While taking a geography class, it is necessary not only to know the geographic information but also to be able to compare it. The paper investigates the differences and similarities between the geography of Spain and Canada, their political structure, language, culture, economic base, climate, agriculture, environment, tourism, topography, population density, and national security.
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Spain is a democratic parliamentary state headed by the King. The legislative, executive, and judicial powers in the country are divided. The legislative power belongs to the Parliament of Spain that consists of the representatives of the Spanish nation and is elected every four years. The executive power belongs to the government.
According to its political structure, Canada is a constitutional monarchy. It is a federative state that consists of ten provinces and three territories. The parliamentary system in Canada is based on the democratic values. The majority of laws has the origins in the legislature of the British Parliament. However, there are many differences between the Canadian Parliament and the British counterpart. The legislative power in Canada belongs to Queen Elizabeth II and the two Chambers of the Parliament.
Language and Culture
According to Briney (n.d.), the official language of Spain is Spanish. However, in certain regions of Spain people speak Catalan (17%), Galician (7%), and Basque (2%) languages. They have co-official status in these communities.
The culture of Spain is one of the most ancient cultures on the continent. It was formed under the influence of many external factors. In the ranking of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Spain occupies the third place.
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The article “General Information on Canada” (n.d.) states that there are two official languages in Canada: English and French. The official status of these languages is enshrined in the Constitution. 67,1% of the population consider English to be their mother tongue while French is native for 21,5% of people in Canada.
The culture of Canada is based on the peculiarities of its indigenous people. It was also influenced by the traditions of the English and French settlers. Moreover, the country carries out the policy of multiculturalism to allow the immigrants, who came later to influence the culture of Canada.
The economy of Spain is the fifth largest economy in the European Union. Moreover, it is the twelfth biggest economy in the world.
The economy of Canada occupies the fourteenth place in the world according to the amount of GDP and the tenth place according to the amount of GDP. The geographical proximity to the United States has a positive influence on the economy of the country. The free trade agreement between the two countries is beneficial for the economic situation in Canada.
Despite the fact that the Pyrenean peninsula is surrounded by the seas almost on all the sides, their influence is not significant in the central part of Spain. The mountain chains that stretch along the coastal line protect the country from the outer impact. The coldest period lasts from December to February, the warmest one – from June to September. According to the article “Weather in Spain” (n.d.), on the interior central plateau the average winter temperature is -15°C while in summer it is +24°C.
The main factors that influence the climate conditions in Canada are the closeness of the Arctic Ocean and the mountain chains that block the western oceanic winds. The Canadian climate is characterized by a cold winter and a mild damp summer. On the Western coast and Vancouver Island, the climate is oceanic, and winters are mild and rainy due to the influence of the Pacific Ocean. The article “Canadian Geography and Climate” (n.d.) notes that winters are cold and snowy in Canada, the only exception is southwest British Columbia where winters are usually rainy. In summer, the temperature can reach +30°C or more.
Spain occupies one of the top places in the world for the production of olives, oil, citrus fruits, grapes, and wine. The country is among the top ten fishing countries. However, the agriculture of Spain does not satisfy its needs. There exists a lack of animal products, and it is necessary to import grain.
Canada has efficient agriculture and is the second biggest exporter of agricultural goods in the world. Agriculture does not only provide the country with the necessary products but also plays a central role in the international trade providing almost 1% of GDP. The export of grain is one of the most important branches of the agricultural export of Canada.
According to Briney (n.d.), tourism in Spain started developing in the 1960s. At that time, Spain became one of the most favorite touristic countries for the citizens of Great Britain, France, Central and Northern Europe. Spain takes the fourth place among the most visited countries. The number of tourists is bigger only in France, the United States, and China. The country offers visitors almost all types of tourism.
Tourism in Canada is majorly concentrated around the four biggest metropolitan zones in the country. They are Montreal, Vancouver, Toronto, and Ottawa. These areas are well-known due to their historic sites, national parks, and cultural diversity.
Topography and Environment
Spain is located in the southwest of the European continent. It occupies the major part of the Iberian Peninsula, the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea, and the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean. In the west, Spain borders on Portugal, in the north – on France and Andorra, and in the south – on Gibraltar. In Northern Africa, there are located the cities of Ceuta and Melilla. Briney (n.d.) notes that the general length of the borders is 1917,8 km and the length of the coastal line is 4964 km. The capital of Spain is Madrid.
Canada is located in the northern part of the American continent. The country has the longest coastal line in the world. In the south, the country borders on the United States. The country possesses Baffin Island, the islands of Victoria, Devon, Banks, Newfoundland etc. The capital of Canada is Ottawa.
Briney (n.d.) states that in 2012 the population of Spain was 47.270.354 citizens. Spain occupies the fifth place among the biggest countries in Europe according to the number of people who live there. However, the density of its population is smaller in comparison with other countries of the Western Europe. The population density is 94,03 people/km. 92% of the population growth is provided by immigrants. By the 1st of January 2005, in the country there lived 3,5 million of immigrants that composed 8% of the population.
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According to the article “General Information on Canada” (n.d.), the population of Canada by the beginning of 2010 was 34 million people. Due to the vast territories, the density of the Canadian population is 3,5 people /km. The growth of population is majorly provided by the increasing number of immigrants. Three-fourths of the Canadian people live within 160 kilometers of the U.S. border. The same proportion exists if to compare the number of citizens of metropolitan zones with the rural areas.
According to L. Mesters (2011), in Spain there was issued the document named the Strategy of the National Security. It was created by Javier Solana, who had earlier developed a similar strategy for the European Union. It includes the defense against at least nine potential hazards such as terrorism, natural disasters, wars, economic instability etc. In modern society, the new risks appear on a regular basis. Thus, it is impossible to prevent them only with the help of one governmental institution. It is necessary for Spain to develop the new strategy that will suggest a set of measures that will include all the possible risks and problems.
The national security of Canada is provided by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. It is responsible for the collection, storage, analysis, and distribution of secret data concerning the threats to the national security of the country. It conducts undercover and open operations in Canada and beyond the borders of the state. The organization provides the Canadian Parliament with the information concerning the problems and processes that may threaten the stability of the country. It also investigates and evaluates individuals who want to gain access to the secret information in federal ministries and agencies. The organization does not have any territorial limits when collecting the secret data concerning the possible threats. The investigations may be conducted both in Canada and all over the world.
To summarize, the two countries do not have many differences in terms of their political structure, language, culture, economic base, climate, agriculture, environment, tourism, topography, population density, and national security. Both of them have a democratic government, the population of the countries speaks different languages, and the economic base occupies a significant position in the global market. Moreover, Spain and Canada have long coastal lines, the climate is moderated by mountains, tourism is highly developed, and the population density in the two countries is comparatively low. Lastly, the two states have a system of national security. The only difference consists in the ability of the countries to provide their citizens with agricultural products.