Xi Jinping in His Own Words
What China’s Leader Wants—and How to Stop Him From Getting It
WITH the passage of the Statute of Westminster by the London Parliament last December the era of the development of dominion autonomy was brought to a successful conclusion. Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the Irish Free State and Newfoundland are now completely self-governing countries, having travelled -- in a period of time very short in the life of states -- the whole distance from colonies controlled direct from London to equal partners in a free association of nations. No further constitutional changes of fundamental importance may be expected in the future, for there are now no legal or political restrictions left to be removed; even the abolition of the oath of allegiance, if not accompanied by a definite act of secession, would leave the Crown as a symbol of unity and the formal head of every dominion government; and secession itself would alter the area rather than the nature of the Commonwealth.
At this beginning of the New Empire it is worth examining in some detail the international position of the senior and most important dominion, the Dominion of Canada. What factors determine her relations with the outside world, and how are these relations affected by membership in the British Empire? These questions are of particular interest in view of the Imperial Economic Conference scheduled to be held at Ottawa in July, where Canada, as the largest, the most populous, and industrially the most advanced of the dominions, is bound to play a leading part.
Canada, it must be remembered, is a North American federal state, whose population is approximately 58 percent of British origin, 27 percent of French origin, and the rest of mixed descent, mostly European. She is a member of the League of Nations as well as of the British Commonwealth. Before the present depression began, she ranked fifth amongst the countries of the world in absolute volume of foreign trade and second in per capita volume. From such data the study of her international situation must start; the inquiry, indeed, will largely be an analysis of the details and implications of these fundamental facts.
It will be convenient to deal first with those problems which arise from Canada's geographical position in North America. Here a striking fact is that her Arctic frontier has not yet received international recognition. There is a vast area of some half million square miles lying between the 141st meridian of longitude on the west, the Canadian mainland on the south, and the 60th meridian and Kennedy Channel on the east, up to the North Pole. Within this territory the Canadian Government maintains a number of permanently occupied posts, but scarcely enough to establish the effective occupation required by international law as a test of sovereignty. The entire area, however, including lands to be discovered as well as those already known, is claimed by Canada in virtue of a convenient doctrine called the "sector principle," according to which all states bordering on the Arctic are supposed to own the lands within the sector created by extending their eastern and western frontiers to the Pole. The principle, while favored by some other northern states, has not been generally admitted, and Norway expressly refused to accept it when recognizing Canada's sovereignty over the Sverdrup Islands in August 1930. At the present moment the fixing of these boundaries is not a live issue, but it would be foolish to deny its potential importance. More will be heard of Canada's Arctic claims if and when the northern air routes come to be developed. The MacMillan expedition of 1924 made this clear.
On the east and west -- outside of the Arctic area -- Canada's frontiers are settled, as a result of the Alaskan Boundary Award of 1903 and the Labrador decision of the Privy Council in 1927. It is noteworthy that on both sides Canada is contiguous with another Power; the Dominion not only stretches "from sea to sea," as every Canadian schoolboy is taught, but also from the United States to Newfoundland. Population along these frontiers is so sparse, however, that for all practical purposes the United States is Canada's only neighbor. Nevertheless, as a state bordering on the Pacific, Canada is interested in the whole question of Pacific relations, and is a signatory of the Nine Power Treaty guaranteeing the political integrity of China.
