Is Canada the greatest country?

Introduction

Although the question "Is Canada the greatest country to live in?" may seem like a nationalistic question to boost our Canadian pride, I believe that there are many arguments to be made for both sides.

In this presentation, you will see many topics show up. Topics ranging from immigration to the many land-forms, from imported products to exported products, and most importantly life in Canada.

Changing Populations

Canada has been has been experiencing large amounts of immigrants since its establishment in 1867. In fact, the first Canadian prime minister was an immigrant: John A. McDonald and his family immigrated from Scotland.


As of now, Canada allows around 250 000 immigrants to migrate every year. Moreover, Canada has approached the Syrian refugee crisis with open arms, planning to settle 25 000 migrants. Canada has had this open-arms approach towards immigrants for quite a while and is great because it gives newcomers a new shot at life. Being a developed country, immigrants are provided with many opportunities that they might not have had back home (assuming they emigrated from a developing country).


Canada's immigration system wasn't always this glamorous: there have been many dark spots in the past. Examples of Canada rejecting the immigration of certain groups of people include:

  • the black Oklahoman farmers in 1910
  • the 1914 incident with the Punjabis aboard the Komagata Maru
  • the 1923 Chinese Immigration Act
  • the Jewish immigrants from 1920 to World War Two

Even worse, between 1900 and 1910 (before any of the above happened), Canada let people with origins from France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Norway, Poland, Sweden, and Ukraine migrate to Canada with numbers reaching into the millions. But that is (for the most part) as bad as it would get.


In 1972 Pierre Trudeau would pass the Canadian Multiculturalism Act, with unanimous support of Parliament, which would prevent racial and cultural discrimination. This meant that migrants could enter Canada without being discriminated against. This lead to the introduction of immigrants to Canada on a massive scale. As of the 2011 census, foreign-born immigrants represented 20.6% of the total Canadian population. Keep in mind many of these immigrants may have had children after their introduction to their new homes, resulting in people like myself and many of my classmates.


The introduction of immigrants to this country has had a positive impact on Canada. Many of the most well-known people from Canada are actually immigrants or the descendants of immigrants:

  • Naheed Nenshi (Mayor of Calgary)
  • Michaelle Jean (Former Governor General of Canada)
  • Russell Peters (Comedian)
  • Nazem Kadri (Hockey Player for the Leafs)
  • Alexander Graham Bell (Inventor of the Telephone)
  • Mike Lazaridis (Founder and Vice Chairman of BlackBerry)
  • Abęl Makkonen Tesfaye or The Weeknd (Singer/Songwriter)


In conclusion, the Canadian immigration system is a great feature for Canada, but it also has had its flaws. But as of now, it is a great system and Canada should be able to benefit from it into the future. This makes Canada a great place to live in because these changing populations allow for great diversity and multiculturalism.

Physical Geography

Canada is a country of great physical features. The land forms found within Canada are very diverse. There are very desirable and (relatively) warm landforms like the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence lowlands, and the Western Cordillera, and there are also freezing areas like the Innuitian Mountains. Along with these landforms, there are lakes, mountains, prairies, ocean coastlines, rocks, and vegetation and trees.


The diversity in climates and natural features throughout Canada make Canada a great place to live in because there are so many places to choose to live in. There are the mountainous regions (Appalachians, Western Cordillera, Innuitian Mountains), the lowlands (Great Lakes / St. Lawrence Lowlands, Hudson Bay/Arctic Lowlands), the plains (Interior Plains), and the rocky landforms (Canadian Shield). There are almost enough land forms to appeal to everyone! As of now, the Great Lakes / St. Lawrence lowlands and the Western Cordillera are the more densely populated landform regions in Canada, as they include large cities like Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, and Vancouver.


All of these landforms have different qualities. Many are very rich in minerals, others have very fertile soil, and others may have mountains. These features result in the great natural beauty found within Canada. The Appalachian mountains and Western Cordillera possess many mountains. This is because they are very (or once were very) close to plate borders and whenever these plates would collide, mountains would often be formed. The Western Cordillera is placed near the border of the North American plate and Pacific plate, while the Appalachians were once on the border of the North American plate and the Eurasian plate (this is why the mountains in Ireland are very similar to the Appalachian mountains). Other landform regions in Canada are rich in vegetation and possess very fertile soils like the Great Lakes / St. Lawrence Lowlands and the Interior Plains. Both of these landform regions have mineral rich soil because of the many sediments within the soil itself. These make for great farming regions, and as a result, many rural farming communities can be found within these two landforms. What makes the Great Lakes / St. Lawrence Lowlands different from the Interior Plains is that the lowlands consist of many forests. Additionally, there are also icy, almost uninhabitable landform regions like the Hudson Bay / Arctic Lowlands and Innuitian mountains. These landforms are located closer to the Arctic circle, and some parts of these regions are actually in it. This makes for a much colder climate as they are located farther away from the equator. There is also one more landform region, the Canadian Shield, which can be distinguished from the others because of its eroded and very hilly terrain. The Canadian Shield can also be differentiated from the other landform regions because of its minerals like diamonds and emeralds. Throughout the Canadian Shield, many lakes and rivers can be found. Numerous precambrian rock can be found exposed in this landform, in fact, the Canadian Shield consists of the largest mass of exposed precambrian rock on the whole of Earth.


