QGIS display your data using the projection you tell it to use. By default, the lat/long projection (= Equirectangular projection, example aside) is used, code: WGS84 lat/lon (EPSG:4326). This projection is the most convenient for georeferencing, but imply strong distortions at polar latitudes. You may be interested to set a projection when you start a project, or to reproject (warp) an existing lat/long project to a specific projection just before to export your final image or svg. Indeed, each country often have a specific conventional projection to minimized distortions of its geographic space.
First, you have to find the definition of your source projection/file. It's a kind of long equation which definite the properties of each projection. So:
QGis (1.7) > (double click on the layer to reproject) > Layer's properties (window pop up) > tab 'Coordinates Reference System (CRS)' > Layer Spatial Reference System : [projection's definition] > (copy it)
In progress Which new projection for my map ?
Secondly, you have to choice your target projection.