Statistics Canada is the best place to find out statistical information about Canada and Canadians. StatsCan is far more comprehensive an organization than the US Census Bureau. Some key differences between Canada and the States: Canada has a lower infant mortality rate and a longer life expectancy. Almost ten times as many people live in the States. Population of Canada, 1998: 30 675 398 Population of the US, 1998: 270 311 756 Canada has 9,976,100 square kilometers; the United States has 9,372,600. Canada spends more of its gross domestic product (GDP) on education and less on health care than the United States. For more of this kind of information, poke around the StatsCan site and the US Census site. The CIA’s World Factbook is also a good place to look. A bit about government and politics What Americans expect because they’re Americans: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness What Canadians expect because they’re Canadians: peace, order, and good government The capital of Canada is Ottawa, Ontario. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth is Canada’s Head of State and the Queen of Canada. Her representative in Canada is the Governor General, currently Adrienne Clarkson. Canada has a Parliament, not a Congress. Parliament is divided into two chambers, the Senate and the House of Commons. Everyone in the Senate is appointed. Everyone in the House of Commons is elected. The head of the majority party in Commons is the nation’s prime minister and the Head of Government (currently Paul Martin, of the Liberal party). The deputy prime minister is Anne McLellan. Instead of government bureaus, Canada has ministries. There are several major political parties, the biggest of which are as follows: Liberal Party of Canada Conservative Party of Canada New Democratic Party of Canada Bloc Québecois (a separatist party present only in Québec) More about these and other parties, national, regional, and provincial, is available on the Canadian Political Parties/Partis politiques canadiens Web site. That’s the very basics. You can find out more at the “Government at a Glance” section of the Canadian government’s Web site. Random facts Canada has more donut shops per capita than the United States does. Canada’s national animal is the beaver. Canada’s two official sports are lacrosse and hockey. Canada’s national colors are red and white. Canadians consume more Kraft Dinner (aka Kraft Macaroni & Cheese) per capita than any other nationality on Earth.