December 11, 2016 marked the 85th anniversary of the passing of the Statute of Westminster.
After the enactment of the Statute, the British Parliament ceased to legislate on behalf of the dominions (Commonwealth Realms) without their consent. Additionally, changes to the Royal Succession required the consent of the dominions, paving the way for the creation of the independent crowns of each dominion.
By recognizing the legislative independence of the dominions, the Statute of Westminster was a key moment in the evolution of the British Empire into today’s Commonwealth of Nations. More than Canada Day, Statute of Westminster Day can be considered Canada’s “Independence Day”.
RCS British Columbia Mainland Branch President Shawn Wade reflects on the significance of the Statute to both Canada and the Commonwealth and its context in the evolution from empire to Commonwealth.