On the south Canada is separated for some three thousand miles by a "mere tariff" from one of the most powerful states in the world. To the great satisfaction of the purveyors of international good will this frontier is unfortified. Whether the conclusions drawn from this happy situation are consistent with the fact that defense would be for Canada impossible, and for the United States superfluous, need not be decided. What matters is that history and geography have combined to place Canada in such a position vis-à-vis the United States that no weapons save moral ones are of any use in the last resort to protect Canadian independence. The Fathers of the Canadian Confederation believed that the union of the British North American colonies would create a country capable of self-defense even as against the United States, but they could not foresee the size of the American colossus nor the slowness of Canadian growth. The tradition of friendly intercourse between the two countries is now so strong that it is almost impossible to conceive its being broken. Nevertheless, the necessity for Canada to maintain these good relations is obvious, and this of itself determines Canadian foreign policy more than any other single factor -- more even than her membership in the British Commonwealth. And if any lesson is to be learned from the history of other nations situated close to the United States, it is that Canada cannot with safety do anything to imperil or destroy American investments within her borders. If the Dominion Parliament, to take a conceivable case, were to embark upon a policy of progressive socialization of Canada's natural resources, many of which are now being exploited by American capital, it is certain that the opposition of private interests affected would create an extremely delicate situation. Mexico's experience in 1917 is an example and a warning.
As an American state Canada enjoys the protection of the Monroe Doctrine. No one, American statesmen not excepted, knows exactly what that protection means, but the Doctrine is probably sufficiently clear to exclude from practical Canadian politics the likelihood of an invasion by the army of a non-American state. That this is no slight advantage to Canada is evidenced by the smallness of her military establishment. The existence of the Monroe Doctrine, like the existence of the St. Lawrence River, is an objective fact that must necessarily be taken into consideration in determining Canada's defense needs. On the other hand, it is somewhat of an exaggeration to say, as many do, that Canada is shirking her responsibilities as a nation in thus hiding behind the American Navy; it is most unlikely that the Dominion's expenditure on armaments would be increased one dollar by a sudden abandonment of the Monroe Doctrine by the United States. Precisely the same may be said of Canadian reliance upon the British Navy; Canadians do not feel that it is maintained, or need be maintained, for them. Canada has no traditional enemies, and potential ones are hard to find. At bottom this feeling determines the public's attitude far more than the belief that the United States or Great Britain may possibly be Canada's ally in the event of an invasion. The Scandinavian example in disarmament is one that Canadians think they may safely follow.
The St. Lawrence and Great Lakes waterways system is a further geographical factor which affects Canada's international relations. From the point of view of navigation, the St. Lawrence throughout its entire length belongs as much to the United States as to Canada. The right of free navigation and equal treatment forever was accorded American vessels by the Treaties of 1871 and 1909. It extends not only to the river itself, but also to all existing and future canals connecting boundary waters on either side, so that Canada cannot build new canals solely for the benefit of her own ships. Furthermore, all questions relating to boundary waters are of mutual concern, and come within the jurisdiction of the Joint Commission established in 1909. The St. Lawrence is thus to some degree an international river, and Canada, quite apart from her treaty obligations to the United States, is subject to all the rights and duties of riparian states as recognized by international law. The development of the waterways system for power and navigation purposes will leave this position unaltered, though doubtless many more questions will arise for joint settlement.
Finally it may be noted that geography makes Canada eligible for membership in the Pan-American Union. So far no political party in Canada has advocated her occupying the empty chair at Washington, despite the fact that the South American members are most anxious for her to join in order that they may have, as they expect, another ally in their endeavor to withstand the dominating influence of the United States. The reasons for Canada's aloofness are probably to be sought not so much in the fear of this influence as in the lack of any positive advantage to be gained by joining. Indeed, there might be grave disadvantages, since Canada would be forced into taking sides in disputes between the United States and the Latin American republics, and thus in making enemies of one or the other. A section of opinion in the United States appears to take the view that Canada's membership in the British Commonwealth disentitles her to pose as an American Power, but this objection can hardly carry much weight with Canadians, who are already separate members of the League of Nations and quite accustomed to attending international conferences in an independent capacity.
