Canada`s Growing Autonomy

Canada’s Growing
(independent control of its own affairs)
Canada’s Path to Autonomy
► 1920’s
– major steps toward full autonomy
► “complete control over its own affairs”
► Different
path than the United States
► Peaceful vs. Violent
► World
War I was a major turning point for
During WWI
► Major
contribution as a country
► Key role in allied victories
► New sense of national maturity
► Canada had gained the right to sign the Treaty of
Versailles as an independent nation.
► Canada joined the League of Nations separate
from Britain. (after WWI)
► Canada was still a dominion of the British Empire
though and Britain had the final say in foreign
New Prime Minister
► In
1921, Mackenzie King became Prime
► He
was determined to push for Canadian
events over the next 10 years provided
him with many opportunities.
(1) The Chanak Affair (1922)
► Britain
became involved in a conflict with Turkey
at Chanak (small town that links the Aegean and Black Sea)
► In 1922 Turkey threatened to take control of the
► Britain sent troops and ships, and expected
Canada to send troops to assist.
► PM King was convinced that Canadians did not
want to be involved in a faraway European war
► Canada
and the USA became more “isolationist” in
the 1920’s and 30’s.
► They did not want to become entangled in foreign
► When Britain asked and expected Canada to help,
PM King said Parliament would have to decide.
► This was a huge change from WWI when Canada
automatically joined.
► PM King made it clear that Canada would
determine its own foreign policy.
► Canada’s interests were not always the same as
Britain’s anymore.
Do I Understand?
► Autonomy?
► Canada
vs. USA path to autonomy?
► Canada’s maturity during/after WWI?
► Who became Prime Minister?
► Where Chanak is?
► Why Britain was involved with Turkey?
► The change that has occurred in determining
foreign policy?
(2) The Halibut Treaty (1923)
► Canada/USA
came to an agreement on the
fishing season for halibut in the Northern Pacific.
► This matter was of no direct concern to Britain.
► But Britain had always signed treaties on
Canada’s behalf.
► PM King insisted that it be between Canada and
the USA only.
► Eventually Britain agreed and Canada won the
right to sign treaties with a foreign country on
their own.
(3) The King-Byng Crisis 1926
► King
= PM Mackenzie King
► Byng = Gov. Gen. Julian Byng
► Canada
had a minority government at the time.
► PM King requested that another election be called
► The only person who could grant this request was
Gov. Gen. Byng. He refused it.
► The PM accused Byng of ignoring the advice of the
► The PM said that it was a breach of responsible
► At the next Imperial Conference, PM King was
determined to clarify the role of the Gov. Gen.
(4) The Balfour Report 1926
► At
the next Imperial Conference….
► PM King insisted that the agenda include
discussions on…
the powers of the dominions
► - the relationship to each other
► - the relationship with Britain
Agreements were made and became known as
the Balfour Report.
Dominions were declared “self-governing”
They were independent nations
They would no longer be called dominions of
the British Empire.
d) They agreed to remain part of the
“Commonwealth of Nations”.
e) The Gov. Gen. would only be a representative
of the monarch and not British Parliament.
(5) Foreign Embassies 1927/28
► In
1927, Canada opened its own embassy in
the United States.
► Vincent
Massey became Canada’s first
foreign diplomat.
► In
1928, Canada opened embassies in
France and Belgium.
(6) Statute of Westminster 1931
► Dec
11th 1931
► British Parliament passed the Statute of
► This made the recommendations in the
Balfour Report into law.
► Canada was now completely self-governing.
► Canada had its own laws. Britain could not
nullify or make any laws for Canada.
However, we were not
completely done…
1. The British Courts were still the highest court
for Canadians to appeal to.
2. The Canadian Constitution (B.N.A. Act) was still
a British Act of Parliament. Hence, Canada did not
have control over its own constitution.

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