Courtesy Reuters

Sectional Factors in Canadian Foreign Policy

THIS year for the first time Canada has a population exceeding 11 millions. As the largest, richest and most important of the British Dominions she may fairly claim to be one of the most comfortable corners of a troubled universe. However, she does not thereby enjoy immunity from considerable worry and uncertainty about her future and confusion of mind about her best course of international policy. She remains a partner in the British Commonwealth, but her government qualifies her allegiance to it by explicit declarations that she is not obligated to enter any wars in which Britain and other members of the Commonwealth engage except of her own volition, and she has repeatedly taken her own international line. She retains her membership in the League of Nations, but Premier Mackenzie King has more than once declared that she is now under no obligations to assist in enforcing economic or military sanctions. She therefore gives lip service to the idea of collective security but shies at the commitments involved in its maintenance. She takes pride in her North Americanism and seeks to cultivate as close economic and other relations as possible with the United States, but she is not yet ready to throw in her lot with the Pan American Union. She thus occupies internationally the unique position of being engaged in an effort to preserve simultaneously ties with the Commonwealth, the League and the American group of nations. The difficulties of such a task are more than enough to account for the hesitancies and apparent incongruities in Canadian policy, and the opportunist line taken by her governments on important international issues.

The totalitarian states today parade their semblance of national unity. But real unity comes in democratic countries only in some desperate emergency, and in ordinary times their governments have to frame their policies to take account of conflicting currents of popular opinion that ebb and flow under a variety of emotional influences. In Canada the cleavages of public sentiment on foreign

Loading, please wait...

Related Articles

This site uses cookies to improve your user experience. Click here to learn more.