Leaving now the problems created by geography, and turning to those resulting from political affiliations, we note the significant fact that Canada is a member both of the British Commonwealth of Nations and the League of Nations. Her membership in the Commonwealth creates for her a somewhat anomalous position vis-à-vis the rest of the world. Within their own borders Canadians are as completely free to make laws as any people.[i] And yet in the family of nations Canada is not wholly sovereign, since from the point of view of international law she does not quite possess a full personality. She is sufficiently a person to be able to make separate trade and political treaties of an ordinary nature, but not to make separate peace or war, which remain a part of the royal prerogative exercisable only on the advice of the British Government. The possession of the general treaty-making power is so much the more valuable in their everyday affairs that Canadians are apt to consider it the only important aspect of their external relations, and to relegate all discussion of the separate war problem to the realm of academic speculation. In this they are partially justified, since Canada has sufficient control even over her international affairs to meet the ordinary requirements of her national life. She may make such separate treaties as she desires, apart from matters of peace and war, subject only to the conditions agreed upon at recent Imperial Conferences that no treaty affecting any other part of the Commonwealth will be made by a member without previous consultation with that part, and no treaty actually binding another member will be made without its positive assent. If these conditions are fulfilled, constitutional practice makes the ratification of Canadian treaties in London purely a matter of form.
Despite the unconcern of the Canadian public over the question of separate war, however, the legal fact that the British Commonwealth can only be at peace or at war as a whole is of the greatest importance in determining Canadian foreign policy. The enemies of any one part of the Commonwealth are by law the enemies of all parts. A skirmish on the Afghan frontier, the rebellion of a native tribe in East Africa, an Arab-Jew riot at the Wailing Wall -- and the Canadian is astonished to find himself implicated by a rule of international law which considers him a subject of the King whose government, or one of whose governments, is responsible for the suppression of the disturbance. It is true that within the Commonwealth there is an express understanding that each Dominion is at liberty to decide for itself how far it chooses to participate in hostilities begun by a fellow member. Seen from the inside, the British Commonwealth is thus clearly not an offensive and defensive alliance, and if an enemy chose to respect Canadian citizens and Canadian property when fighting against, for example, Great Britain, it is conceivable that Canada might preserve a state of de facto neutrality -- or perhaps it might be more accurately described as a state of neutral belligerency. The mere fact, however, of the realization that Canada was legally at war would give almost irresistible weight to the cry of that ultra-imperialist party within Canada which desires to stand by the mother country in every struggle no matter what its cause. This is where the divisions of race and sentiment in the mixed Canadian population become an important factor influencing Canada's external relations.
The imperialist group in Canada comprises a very considerable portion of all Canadians of British origin; it is especially strong and vociferous, of course, amongst politicians and public figures of British extraction. It would keep the Empire (it does not like or understand the new term "Commonwealth") united at all costs. To the French-Canadians, on the other hand, as to the bulk of the foreign immigrants, British Imperialism is simply the British form of imperialism; they are grateful for such liberty as they are allowed in Canada, and would defend Canada from invasion, but no more desire to fight British wars than English-Canadians do to fight French wars. Thus far in Canadian history the imperialists have had it all their own way when it came to a question of actual fighting. Canada has never yet refused to come to the aid of Great Britain, not even in such a questionable cause as the Boer War of 1899. To do so would undoubtedly create a serious rift between imperialists and nationalists within the country. Yet the fact that 42 percent of Canada's population is of non-British origin makes participation in such a struggle the occasion of great social strain. Abundant evidence of this can be found in the relations between French and English Canadians during and after the Boer War and the World War. The Imperial connection, therefore, will always be the cause of domestic difficulties in Canada in so far as it confronts her government with a decision of assisting or not assisting Great Britain on any casus belli that does not directly threaten Canadian soil. There seems no remedy for this situation save by the elimination of everything that can be looked upon as a "British" war. For this reason Canadian national unity will be greatly strengthened by the work which the League of Nations is doing, and by the decline of jingoist imperialism. The latter movement is proceeding very favorably in Canada; in particular there is a younger generation of English Canadians growing up which has gone far toward meeting the French Canadian viewpoint, and which looks upon the Commonwealth as good only in so far as it provides Canada with opportunities of peaceful international coöperation.
