Canadian Politics and the Imperial Conference

September 21, 1926

Report Outline
Status of Canada in the British Empire
Internal Politics and Customs Scandals
Development of the Imperial Conference
Canada in the 1926 Imperial Conference

The general election in Canada September 14 resulted in large gains for the Liberals at the expense of the Conservatives, but left them four seats short of an absolute majority in the Dominion Parliament. Mr. Arthur Meighen, Conservative Acting Premier, in view of his party's losses at the polls, has announced his intention of resigning in the immediate future. Lord Byng, the Governor-General will then call upon Ex-Premier Mackenzie King, the Liberal leader, to form an acting ministry pending the assembling of Parliament in November. As the Liberals will be without an absolute majority in Parliament, they must again depend for support upon some members of the Progressive party which holds the balance of power. The political situation which has twice induced Mackenzie King to appeal to the electorate is thus perpetuated and Mr. King, for the third time, will find himself hampered in carrying out the policies of his party by the necessity of making continual compromises to placate the Progressives upon whose good will the existence of his government will depend.

Canada and the Imperial Conference

The results of the elections have an important bearing on the Imperial Conference which will meet in London October 19. Canada, as the largest and most important of the self-governing British dominions, has always played a leading part in former conferences. From 1917, when the conferences first became really important, to 1921, Canada was under the Conservative leadership of Sir Robert Borden and Arthur Meighen, both energetic advocates of imperial cooperation and a more independent status for Canada as a self-governing nation. From 1921 to the present, under the Liberal leadership of Mackenzie King, Canada has played a most important part in preserving the improved status the dominions gained during the war while at the same time making every effort to avoid the foreign entanglements implied in a common foreign policy with Great Britain. In this attitude Canada is receiving strong support from the Irish Free State and South Africa, while Australia and New Zealand are inclined to cling to the old tradition of greater dependence upon the mother country.

The forthcoming conference is the most important of its kind that has ever taken place since it will decide consciously or unconsciously whether a scheme of imperial cooperation can be found which will be acceptable to the ever-growing national consciousness of Canada, South Africa and the Irish Free State or whether the British Empire will start on a course of gradually relaxing its hold on the dominions, binding them in future only with obligations which concern them instead of involving them in imperial complications outside their own national interests.

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Sep. 21, 1926  Canadian Politics and the Imperial Conference
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Regional Political Affairs: Canada