The Statute of Westminster

May 11, 2017

The Statute of Westminster

Historical Museum at Fort Missoula, 1986.004.600


After the First World War, Canada sought greater legislative independence from Britain and to be recognized as an autonomous nation. In 1929, Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King sent O. D. Skelton, head of the Department of External Affairs, and Ernest Lapointe, minister of justice, to Britain. There, at a conference with other members of the British Empire, they negotiated for more powers. An agreement was reached on an act that would eliminate Britain’s ability to effect legislation for Canada, except in specific circumstances. Called the Statute of Westminster, it was passed by the British Parliament in 1931.

Each day for 150 days leading up to the opening of the Canadian History Hall, we’re presenting one moment among the many that have shaped our country. Discover more of Canada’s significant historical events in the new Canadian History Hall, opening July 1, 2017.