Canada, then, as a member of the British Commonwealth has slightly less control over her foreign affairs than she would have as an independent state. It is still true to say, in the words of one of the more realistic phrases of the 1926 Imperial Conference Report, that "the principles of equality and similarity, appropriate to status, do not universally extend to function." Great Britain, though by definition of equal status with her dominions, is in fact superior in function, and because of her predominant position in the Commonwealth and the world frequently has had to make alone decisions on international matters which directly or indirectly affect Canada in common with the other dominions. Thus the negotiations concerning the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923, the recognition of the Soviet Union in 1924, and the Locarno agreement of 1925, were all carried through without dominion consultation. Even the question of the status of India, which may result in the creation of a new dominion of full rank, is being settled by Great Britain and India alone as if the other dominions were in no way concerned.
The fact is that the dominions are not yet anxious to push the doctrine of equal status to its logical conclusions. Logic would bring added responsibilities; therefore let there be no logic. The Commonwealth has not troubled even to create effective machinery for securing coördinate action on foreign affairs. It is assumed that every situation can best be dealt with by ordinary diplomatic methods. The usual channels of communication as between Canada and Great Britain are through the Dominion Department of External Affairs and the Dominions Office in London; alternatively the Canadian High Commissioner in London may be instructed by Ottawa to present the views of the Canadian Government to the British Government; on very important and pressing matters Premier may talk to Premier over the long distance telephone. These methods, it will be noted, make communication between Ottawa and London no simpler than communication between Ottawa and Washington. At the Imperial Conference general lines of policy are discussed and views are freely exchanged, but the Conference meets irregularly and has no proper and permanent secretariat, so that in the intervals between the sessions the members of the Commonwealth are scarcely in closer contact than so many independent countries.
While the existence of the Commonwealth thus creates a rather anomalous position for Canada in the family of nations, it undoubtedly confers upon her certain very definite advantages. It has forced Canada into the world arena and thus prevented her from becoming what she would otherwise have become, an isolated, provincial-minded and exclusively North American state. It has broadened the outlook of her people and taught them to some extent to think in world terms. It has given her, as member of a most powerful political unit, more international prestige and influence than would be accorded herself alone. In particular it affords to Canadian citizens the free use of a fully developed diplomatic and consular service. Wherever Canadians choose to travel or trade they find at their disposal the protection and help of British Foreign Office officials, and by virtue of the common British nationality foreign states are bound to accord the Canadian and his property the same consideration that they accord the Englishman. All this is done at no cost to the Canadian taxpayer, whose own foreign service, consisting of legations at Washington, Paris and Tokio, is woefully inadequate for the protection which his extensive foreign trade requires. Canadian trade commissioners are stationed in many parts of the world, but they have no diplomatic status and therefore no direct access to foreign governments. Great Britain at the 1930 Imperial Conference made a further concession for the benefit of the dominions. It was agreed that in future it would be possible for dominion governments to negotiate directly with foreign governments through the medium of the resident British Ambassador or Minister, without the necessity of communication via London, wherever the matter under discussion is not one "of general political concern." Trade treaties exclusively affecting a dominion and a foreign Power are by definition excluded from the latter category. That is to say, the British representative becomes a Canadian representative when the negotiations are of purely Canadian concern. In cases where the matter affects also Great Britain or the rest of the Commonwealth it is understood that advice from London will be sought by the British official before the request of the dominion is carried out.
