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Discussion of Canada's official name

Canada's name
Official Name 1

Future TFA paragraph

Main Page

'Establishment' vs 'Independence'[edit]

Can anyone explain why the article says Canada was 'established' from the United Kingdom? The similar processes undertaken in Australia and New Zealand are referred to as 'independence'. NorthernFactoid (talk) 02:45, 11 July 2016 (UTC)

Independence from the British Empire was a slow process. That's the main reason. Walter Görlitz (talk) 04:22, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
There is no specific or single "independence day" for Canada, nor a specific date where Canada was "created". Instead, Canada gained increasing autonomy through various changes over a long period extending well over 100 years, and culminating with the Constitution Act of 1982. trackratte (talk) 22:33, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
None of these explanations explain why 'similar processes' (key words: similar processes) are referred to as 'independence' in the Australia and New Zealand articles. Australia and New Zealand also gained increasing autonomy from the United Kingdom over a long period of time. NorthernFactoid (talk) 22:12, 13 July 2016 (UTC)
Since this article is factually curate based on multiple histories of the country and I cannot speak to the other articles, you should telling the editors of those other articles to aggregate their fecal matter and have them reflect on the error of their ways. If you suggest that we have somehow erred, we would entertain references to support your opinion. Walter Görlitz (talk) 04:50, 14 July 2016 (UTC)
Perhaps the onus should be on you to provide sources that support current wording. I would also ask whether contemporary Canada is an independent country. The answer is an emphatic yes. NorthernFactoid (talk) 03:10, 15 July 2016 (UTC)
You're right. Tag the wording and we'll provide references. Walter Görlitz (talk) 05:00, 15 July 2016 (UTC)

The real (pedantic) question being asked here isn't what the date of Canadian succession from the British Empire was (a long process, as was mentioned above), but rather why some of the articles about countries like New Zealand list dates of increasing "Independence", while the Canada article lists dates of increasing "Establishment". Using New Zealand as an example, once the colony was set up, it was pretty much... done. The group of islands is geographically distinct, and that naturally leads to the whole of them being grouped together. Once they were grouped, the colony's boundaries remained mostly unchanged geographically, gaining increasing levels of autonomy from the British Empire as it slowly disintegrated from the inside out.

The process for Australia was different, but once South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, New South Wales, Queensland, and Victoria (had to look some of those up:() merged in 1901 to form Australia, that was pretty much it. Australia... WAS. Complete. Whole (essentially). It just kinda formed, and then moved slowly toward Independence from Britain.

As I'm sure everyone knows, Canada did not have that smooth path to the formation of its modern borders;). There were no handy geographic markers to "bound" the colonies of Upper and Lower Canada. Rather the borders were merely political contrivances, not easy to examine natural boundaries. You can actually see the effects of this on the modern Canada/US border. It is jagged and silly in places, because the maps at the time were wrong, so the border treaties stated things that didn't make sense in retrospect. Anyway, Canada didn't just poof into existence by edict like New Zealand and Australia, it instead grew slowly over time, in response to various external and internal pressures.

Because of this there can be no clean list of times when "Canada" gained varying degrees of independence, because you'd need to throw in hundreds of asterisks and notes to clarify that the first bit only applied to Lower Canada, and the second bit applied only to Upper Canada, while the third bit applied to the colony of Newfound Land, which wouldn't join with Canada for another 80 some years. And so on. It would be messy, because it would (literally) have to be a book length document. It would not fit in an infobox:P.

This means that the only choice for an article like this is to choose another word. In this case the people who created the infobox (not me) decided that it would be better to list the dates as applying to the long, slow process of establishing modern Canada, rather than trying to negotiate the jungle of deciding what parts of Canada had what level of Independence at what time.

I think that they made the right decision. — Gopher65talk 01:59, 18 July 2016 (UTC)

It wasn't just the geography that made it difficult. At first, Canada relied on Westminster to enact legislation on almost everything, including budget. Slowly, over time, Westminster permitted Canada to enact legislation. The final ties were broken in 1982 when it wrote its own constitution. However, most would argue that it was legally independent by the end of the first world war as it decide whether to send troops to the conflict without intervention from Westminster. Walter Görlitz (talk) 02:19, 18 July 2016 (UTC)

The above discussion, comparing the progressive establishment of Australia, NZ and Canada, and their respective "independence", is interesting. The infobox wording "Establishment from the United Kingdom" seems questionable at first sight, and would need some kind of editing note if placed in main text. It stems from November 2006.[1] If we use the link in the current version of the infobox, we see the job is neatly done: "Canadian Confederation was the process by which the British colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick were federally united into one Dominion of Canada on July 1, 1867. Upon confederation Canada was divided into four provinces: Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. Over the following years since Confederation, Canada has seen numerous territorial changes and expansions, resulting in the current configuration of ten provinces and three territories." This can be seen as a good example of the merits of the Wikipedia method: a number of editors working out how to present the information using the various devices of links, infoboxes, etc., remaining open to further improvement. A bonus in the case of this article is that "establishment" is not only correct according to dictionary usage, though perhaps comparatively unusual in this particular context, but works also in modern French (établissement), and the English word is one of the many which come from Old French.[2] Qexigator (talk) 07:41, 18 July 2016 (UTC)

