We Want Control!

English: Sir Robert Borden, 8th Prime Minister...
Sir Robert Borden, 8th Prime Minister of Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


For Canada as a nation, February 12 is a landmark.

It was on February 12, 1867, that the British North America Act was given its first reading in the House of Lords.

On the same date in 1917 Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden arrived in London to sit as a member of the British War Cabinet.  It was an unprecedented step which led to the nations of the British Commonwealth achieving complete control of their own affairs.

Canada had been pouring troops overseas in the first World War, the battle of Vimy Ridge alone costing more than 10,000 casualties.  Battle losses were exceeding enlistments by two to one.

Canadian forces were under the British High Command, but the Canadian government was not being informed about plans for how they were to be employed.  Prime Minister Borden complained officially that his government knew only what was being published in the daily newspaper and that it should have a share in making important decisions.

David Lloyd George had succeeded Herbert Asquith as Prime Minister of Britain, and invited the leaders of the Dominions to come to London for consultations.  During the session of the War Cabinet, Borden and Prime Minister Smuts of South Africa put forward a resolution urging that the Dominions should have full recognition as self-governing nations and that they should be consulted in all matters of common Imperial concern.

The resolution was adopted by the British Government and let eventually to the Statute of Westminster in 1931 which gave the Dominions complete independence with the framework of the British Commonwealth.



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