While surfing the Web the other day during some rare down time at a busy conference the other day, I learned the CIA publishes a Web encyclopedia on nearly every country in the world. So, naturally, I wanted to have a look at how the good folks at the spy agency view the Great White North, at least for public consumption.
A land of vast distances and rich natural resources, Canada became a self-governing dominion in 1867 while retaining ties to the British crown. Economically and technologically the nation has developed in parallel with the US, its neighbor to the south across an unfortified border. Canada faces the political challenges of meeting public demands for quality improvements in health care and education services, as well as responding to separatist concerns in predominantly francophone Quebec. Canada also aims to develop its diverse energy resources while maintaining its commitment to the environment.
Nothing shocking really, but still interesting, and certaintly a lot of useful and comprehensive demographic data assembled in one place, with easy tools to compare to other countries.
They also identify two transnational issues when it comes to Canada:
Disputes - international:
managed maritime boundary disputes with the US at Dixon Entrance, Beaufort Sea, Strait of Juan de Fuca, and around the disputed Machias Seal Island and North Rock; US works closely with Canada to intensify security measures to monitor and control legal and illegal personnel, transport, and commodities across the international border; sovereignty dispute with Denmark over Hans Island in the Kennedy Channel between Ellesmere Island and Greenland
illicit producer of cannabis for the domestic drug market and export to US; use of hydroponics technology permits growers to plant large quantities of high-quality marijuana indoors; increasing ecstasy production, some of which is destined for the US; vulnerable to narcotics money laundering because of its mature financial services sector