- Download PDF
1 Answer | Add Yours
The 1920s were a particularly significant period for Canadian independence.
At the governmental level, the Great War (1914-1918) actually strengthened Canadian ties with its colonial master, Great Britain. The shared experience of fighting together against a common enemy in an environment in which soldiers fought very closely in trenches facilitated a growing closeness between the two countries' governments. That closeness, however, did not extend to the much of the population in Canada. High Canadian death tolls and the issue of conscription exacerbated already existing tensions between the British and French, and even English-speaking Canadians began to question the country's relationship to Great Britain. Growing Canadian irritation with Britain was manifested in the former's refusal to comply with the British request for assistance in the latter's stand-off with Turkey during a 1923 crisis involving those two countries.
Canadian independence also began to assert itself more with the government's increased use of its own diplomatic and foreign policy agency, the Department of External Affairs. This department provided Canada with an independent voice in world affairs, and further cemented its diminishing loyalty to the British.
The 1920s were marked also by the Canadian government, under Prime Minister William Mackenzie King, devising policies oriented toward greater Canadian unification, which meant alleviating French-Canadian concerns about regional and cultural autonomy. The affect of focusing on domestic policies, especially focusing on problems dividing Canadians, further isolated the country from Great Britain. Political fighting within the government resulted in a major constitutional crisis regarding control of the parliament, and by the time the crisis was resolved, there was further emphasis on political independence from Britain. What was known as the King-Byng Affair, named for the prime minister, who wished to disolve the parliament, and Lord Julian Byng, a British Army officer and Britain's governor general of Canada, marked what could considered a watershed moment for the cause of Canadian independence, a movement that continued in the 1930s.
We’ve answered 320,013 questions. We can answer yours, too.Ask a question