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The Commonwealth

The British Commonwealth of Nations

The period between the wars brought the culmination of Canada's growth to independent nationhood within the British Commonwealth. Prime Minister Borden had been included in the Imperial War Cabinet in London. He piloted through the Imperial Conference of 1917 a resolution that the dominions "should be recognized as autonomous nations of an imperial commonwealth." To both the 1919 Peace Conference and the League of Nations Canada sent its own delegates. The Imperial Conference of 1926 confirmed in its Declaration of Equality that the United Kingdom as well as the dominions had become "autonomous Communities within the British Empire, equal in status, in no way subordinate one to another." They were, however, "united by a common allegiance to the Crown, and freely associated as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations." These resolutions were confirmed by the British Parliament in 1931 in the Statute of Westminster. The statute provided that no law passed in the future by the United Kingdom should extend to any dominion "except at the request and with the consent of that Dominion." Canadian sovereignty thus had been achieved by a long process of peaceful constitutional evolution. This was vividly demonstrated by the independent decision of its Parliament that Canada enter World War II at the side of Britain, which it did within a week of the outbreak of hostilities in September 1939.

Commonwealth Member Countries


Published on: 2004-08-05 (11016 reads)

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