singular Canadian) are people who are identified with the place and country of Canada. This connection may be genetic, residential, legal, historical, cultural or ethnic. For most Canadians, several (frequently all) of those types of connections exist and are the source(s) of them being considered Canadians. Aside from the Aboriginal peoples, who according to the 2006 Canadian Census numbered 1,172,790, 3.8% of the country's total population, the majority of the population is made up of old world immigrants and their descendents. After the initial period of British and French colonization, different waves (or peaks) of immigration and settlement of non-aboriginal peoples took place over a period of almost two centuries and is currently ongoing. Elements of Aboriginal, French, British and more recent immigrant customs, languages and religions have combined to form the culture of Canada and thus a Canadian identity. Canada has also been strongly influenced by that of its linguistic, geographic and economic neighbour, the United States.

The Canadian Citizenship Act of 1946 took effect on 1 January 1947. Prior to that date, Canadians were British subjects and Canada's nationality law closely mirrored that of the United Kingdom. As Canadian independence was obtained incrementally over the course of many years since the formation of the Canadian Confederation in 1867, World War I and World War II in particular gave rise to a desire amongst Canadians to have their country recognized as a fully-fledged sovereign state with a distinct citizenship. Various legislation's since the mid 20th century represents Canadians' commitment to multilateralism and socioeconomic development.

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King George VI and Queen Elizabeth meet with Nakoda chieftains, who display an image of the King's great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, in Calgary, 1939.

The relationship between the Canadian Crown and Aboriginal peoples of Canada stretches back to the first interactions between European colonialists and North American indigenous peoples. Over centuries of interaction, treaties were established concerning the monarch and aboriginal tribes. Canada's First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples have, like the Māori and the Treaty of Waitangi in New Zealand, come to generally view these agreements as being not between them and the ever-changing Cabinet, but instead with the continuous Crown of Canada, as embodied in the reigning sovereign. These agreements with the Crown of Canada are administered by Canadian Aboriginal law and overseen by the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.

The affiliation between the Aboriginal peoples of Canada and that country's reigning monarch is said to be a mutual one; "cooperation will be a cornerstone for partnership between Canada and First Nations, wherein Canada is the short-form reference to Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada." Governing this are the various treaties signed by aboriginal leaders and agents of the Crown, wherein aboriginal rights are defined and their sovereignty is reconciled with that of the monarch for "as long as the sun shines, grass grows and rivers flow."

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