Canada has lots of natural beauty with its mountains, lakes, rivers, and forests, but and the end, most of Canada's land isn't populated (by humans). In fact, around 10% of Canada's land is populated by us. This is because those regions are either too cold, too mountainous, or because it consists of water (Canada has the most lakes as a country). This is bad because this means that only the southern portion of Canada is populated, and will continue to populate in the future.


Water is an essential need for human life. Although 71% of Earth is water, 96.5% of that water is held in oceans which means that it is saltwater and not usable for us to drink. The water that we can drink is called freshwater, and Canada just happens to have 20% of the world freshwater within its boundaries. This great for the people who live within Canada's borders because this means that (most of the time), they will be getting freshwater straight from their taps, and will not require additional filtering. In other countries that don't have close-by freshwater supplies, their tap-water often has to be filtered several times before being clean enough to be safe to drink. These countries also often get drinking water from bottled water companies, which increases the price of water- a basic human need.


But when it comes to natural disasters, Canada is much less vulnerable to natural disasters. Since most of Canada is located off and far from the borders of the North American plate, earthquakes are less likely to occur. This is because earthquakes require the shifting of two tectonic plates. The only part of Canada that may be at risk for this is western coast for the reason that it is the closest part of Canada to the plate borders. In comparison with countries like Japan and Haiti, the effect that an earthquake would have on Canada would be significantly less because there are plate borders that run near if not through those nations.

When it comes to natural disasters that require large bodies of water (like oceans, seas) like Hurricanes, Canada is also comparatively safe. This is due to the fact that these natural disasters, (along with the need of large bodies of water) need warm to moderate temperatures, unlike most of Canada's bodies of water. The Hudson Bay, Arctic Ocean, and Canada's northeastern (Atlantic) and northwestern (Pacific) are way too cold for a hurricane to last, and the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence rivers are to narrow or small. Hurricanes are often healthier in bodies like the Caribbean and Oceania, because they are moderately warm, and if hurricane does occur in one of those regions, it would be especially devastating because there are many small islands.

Resources and Industries


Along with Canada’s natural beauty, Canada also has many natural resources. These natural resources are the base of the main primary industries of Canada: fishing, farming, forestry, minerals, and energy. These natural resources and their corresponding industries are very beneficial to Canada and its economy but can sometimes have downsides environmentally. In the next few paragraphs, I will explain the positive and negative aspects (if it has any) of the primary industries.


Farming

Farming produces almost all of our food. It provides us with meat, wheat, vegetables, fruits, and dairy products. This industry creates lots of jobs and brings in lots of money when exported, but it requires very dedicated farmers to manage the farms for an entire year, and for several consecutive years which can be and often is very exhausting. But farming can be harmful to livestock because they are often being bred with each other, which can decrease biodiversity and make these animals more vulnerable to diseases. Having our food grown locally results in cheaper food because the transportation cost is reduced, as for if you have food imported, the cost can be much higher. You can see this argument in action during the winter when fruits and vegetables that can be grown here cannot be grown because of the cold.



Fishing

Fishing, which is also a food-related industry, provides us with seafood. Canada’s fishing industry has lots of space to work with as Canada has the most lakes and rivers than of any other country. In fact, over half of the lakes on Earth are located in Canada! In other words, Canada has more lakes than all of the other countries combined! But does all this water mean that its fishing industry is also as big? Well, yes: Canada’s fishing industries catch and export $4.9 billion dollars worth of fish. The fishing industry fights poverty in Canada, providing approximately 80, 000 people with jobs and the aquaculture industry provides around 14, 000 jobs as well. But it isn’t all good, some parts of Canada overfish due to the increasing demand, which can potentially eliminate those species. Although when situations like this happen, the government can start a moratorium (ex. cod moratorium in Newfoundland), new alternatives are being discovered: aquaculture. Aquaculture is a form of farming, but farming fish instead, and is the fastest growing food activity in the world.