Besides being a member of the Commonwealth, Canada is a member of the League of Nations. She thus stands officially for that type of internationalism which the League promotes. She agrees to coöperate in its various activities, to settle disputes by arbitration rather than by war, to abide by League decisions as to the sanctions to be applied to unruly fellow-members. In a hypothetical case, if Japan were to go to war contrary to her undertakings as a member of the League, in such a way as to involve the application of Article XVI of the Covenant, Canada might be asked to sever all economic and financial relations with her, and to stop all trade between Canadian nationals and Japanese nationals. As the total value of the Canadian-Japanese trade for 1930 amounted to some $33,000,000, such a severance would place a strain on the Canadian conscience somewhat greater than that resulting from the existence of a communist government and forced labor in Russia which was the official reason for the Canadian embargo upon Soviet products of March 1931. Fortunately no occasion has yet arisen to test how far the Canadian people would sacrifice their pecuniary interest to preserve international peace. Certainly in so far as mere signatures can make her, Canada is fully committed to the principle of arbitration. She is a member of the World Court, a signatory of the Optional Clause for the settlement of justiciable disputes, and in June 1931 she gave notice of her accession to all four chapters of the General Act for Pacific Settlement of International Disputes, with the reservations permitted by the Act. In addition she adheres to the Briand-Kellogg Pact. It is important to note, however, that inter-Commonwealth disputes are excepted from the operation of the League machinery, being left for settlement to the optional, ad hoc tribunal suggested by the 1930 Imperial Conference, while Canada's relations with non-members of the League, and with members who are non-signatories of the arbitral conventions, remain governed by the usual diplomatic methods. For example, since the lapsing of the British Arbitration Treaty of 1914 with the United States, Canada has had no specific arrangement for the obligatory arbitration of all disputes with that country, although she shares in the good will promises of the Pact of Paris and must refer boundary-water questions to the Joint Commission. No doubt the optional power of the latter body to hear any dispute referred to it would be employed if the necessity arose, but there is a gap here that might well be filled by an all-in arbitration treaty.
At the League meetings Canada acts almost entirely as a sovereign state. Her membership in the Commonwealth does not prevent her from voting on most League matters as she sees fit, and votes contrary to those of the British delegates are not infrequent. The Canadian delegation receives instructions as to its action from Ottawa and not from London. It is customary, however, for the various dominions to consult together upon the major League issues in an endeavor to reach a common agreement first, and it is understood that in the last resort no dominion will destroy the constitutional unity of the Commonwealth by independent action incompatible with that unity. Canada would not be obliged to resort to coercive measures against another member of the Commonwealth, and neither Article X nor Article XVI can be read as giving the dominions a separate right of war, since this is an impossibility according to the constitutional law to which they are subject. To this extent, but to this extent only, Canada belongs to a British bloc at Geneva.
Thus far the implications arising from Canada's geographical position and from her political affiliations have alone been considered. It remains to discuss the chief consequences of her very important rank in the world of international trade. These economic relations will, of course, be determining factors at the Ottawa Conference this summer. As already stated, in the year 1929 Canada had the second largest per capita export trade of any country, and ranked fifth in absolute volume of goods exported. That is to say, Canadians were very largely dependent for their prosperity upon the continued willingness and ability of other peoples to buy the goods they produce.
This dependence upon foreign trade has been a characteristic of Canada's economic life ever since her earliest days as a colony. Under the French régime the principal commodities exported were furs and fish; lumber and wheat were developed during the early period of English economic control. The repeal of the Corn Laws by Great Britain in 1846, which brought relief to the English working classes, brought Canada to the verge of ruin and drove her into reciprocity -- and almost political union -- with the United States. When England allowed Canada to become self-governing in economic matters the line of development previously laid down was not departed from. Canada continued to be a world trader even when she became a manufacturer, for the natural resources of the country were so rich that to have exploited them solely for the benefit of the home market would have restricted the pace of economic growth in a way the industrialists could hardly have been expected to accept. Under modern methods of production Canada has been able to push this industrialism to a point where she is the competitor of Great Powers. As each new factory sprang up, whether built by Canadian or American capital, the Canadian public accepted it as proof of economic growth and stability, without realizing that it usually meant increased dependence upon world conditions. The result is that Canadian trade figures show a startling difference between total production and home consumption. Eighty percent of the western wheatfields must go out of production if Canada is to consume her annual crop of wheat -- and wheat raising until recently has been Canada's major industry. An analysis of fourteen leading Canadian products for the year 1929, covering the items of wheat, flour, fish, copper, gold, nickel, lead, asbestos, silver, zinc, paper, wood pulp, motor cars and beverages, shows internal consumption of only 37 percent, the remaining 63 percent being sold abroad. In that year 33 percent of Canada's total production of every kind was exported. This is a very different situation from that existing in the United States, where the export trade has absorbed only some 10 percent of production. The necessity of marketing this great surplus of commodities must always be the principal concern of Canadian foreign policy.
