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Canada's Independence During the 1920's- Better or Worse?

By Carmen Mar 03, 2009 702 Words
Did Canada become more or less independent during the 1920’s? Carmen Wilson Canada went through many exciting and revolutionary changes during the 1920s. Treaties were signed, trades were made and ties were broken and created. Although Canada became more independent from Britain by separating from them, they became even less independent during the 1920’s because of their economics and entertainment. During the 1920’s several historically important events occurred that resulted in Canada cutting ties from Britain. In 1922, the Chanack Affair took place. Britain had a disagreement with Turkey. Britain asked Canada for military support if needed to which King, the current Prime Minister, said no. He decided this because he felt Canadians didn’t want to go back into foreign conflicts right after the great war. This made Canada less tied from Britain we said no to Britain for the first time and that Canada would create its own foreign policy instead of listening to their mother country. The next liberating event was the Halibut Treaty in 1923. King urged that only representatives from Canada and the US should sign the treaty, leaving Britain out of it. Britain later agreed and Canada won the right to sign treaties with a foreign country on its own. Third, in 1926, was the King-Byng Crisis. After a conflict between the Prime Minister and the Governor General, King was determined to, at the next Imperial Conference, clarify the role of the Governor General. After that, the Governor General never interfered again. Next was the Balfour Report in 1926 where Canada and other dominions were declared self-governing and independent nations. Also, the role of the Governor General became only a ceremonial one. By 1931, the Statue of Westminster made the Balfour report official. Canada was no bound by no other law then its own and now had complete autonomy. The economics of Canada shifted greatly after WWII. They almost completely stopped trading with Britain and replaced them with the United States. After the great war, Britain was in deep financial trouble and the United States became the world’s economic leader. Canada became economically independent on the US because they heavily invested in Canada’s companies. For example, the US paid plenty of attention to our pulp and paper mills and our mines. Canada shipped 75% of their newsprint to America and most metals mined in Canada were used in the US to make things like cars and radios. The United States took over many Canadian businesses during the 1920’s. Companies in American owned and controlled businesses that operated in Canada, i.e. branch plants. Because of this system, certain US business people avoided paying Canadian tariffs. Several US companies owned Canadian oil businesses and almost half the machinery and chemical industries as well as the electrical and rubber companies. In the automotive industry in Canada, the 3 big US car companies, General Motors, Chrysler, and Ford, took over. Simply, the United States of America took over Canadian economics, using most of our supplies and running our businesses. Lastly, many technological advances were made in the 1920’s including telephones, radios, and movies. Sadly none of these things could compete with the American industries. Smaller Canadian radio stations found it difficult to keep up with bigger more powerful US ones. By the end of the decade, more than 300,000 Canadians were tuned into US stations for their entertainment. Also, Canadian-made films couldn’t compete with productions from the big US studios which were Hollywood dominated. Many Canadian actors, writers and technicians were drawn towards the were drawn towards the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. Many of these Canadians became successful, including movie star Mary Pickford who became known as “America’s Sweetheart.” The telephone became a common thing in every household, breaking down barriers between groups. Canada was, and still is, completely tied to America. They are the dominant country in North America in entertainment and economy. Canada’s completely dependent nature towards the US stopped any hope of us every being a cut above the them. Even though Canada completely cut ties with Britain by the end of the 1920’s, they did not become independent.

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