sounds like you got an AVCHD camera. I have one and love it. If that is what you have then I can advise you on a few options. It really helps to tell us more than just having a Canon camera. For instance, what is the model (Mine is the Canon Vixia HF-100).
It also helps to let us know what computer your running. Mac or PC so we can give you suggestions accordingly. I'll try to sum up a quick scenario for both if it is an AVCHD cam.
Mac: imovie comes with OSX and can handle your videos and allow you to edit them. not sure about premiere elements but supposedly version 7 supports AVCHD. I know for sure that Premiere Pro supports AVCHD but that gets pricey especially if your just looking to do basic editing. If you want to get a little more involved then Final Cut Express is fairly inexpensive and will help you dive into what most systems generically look and feel like these days. But in case your looking to spend the loot, then don't rule out Final Cut Studio. It is real nice. I find myself bouncing back from Premiere Pro to Final Cut and back again. At first I thought native was the shiz, however, I'm not so sure now. It works, but if i get really involved and do tricked out stuff transcoding to another format just has to be done as sad as it is to say.
PC: Adobe Premiere Elements 7 is one option. A lot of people seem to be using Sony Vegas. One sidenote is that you can't use the base Vegas Movie Studio package that's around 50 bucks. To edit AVCHD you have to go a step up to Vegas Movie Studio Platinum. The next step up is Vegas Movie Studio Platinum Pro Pack. Finally the Top of the Line Sony Product is Sony Vegas Pro. I have used Vegas Pro years back and they have a lot of concepts in their software package that make sense however, if your looking to get Vegas Pro, I probably would recommend that you get Premiere Pro instead. The layout and just overall the functionality of Sony's edit suite doesn't mimick the usual standard layouts that others editors seem to embrace. So switching from Vegas to another edit suite might confuse you later down the line. Learning premiere was easy for me because I knew Final Cut as well as Avid, all of which have a sort of familiarity to them. Avid Nitris DS was probably the hardest editor/finishing system I have had to learn.
If your just looking to turn the clips you take into something watchable. I would suggest the NEW Elgato Turbo HD h.264 hardware encoder that plugs in to your computer regardless of mac or pc and converts your video clips into video files that play nice with quicktime. Quick and easy to understand software from what I hear. The last model apparently sucked but the new one that supports AVCHD apparently works pretty good.
Hope this helps.
(Message edited by iamnathanhudson on April 03, 2009)