Not only is Canada's foreign trade a very large percentage of her total trade, but it is also spread among foreign countries with complete disregard of her political and sentimental affiliations. From the time when she first achieved economic self-government, Canada has followed what she has thought to be to her own economic self-interest first and has given second place to the needs of Empire solidarity. Despite the British preferences and trade treaties with other dominions and colonies, Canada has been growing steadily more independent of the Empire in matters of trade. Exports to Great Britain, for example, have declined from 54 percent of her total exports in 1906 to 25 percent in 1930, and imports from 24 percent to 15 percent in the same period. Today some 76 percent of Canada's imports come from, and 64 percent of her exports go to, non-British countries. Her major economic interests lie, naturally enough, with the United States. Fifty-five percent of Canada's foreign trade and 60 percent of her foreign investments are with her southern neighbor, while on the other side of the picture the United States has looked upon Canada (until recent tariff changes) as her "best customer," and has placed some 25 percent of her total foreign investment there. In 1930, of $6,125,000,000 of foreign capital in Canada, it was estimated that $3,727,000,000 was American and only $2,228,000,000 British, the latter figure being somewhat less than British investments in Argentina. With foreign countries other than the United States Canada has of late become heavily involved commercially; in 1914 they took only 7 percent of her exports, but in 1929 nearly 25 percent.
These statistics suggest some of the hard facts with which the Ottawa Conference will start. It would be foolish to deny that British sentiment in Canada is still powerful enough to influence in some degree the direction of Canadian trade, and if the patriotic note is played adroitly at Ottawa it may persuade many Canadians to attempt to reverse the trend of recent years and to build up again the imperial commercial unity that has gone. If it can be assumed, however, that the Canadian manufacturer has hitherto sought out and found the most profitable markets for his goods, it is clear that the effort to force the flow of Canadian trade from its existing channels into new imperial ones will call for costly as well as elaborate readjustment. Mr. Bennett's unwillingness to make that readjustment caused the failure of the 1930 Imperial Conference in London. Since then continued depression and the possibility of British tariff retaliation have somewhat lowered the resistance of the vested interests in Canada which would be called upon to make the sacrifices, but it remains to be seen how far they can with profit abandon their present economic affiliations.
What is the constitutional machinery with which Canada, a federal state, conducts these extensive foreign and imperial relations? The prime responsibility technically rests with the "Governor-General in Council," but actually -- as in all British practice -- with the Cabinet. It is the custom in Canada for the Premier to act as head of the Department of External Affairs; it has not yet been considered necessary to appoint a special minister to the post. This department carries on the usual duties of a foreign office or department of state, and looks after the Canadian legations in Washington, Paris and Tokio. For the negotiation of treaties and conventions the practice varies. If it is to be a formal treaty between His Majesty on behalf of Canada and a foreign state, it is usual for a grant of full powers to be issued from London by the King to the Canadian representative on advice from Canada. After signature and submission to the Canadian Parliament, the treaty will be ratified by His Majesty, again on advice from Canada. The fact that credentials and ratification must still be sought in London is a mere survival of traditional form, and leaves Canada as free to control her foreign relations as the Irish Free State, for example, to whose governor a portion of the royal prerogative in foreign affairs has actually been delegated. If it is a convention or mere agreement between governments that is being negotiated the Canadian representative will receive instructions from Ottawa only and ratification will be given by the Canadian Governor-General in Council. In such a case no use need be made of the London machinery at all. Canadian delegates to Geneva are instructed in this way, and numerous Canadian conventions are so ratified.
