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.

Discovery of Canada

Rediscovery and Exploration

Cartier's Explorations

End of the First Colonizing Effort

The Founding of New France

The Father of New France

For the Glory of God

Seigneur and Habitant

Governor, Intendant, and Bishop

French and English Rivalry

The Final Struggle for the Continent

Early British Rule

The Quebec Act of 1774

The United Empire Loyalists

Upper and Lower Canada

Settlement and Exploration in the West

The Selkirk Settlement

The War of 1812

Struggle for Self-Government

Mackenzie and Papineau Rebel

The Durham Report

Canada West and Canada East

The Colonies Grow Up

The Confederation Idea

Dominion from Sea to Sea

New Dominion Is Launched

Macdonald's National Policy

The Age of Laurier

Canada and World War I

Canada Between the Wars

The British Commonwealth of Nations

Canada and World War II

Postwar Developments

Centennial of Canadian Confederation

Quebec Separatism

Modern Canadian Leadership

Native Peoples Issues