Canada currently has a population of 35.4 million and covers 9,984,670 square kilometres, making it the second-largest country in the world by area. It has two official languages: English and French. Other languages are spoken by the First Nations, the indigenous peoples in Canada. Its capital is Ottawa.
Canada is a federal, constitutional monarchy, and Queen Elizabeth II is its head of state. The Queen is represented in Canada by the governor general, David Lloyd Johnston. The governor general is appointed by the Queen for a term of five years on the recommendation of the prime minister. His tasks are primarily representative in nature.
The Parliament comprises a lower house, the House of Commons, which has 308 members who are elected every five years under a majority voting system, and an upper house, the Senate. Senators are not elected, but are appointed by the governor general on the recommendation of the prime minister and based on constitutionally agreed regional quotas.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservative Party of Canada hold an absolute majority of 161 seats in the Parliament. The opposition is comprised of the New Democratic Party, the Liberal Party, the Bloc Québécois, the Green Party and a few independent members.
Canada is a member of numerous international organisations, including Nato, the Commonwealth and the Organization of American States (OAS).
Administrative structure: Canada is a federal state with 10 provinces and three independent territories. The provinces have their own parliaments and an own right to legislate. The governor is represented in the provinces by vice-governors.
Canada has a gross domestic product (GDP) of 1,473,51 billion euros, making it the eleventh-largest economy in the world. In 2013 its per capita GDP was 33,288 euros. The economy is based on commodities, energy, industry and agriculture.
All sectors in Canada’s economy are heavily dependent on exports, with the USA being its largest trading partner by far. In 2012, exported goods were worth a total of 359.9 billion euros, while imported goods were worth a total of 369.2 billion euros. It was the first year since the global economic crisis in which Canada recorded a trade deficit.
Canada has been a member of the Group of Seven (G7) since the summit meeting in Puerto Rico in 1976. It has organised five summit meetings so far: in Ottawa-Montebello in 1981, in Toronto in 1988, in Halifax in 1995, in Kananaskis in 2002 and in Huntsville, Muskoka in 2010.