Canada – Environment and Economy 1. The expression “official area of Canada” refers to the actual landmass of 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 isolation and accessibility.
Settlement was not possible in Canada until a relatively recent historical period. The Canadian coastline, at any point, is too great a distance to allow for regular trade via sea, thus creating an economic dependancy on the United States, Canada’s oldest and original trading partner. This, however, has given Canada a relative amount of safety, being too inaccessible in historic battles. Given Canada’s great expanse, it was forced to create an extensive communication/transportation network, the first wind from the bellows of Canadian industry. Because of Canada’s size there are a variety of industries available for cultivation, however because of this diversity no one particular industry is focused upon and none are truly achieving their economic potential.
3. The average Canadian’s view of Canada is one of a giant land mass extending from west to east, capped by hundreds of archipelagoes. The extent northward is often taken for granted given the practically nonexistant population (there are no large centres in the north) and the severed land. 4. There are few people living in the area north of 60 degrees for a few very obvious reasons. The sheer isolation is enough to drive any person from the area.
There are no major commercial centres, and trade international trade is near impossible. The distance from Canada’s single largest trading partner (The U.S.) is practically imeasurable. Even if that were not the case, sources of income are hard to come by given encironmental conditions. Mining and other resource based industries must deal with insurmountible cost and risk. 5. The most obvious agreements between the US and Canada are the FTA and the impending NAFTA. These economic agreements superficially remove trade barriers by eliminating tariffs and allowing the free exchange of goods, however the deal is much deeper than most realize. In the original FTA there are practically no environmental safeguards; we have all but sold our life blood (natural resources, most notably water) to the USA.
It appears on the surface to be an act of sheer economic desperation designed to hold firm the trust and support of America with little thought for future stability. The NAFTA will see a surge of industry head south in search of cheap labour and lower taxes; the effect on the Canadian economy may be devastating, however the effect on our environment will be twice as harrowing seeing as most of Canada’s air borne pollution problems originate in the US. The ramifications of industry relocating in Mexico, with even lower 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 stations are inundated with American product; our press is filled with American news while our radios play American music. This influence is impossible to escape from, and most do not bother trying.