Some treaties and conventions need legislation by the parliaments of the contracting Powers in order to give effect to their provisions. There has been much uncertainty amongst Canadian judges and constitutional lawyers as to which parliaments in Canada -- the Dominion or the provincial -- possess this legislative capacity. The matter is not settled expressly by the British North America Act, which is the statutory basis of Canadian federalism. Section 132 of the Act declares that "The Parliament and Government of Canada shall have all Powers necessary or proper for performing the Obligations of Canada or of any Province thereof, as Part of the British Empire, towards Foreign Countries arising under Treaties between the Empire and such Foreign Countries." It will be noticed that the legislative capacity conferred by this section upon the Dominion Parliament relates only to matters covered by treaties "between the Empire" and foreign countries. The questions that have arisen are: What is an "Empire Treaty?" Does the whole British Empire have to be a party, or does the term include treaties which His Majesty signs on behalf of Canada alone; and, in particular, does it also include conventions and agreements ratified in Ottawa without the use of the royal signature at all?
The questions are of the utmost practical importance. The Canadian provinces, like the American states, have certain spheres of activity reserved to them. In this provincial sphere fall such matters as the regulation of hours of labor and social legislation generally. If the Dominion Parliament has not been granted full authority by the Canadian Constitution to make laws giving effect to all Canadian treaties and conventions, and if it follows as a consequence that the Canadian provinces cannot have their sphere of legislative activity invaded by such Dominion laws, the result will be to prevent the Dominion from entering into and putting into force any international arrangement which is not part of an "Empire treaty," and which affects provincial matters in some degree. Canada would become, for many international purposes, nine states instead of one. The Dominion Government might adhere to the convention but the provincial governments might have it in their discretion to give effect to the convention or not. This is precisely what has happened to many conventions issued under the auspices of the International Labor Office. The Dominion has agreed to them, referred them to the Provinces -- and there they have died.
In two very recent judgments, in which was discussed the jurisdiction of the Dominion in regard to Aviation and Radio Broadcasting, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council has thrown much light upon the problem of treaty legislation. In the Aviation case the treaty in question was the international Convention relating to the Regulation of Aërial Navigation of 1919, which was ratified by His Majesty on behalf of the whole Empire in 1922. This was clearly an Empire treaty within the meaning of Section 132 of the B. N. A. Act, and was so held, and Dominion legislation passed to give effect to it was consequently validated. In the Radio case, the convention discussed (the International Radiotelegraph Convention of 1927) was of a different order: it was not a treaty signed by His Majesty on behalf of the Dominion of Canada, but simply an agreement signed by Canadian representatives instructed from Ottawa. Despite this difference, and while admitting that "the Convention was not such a treaty as is defined in section 132," their Lordships considered that "it comes to the same thing," and that the Dominion Parliament therefore had full power to pass the legislation necessary to carry out its terms. It seems, therefore, that Canada, despite the federal nature of her constitution and without the formalities of a full Empire treaty, is able to attend international conferences and to make any agreements with foreign Powers that she desires, with the assurance that she will be able to give legislative effect to the agreement without calling in the aid of the provincial parliaments. If this is the effect of the Radio judgment, it will constitute a landmark in the development of the Canadian Constitution.
The various geographical, political, racial and economic factors discussed above are the most important and the most permanent influences in determining Canada's international position. They constitute the environment from which her foreign policy must grow. Much that to the foreigner may appear obscure in the attitude of Canada toward international and imperial affairs will be understood only if the words and actions of Canadian politicians are viewed in the light of these fundamental considerations. And this survey will have been in vain if it has failed to make clear that the association of Canada with the other members of the British Commonwealth is but one aspect of her international relations, and by no means the one that is necessarily uppermost in the mind of the Canadian who faces the problems of his country and of the world.
[i] The single exception of laws affecting English Trustee securities governed by the Colonial Stock Act, 1900, which are still subject to disallowance from London, need only be mentioned to be dismissed. By Canadian request, amendments to the Canadian Constitution will continue to be made by the British Parliament until a new method is agreed upon by Canada.