Canada – Environment and Economy

1. The expression “official area of Canada” refers to the actual landmassof the country, thereby including all inland bodies of water, whereas”Greater Canada” includes external peninsular and coastal bodies of water(e.g. Hudson and James Bay).

2. As Hamelin stated, Canada has been both blessed and cursed by isolationand accessibility. Settlement was not possible in Canada until a relativelyrecent historical period.

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The Canadian coastline, at any point, is toogreat a distance to allow for regular trade via sea, thus creating aneconomic dependancy on the United States, Canada’s oldest and originaltrading partner. This, however, has given Canada a relative amount ofsafety, being too inaccessible in historic battles. Given Canada’s greatexpanse, it was forced to create an extensive communication/transportationnetwork, the first wind from the bellows of Canadian industry. Because ofCanada’s size there are a variety of industries available for cultivation,however because of this diversity no one particular industry is focusedupon and none are truly achieving their economic potential.3.

The average Canadian’s view of Canada is one of a giant land massextending from west to east, capped by hundreds of archipelagoes. Theextent northward is often taken for granted given the practicallynonexistant population (there are no large centres in the north) and thesevered land.4.

There are few people living in the area north of 60 degrees for a fewvery obvious reasons. The sheer isolation is enough to drive any personfrom the area. There are no major commercial centres, and tradeinternational trade is near impossible. The distance from Canada’s singlelargest trading partner (The U.S.) is practically imeasurable. Even if thatwere not the case, sources of income are hard to come by givenencironmental conditions.

Mining and other resource based industries mustdeal with insurmountible cost and risk.5. The most obvious agreements between the US and Canada are the FTA andthe impending NAFTA. These economic agreements superficially remove tradebarriers by eliminating tariffs and allowing the free exchange of goods,however the deal is much deeper than most realize. In the original FTAthere are practically no environmental safeguards; we have all but sold ourlife blood (natural resources, most notably water) to the USA. It appearson the surface to be an act of sheer economic desperation designed to holdfirm the trust and support of America with little thought for futurestability.

The NAFTA will see a surge of industry head south in search ofcheap labour and lower taxes; the effect on the Canadian economy may bedevastating, however the effect on our environment will be twice asharrowing seeing as most of Canada’s air borne pollution problems originatein the US. The ramifications of industry relocating in Mexico, with evenlower environmental standards than the US is terrifying.Cultural contracts abound, however subtle and unspoken they may be.Canadian television is all but controlled by the US; even Canadian stationsare inundated with American product; our press is filled with American newswhile our radios play American music. This influence is impossible toescape from, and most do not bother trying.

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