Representative democracy or not[edit]

The term representative democracy was removed under the rationale that it is in line with other country pages. I reverted essentially with the rationale of other stuff exists. Why does it apply here? If the term describes our situation, leave it in place (although that was not the comment I left). Removed again, this time The US, UK and many other countries are "representative democracies" yet we don't put it in the country infobox. It's put in the "Government and Politics" sections of respective articles. So my question is, why are those other countries not including the term "representative democracy" rather than why should we remove it? Walter Görlitz (talk) 13:46, 24 August 2016 (UTC)

I will respond with an elaboration of my point of view as soon as possible (likely tomorrow; there are some family events going on for me in real life, and therefore my time on Wikipedia will be irregular today.) · | (talk - contributions) 15:15, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
“under representative democracy” has not been put on the infoboxes of other major representative democracies, such as the United States or the United Kingdom. This decreases congestion - in terms of words and length - on the infobox, which is desirable. Users wishing to read in more detail about the government and politics of a country go to the “Government and Politics” section of its page; the infobox provides a short summary. I feel that adding “under representative democracy” is too much.
As the vast majority of democracies are only representative, and that this is assumed on other country pages unless otherwise stated, it seems needless to clarify within the infobox on Canada. On the other pages, information such as being a representative democracy is put in the “Government and Politics” section. We don’t put “multi-party” system in the infobox in multi-party, competitive states; nor do we put “two-party” or any other variation. However, we do put in “single-party” or “dominant-party” in the infobox if it’s relevant. I think that the same should apply to representative democracies, direct democracies and directorial democracies - whereby “representative democracy” is assumed in the infobox unless stated otherwise. · | (talk - contributions) 17:39, 25 August 2016 (UTC)
The addition to the infobox was made on 20 May.[3] Of the two contentions discussed above, it seems that the importance of the concept for federal Canada (see source cited) is such that the inclusion of "representative democracy" in the infobox is acceptable, and relevant in a way that is not necessarily the same as the concept relates to USA or UK. Compare: US infobox "Federal presidential constitutional republic": the description and links suffice. UK infobox "Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy", also suffice. Qexigator (talk) 19:36, 25 August 2016 (UTC)

Error in politics section[edit]

There is an error in the following line under "Politics and Government" section, third paragraph, first line:

"Each of the 338 members of parliament in the House of Commons is elected by simple plurality in an electoral district or riding. General elections must be called by the governor general, either on the advice of the prime minister, within four years of the previous election, or if the government loses a confidence vote in the House.[115]"

According to the official Parliament of Canada website:; the "...Constitution sets the maximum duration of a Parliament at five years." Hence the line in the wikipedia article incorrectly states four years when instead it should state five years. — Preceding unsigned comment added by IMendez (talkcontribs) 14:48, 2 September 2016 (UTC)

Thanks. Corrected. Walter Görlitz (talk) 05:23, 3 September 2016 (UTC)
This was almost certainly changed because of the recent fixed elections date law, which now limits elections to four years after the previous one. But you're correct that constitutionally it's still five years, and the fixed date law could be adjusted or repealed by any future government. So it might actually be better for our article to clarify the four vs. five year distinction in more detail than it does, but it's definitely not correct to just say that four years is the limit in and of itself. Bearcat (talk) 21:18, 15 September 2016 (UTC)

Question - Coat of Arms[edit]

I understand from an old thread that there is a copyright issue in displaying the coat of arms. It looks a bit odd not having it there, especially in mobile view. From whom would I need to obtain permission to use it? Thank you and please advise Tocb (talk) 22:58, 18 September 2016 (UTC)

The crown of Canada (a.k.a. the government of Canada). Bonne chance. Walter Görlitz (talk) 01:12, 19 September 2016 (UTC)

Canada's 2nd Demonym Canuck[edit]

Canada uses the term Canuck as a colloquial demonym it's not considered derogatory or offensive. Canadians use the word casually therefore I believe the term should be placed in the Demonym section of Canada's wiki page next to or below Canadian. IceBrotherhood (talk) 17:33, 17 October 2016 (UTC)

Not common enough....nor is the meaning universal. We are not here to elevate the usage or meaning of slag terms.[1]--Moxy (talk) 04:29, 18 October 2016 (UTC)
While "Canuck" certainly exists, it's a slang usage which would never be used in the official contexts necessary to make it appropriate for inclusion in the infobox. It can certainly be discussed in the relevant contexts in the appropriate articles, but it doesn't belong in the infobox as a demonym any more than Yankee would belong alongside "American" in the infobox of United States. Bearcat (talk) 21:06, 24 October 2016 (UTC)
I recall the Canadian ski team being called the Crazy Canucks. Seems more than just slang. I would argue it's a sobriquet, just as yankee is. It's not a demonym. Walter Görlitz (talk) 05:31, 25 October 2016 (UTC)


  1. ^ William Safire (2008). Safire's Political Dictionary. Oxford University Press. pp. 100–. ISBN 978-0-19-534061-7.