Forestry

Canada has one of the largest forestry industries worldwide, and has 9% of the world’s forests. The forestry industry provides us with furniture, paper, structural panels, and many other products. But these trees are often being cut down in unsustainable manners (like clear-cutting), which can damage our environment, as trees can provide us with oxygen, and they purify our air as well. Often times, deforestation is also a side-product of this industry, but following sustainable practices can easily solve that issue. On the bright side, this industry provides Canadians with 36, 000 jobs directly, and 500 000 jobs indirectly. Forestry in Canada altogether generates around 81 billion dollars every year.


Minerals

The Canadian mining industry is fundamental to Canada’s economy, contributing around 44 billion dollars (2013). Moreover, Canada is the largest is the largest mineral exporter worldwide! The minerals industry has three parts: metals, nonmetals, and coal. Out of the three, metals contribute the most to the economy, contributing around 23 billion dollars. The nonmetals contribute to around 16 million dollars, while coal contributes about 4.5 billion dollars.


  • Metals include: copper, zinc, nickel, uranium, iron,and gold

  • Nonmetals include: diamonds, potash, sand and gravel, cement, stone, and salt


Some products that this industry provides include electric wire, glass, ceramics, fertilizer, steel, coins, nylon, fleece, and many more. On the topic of products, the mineral industry has contributed massively to the expansion of Canada’s transportation system. A problem with the mining system in Canada though, is that 50% of the mined minerals are exported before smelting and manufacturing. This means that the jobs related to smelting and manufacturing aren’t being given to Canadians.



Energy

Energy is arguably becoming a need for us humans in the 21st century. It gives us the ability to do what was once unthinkable, and it lets us travel faster. The energy industry is split up into oil and gas, coal, and electricity. Oil and gas provides us with fuel for travel, while electricity provides us with countless services. In fact, Canada is one of the largest oil producers, and exports large quantities of crude oil. Along with oil and gas, coal provides around $4.5 billion dollars to our GDP annually, and also provides 55, 000 jobs. On the other hand, electricity is huge. As of now, in the tech era, electricity powers our homes and cities. At this point in time, electricity also provides us with entertainment, communication, and is changing the way we learn, work, and live in general. Altogether, our energy industry also faces many challenges. Most of the time, the extraction of our energy results in pollution, and can harm our environment in numerous ways:

  • Oil and Gas leak into our environment

  • Hydroelectricity can cause flooding, and destroy habitats

  • Thermoelectricity contributes to acid precipitation

  • Nuclear electricity results in nuclear/radioactive waste

Industries in Canada

Now that we know all of our primary industries, it is time to look at Canada's other industries as a whole.

The primary industries are the basis of all of the industries in Canada, and the concept can be applied to the rest of the world. Think of any physical product, and you will be able to trace it back to its roots as a natural resource extracted by the primary industries. For example, let's take a laptop. The electrical wires are from the minerals industry, the energy to run it is from the energy industry, etc.


In conclusion, we may ask ourselves the question "How does it affect us?" and there are many answers to that question. The most prominent answer will be that all of these industries contribute to the economy, and the better these industries perform, the more prosperous the economy will become. Living in an economically prosperous country and city will have benefits on all citizens by letting the government to spend the extra money on improvement on services like education and healthcare.

Liveable Communites

Canada is a large country, the second largest, but in relation has a small population of 35 million people, which is the 37th largest. As a result of the low concentration of people in Canada, most of Canada is uninhabited, and often because it is uninhabitable. Referring back to the Physical Geography section, only about 10% of Canada is populated. This is because our population isn't spread out like most other countries, instead, our population is mostly located on the southern edge, closer to the border of the United States of America. All the big cities in Canada fall in this region: Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal. This pattern is clearly visible in population density graphs.
Big image
Once again, as mentioned earlier on, the northern parts of Canada are often low in population due to the fact that it is very cold, mountainous, or that there isn't very much civilization up there to start off with. Another pattern you can see in the map above is that most of our big cities are located within the boundaries of the red line and the border. The red line shows the the area 100 km from the US border, and within those boundaries are Victoria, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal.


Cities and Jobs

In Canada, there are 5 main types of cities: Manufacturing cities, Transportation hubs, Tourist cities, Government centres, and Resource-based communities. This is ideal for people ready to enter the workforce because it categorizes cities into what sectors they excell at. So, say you wanted to become a civil engineer, you might want to live near a Transportation hub, as civil engineers improve and build railroads, highways, airports, etc.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I believe that Canada is one of the greatest, if not the greatest country to live in. Although it may have flaws, as a country it has so many resources and features that if any other country were to have the same, I'm sure that the two scenario would be similar. Canada has natural beauty, in fact, it is known to, and meanwhile Canada also has many resources. Canada has one of the largest oil reserves on the planet, but it has to manage it more sustainably. Canada has to improve upon its weaknesses while holding on to its strengths. I don't believe that there is any country out there that is perfect in every aspect, and the same goes for Canada.

Works Cited


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