Canada’s Growing Autonomy (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 Canada. 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 affairs. New Prime Minister ► In 1921, Mackenzie King became Prime Minister. ► He was determined to push for Canadian autonomy. ►6 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 area. ► 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 again. ► Canada and the USA became more “isolationist” in the 1920’s and 30’s. ► They did not want to become entangled in foreign conflict. ► 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 vs. King Byng ► Canada had a minority government at the time. ► PM King requested that another election be called early. ► 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 government. ► The PM said that it was a breach of responsible government. ► 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. a) b) c) (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 Westminster ► 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.