Courtesy Reuters

Canada's Future in the British Commonwealth

PREPARATIONS are under way for another meeting of the Imperial Conference, to take place in London while representatives from the Dominions are gathered for the coronation of George VI. This will be the first full and official meeting of the Conference since 1930 [i] and the thirteenth since the original Colonial Conference was summoned to London in 1887. In view of the disturbed condition of the world and the breakdown of the League, questions of foreign policy and defense are certain to have first place on the agenda. Amid the enthusiasm stimulated by the Coronation, and faced with the threat of war, the older school of imperialists, well represented in the British Government, are likely to bring strong pressure to persuade the Dominions to tie their foreign policy more closely to that of Great Britain and to share in schemes for imperial defense. How will the Canadian delegates respond to these suggestions? What attitude will they adopt toward the various other topics that will come up for discussion? These questions are giving rise to much speculation in Canada, and in certain quarters at least to no little apprehension. For Canadians at present have very strong and very divided opinions on the subject of Canada's obligations toward the Commonwealth, and there is great uncertainty regarding the stand which the Dominion Government proposes to take.

The coming Imperial Conference will differ from all its predecessors in that for the first time the Dominions will meet on terms of legal equality with Great Britain. The last two meetings of the Conference, held in 1926 and 1930, were primarily concerned with evolving a new political theory for the Commonwealth, and in bringing the law of the constitution into harmony with that theory. These aims have now been accomplished. The principle of equality of status and complete autonomy for the component parts of the Commonwealth in every aspect of their domestic and external affairs was enunciated in the Balfour Declaration of 1926. It became legally a fact, in so far as legislative

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