Essay: Canadian Independence & Foreign Policy

Essay by yut2beHigh School, 10th gradeA+, February 2007

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Ever since Canada's formation as a nation in 1867, it has had dependence on Britain - its mother country - of various degrees. However, Canada has continually changed its foreign policy in response to its increasingly independent role in international affairs. This is reflected in the actions it has taken in the Boer War, WWI, Korean War, and the Suez Crisis.

During the Boer War in 1897, Canada, although a country technically created by the 1867 British North American Act, was in reality still in part a colony of the British Empire. Therefore, like any other colony of Britain, Canada was obliged to defend the Empire by contributing troops to the war front. This became a problem, especially for Sir Wilfrid Laurier, the PM of Canada at that time. Laurier was faced with the question of whether or not Canada should send an organized, formal army over to South Africa to support Britain in an overseas war that Canada had no conflict of interests in.

His concern did not come as a surprise, for English and French Canadians had had opposite views on certain issues for more than one occasion. From the English Canadian point of view, this war was a test of their loyalty to Britain as well as an opportunity to demonstrate their gratitude for all Britain had done for them . The French Canadians' perspective, however, find absolutely no need to contribute troops and fight in a war that did not concern Canada, and one that clearly exemplified Britain's imperialistic intentions. Laurier, the "Great Compromiser", was ingenious in devising a plan that would equip, train, and transport a force of 1000 volunteers - rather than an official army - who would be under British command . This allowed English Canadians to enlist in the army voluntarily,