November 8, 1951 (21st Parliament, 5th Session)


Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)


Mr. St. Laurent:

I think there has been progression, and I can say at once that it is the policy of this government when statutes come up for review or consolidation to replace the word "dominion" with the word "Canada". There are some people in this country who rather like the name of Canada. That was the name given to the new nation by the British North America Act at the time it came into being. Section 3 of that act provides:
3. It shall be lawful for the queen, by and with the advice of Her Majesty's most honourable privy council, to declare by proclamation that, on and

Canada Lands Surveys Act
after a day therein appointed, not being more than six months after the passing of this act, the provinces of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick shall form and be one dominion under the name of Canada; and on and after that day those three provinces shall form and be one dominion under that name accordingly.
At that time it seemed to be quite immaterial whether the country and the people thereof were described as Canada and Canadians or as the Dominion of Canada and people of the Dominion of Canada.There has been a constant progression that some people in this country have attempted to impede and have resented, but nevertheless that progression culminated in the Statute of Westminster which recognized the equality of all the sister nations of the commonwealth. That progression has been resented by some, but not by the majority of the people of Canada or by the party that supports this government. I think that party will be prepared to support this government in the policy of replacing the word "dominion" with "Canada" in the statutes when they come up for review.
That policy is quite in line with the policy that was followed in the United Kingdom when they changed the name of the department that deals with the affairs of the sister nations from dominions relations office to commonwealth relations office. That development coincided with the coming into being of other sister nations who had not been known as dominions and who did not wish to be known as dominions. Those are nations with which we wish to conserve the family relationship which exists among the nations of our commonwealth.
In the official documents that come now from the United Kingdom the word dominion is gradually being dropped in deference to those other members of the organization who are not dominions and who have achieved a status with which the word "dominion" would be somewhat at variance.

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