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Coalition Governments in Canada

Coalition governments are created when different political parties co-operate by forming a temporary alliance large enough to enjoy the confidence of Parliament, allowing them to form a government. Members of all parties in the coalition are appointed to Cabinet. This sometimes happens when no single party has achieved a majority of seats in the House of Commons or provincial legislature. Federal coalitions normally appear during periods of crisis such as war or political breakdown. The strengthening of party affiliations and the development of the party system since Confederation has made coalitions more difficult to negotiate. Politicians have become wary of the long-term results of coalitions and are reluctant to introduce them.

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Cobalt

Cobalt (Co) is a brittle, hard, greyish-white magnetic metal that melts at 1495°C and that closely resembles iron and nickel. It is not found as a native element.

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Billion Dollar Gift

Billion Dollar Gift, the Canadian government's first comprehensive attempt to help finance Britain's war effort during the Second World War. Canada's war production, and its wartime prosperity, was dependent upon British orders, but Britain lacked gold and dollar reserves.

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Bioethics

The word bioethics is formed from the Greek word for life (bios) and the traditional word for the systematic study of right conduct (ethics).

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Beaver (Steamer)

From 1862 to 1874 the HBC trader became Her Majesty's Hired Survey Ship Beaver. After the HBC sold the ship in 1874, it was used as a workhorse and tow until 1888, when it was wrecked in the First Narrows in Vancouver harbour. Only a few relics remain.

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Mayflower

Mayflower, common name for the trailing arbutus (Epigaea repens), a creeping, woody, evergreen plant belonging to the heath family.

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Canada's History

Canada's History (until 2010, The Beaver), a magazine published by the Hudson's Bay Company, was started in 1920 as a staff magazine as part of the company's 250th anniversary celebrations.

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Beaver Club

Beaver Club, Montréal club, founded in 1785. Admission was restricted to fur trade veterans of the pays d'en haut.

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Bear Attacks

Infrequent attacks on humans have been made by grizzly (or brown), black or polar bears. Bears can run at speeds exceeding 50 km/h, are significantly stronger than people and can inflict serious injury.

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Birch

Birch (Betula), genus of trees and shrubs of birch family (Betulaceae). About 50 species are found in Arctic and northern temperate regions worldwide

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Atheism and Agnosticism

An atheist believes there is no God. An agnostic believes we are unable to know whether or not there is a God. Although the word "agnosticism" was invented by T.H. Huxley (1825-95), the position is very old, going back to the Greek Sceptics.

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Bearberry

Bearberry, or kinnickinnick, trailing, evergreen shrub of heather family. Flexible, rooting branches grow up to 2 m long, are covered with reddish, shreddy bark and bear alternate, dark green, oval leaves.

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Art

Objects of curiosity as well as of conquest, the Indigenous people of the New World were first depicted on maps by illustrators who had no direct knowledge of their subject.

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Uranium

Uranium oxide was first identified in 1789 by M.H. Klaproth in the MINERAL pitchblende, but its distinctive property of radioactivity was discovered much later (1896) by Henri Becquerel.

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Astrophysics

Astrophysicists use many branches of physics: nuclear physics to study power-generation in stars; atomic physics to understand the spectra of stars and gaseous nebulae; and gas laws and magnetic theory to probe starspots and flares on star surfaces.

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Assembly of First Nations

The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is a political organization representing approximately 900,000 First Nations citizens in Canada. The AFN advocates on behalf of First Nations on issues such as treaties, Indigenous rights, and land and resources. The AFN's Chiefs assemblies are held at least twice a year, where chiefs from each First Nation pass resolutions to direct the organization’s work. There are over 600 First Nations in Canada.

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Star

A star is a large, self-luminous sphere of hot gas held together by its own gravitational force.