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An Evening with Tim Hewish and Commonwealth Exchange

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Canadian supporters of the United Commonwealth Society will soon have an opportunity to meet their fellow enthusiasts and learn some of the latest developments from the co-founder of the leading Commonwealth think tank.

Tim HewishTim Hewish, Executive Director of Commonwealth Exchange, will be speaking to an intimate audience at an event hosted jointly with the Toronto branch of the Royal Commonwealth Society. Among the topics of discussion will be their latest publications, Commonwealth’s Call to Duty and How to Solve a Problem Like a Visa.

Our event will be held on Tuesday, July 14th from 6:00pm to 9:00pm at:

Wallace Gastropub
1954 Yonge Street (near Yonge and Davisville)
Toronto, ON  M4S 1Z4

Attendance is free. If you wish to dine during the evening, you may pay your server directly. Space is limited, so book fast. Reserve your place at http://commonwealth-exchange.eventbrite.ca/.

Commonwealth ExchangeUnited Commonwealth SocietyRoyal Commonwealth Society of Canada

Imperial Federation: After 130 Years (Part 2: The Changing Dominions)

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This is the second part of a multi-part series studying the development of the Imperial Federation League, inspiration for the United Commonwealth Society. The continuing thanks of the UCS Council and membership goes to Council Secretary Edward Harris for his tireless work creating this document.

In the last installment, we introduced the origins of the movement to integrate the four core nations of the English-speaking Commonwealth, showing that changing economic and geopolitical realities, combined with the increasing political maturity of the Dominions, rendered the old way of thinking about the Empire obsolete. Instead of a hierarchical or ‘hub-and-spokes’ model, with the United Kingdom at the centre and a number of lesser dependencies orbiting it, many people began to think of Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand with a sense of collective nationhood. In this instalment, we will take a closer look at some of the concerns and aspirations of the mature Dominions.

A postcard issued to mark the visit to Australia of the US Navy's Great White Fleet (1908)

A postcard issued to mark the visit to Australia of the US Navy’s Great White Fleet (1908)

In the case of Australia, for instance, many of these concerns will be familiar to students of changing power relationships in the Pacific today, or during the Cold War. Australians realised that the United States would soon be the main power in the Pacific, and were keen to ensure that Australia could also be a key player, as they could never secure Australia’s future without significant influence on the geopolitics of that region.

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News of the Realms is here!

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The first issue of News of the Realms has been sent out to UCS members. If you would like to join the Society and receive a copy of this and future issues, please visit our membership page and become a registered member. An email address will be required.

News of the Realms

Sign the Freedom of Movement Petition!

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In the years since its creation, the United Commonwealth Society has been joined by several groups in its advocacy for greater relations between the Commonwealth realms.

The newest group is the Commonwealth Freedom of Movement Organisation. As their name indicates, CFMO advocates for the freedom of movement between Commonwealth nations, and Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom (CANZUK) in particular.

Since launching it at the beginning of March 2015, CFMO’s petition on Change.org has gained over 68,000 signatures and widespread media attention. A poll on the issue in an article on CBC.ca was answered by over 72,000 people, nearly 91% of whom supported the move.

To show your support, please click here or on the image below to sign the petition.

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The petition has been submitted to both the New Zealand and Australian governments; Canada and the United Kingdom will receive the petition after the completion of their general elections. If you are in Australia or New Zealand, please show your support after signing by contacting your elected officials.

http://www.aph.gov.au/Senators_and_Members/Members
http://www.parliament.nz/en-nz/about-parliament/get-involved/contact/00PlibHvYrSayContact1/contact-an-mp

David J Haisell

Chair

Commonwealth Day 2015

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CW Day 2015

The United Commonwealth Society wishes all of you a Happy Commonwealth Day!

United Commonwealth Society Newsletter

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Greetings everyone!

As alluded to previously during our election campaign and new member documents, the United Commonwealth Society is launching an official newsletter this year. The newsletter will be digitally sent quarterly to all members who have provided us with their full name, location (city and province/state/county), and e-mail address. If you are not a member, join today and e-mail us with your contact information to ensure you receive your copy!

We want all members to have a say in what the newsletter looks like. We would like your input on a) its name and b) the logo used for the front page. Please share your suggestions by e-mailing our chair.

We also welcome content for the newsletter. Anything of interest going on in your area? Have something you’d like to discuss with the membership? Please contact us and share your ideas!

2015 is going to be a great year for the UCS. I look forward to sharing our updates with you!

David J Haisell

Chair

2015 Council Election Results

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The votes have been cast and the results are in. Please meet your Council for 2015:

Chair: David Haisell (returning)
Vice-Chair: Jon-Paul Teasdale (new)
Secretary: Edward Harris (returning)
Representative, Australia: Sam Carruthers (new)
Representative, Canada: Liam Hill, UE (new)
Representative, Caribbean Realms: Jason Green (returning)
Representative, Pacific Realms: Wilson Thompson, MBE (returning)
Representative, United Kingdom, Territories, and Dependencies: Jon-Paul Teasdale (returning)

I would like to issue my thanks to all who voted and my welcome to those who are new to council this year. I would also like to issue my heartfelt thanks to Stephen Hale and Rowan Smith for their service to the Society over the past two years.

I wish everyone the best for the coming year!

David Haisell
Chair

2015 Council Elections

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In the coming weeks the United Commonwealth Society holds its annual council elections. All posts are being contested, including:

– Chair
– Vice-Chair
– Secretary
– Regional Representative (Australia, Canada, Caribbean realms, New Zealand, Pacific realms, United Kingdom)

If you would like to help shape the future makeup of the UCS council, join today to cast your vote. It may be your name on the ballot this time next year!

I would like to thank the current council for their work this past term and wish all candidates good luck in the election.

David J Haisell
Chair
United Commonwealth Society

Imperial Federation: After 130 Years (Part 1)

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In this new series, our Secretary Edward Harris shares his history of the Imperial Federation League, which celebrated its 130th anniversary in November. Further parts of this essay will be shared over the coming weeks.

Between 1870 and the Great War, the world economy thrived in ways which seem familiar today. The mobility of commodities and labour reached unprecedented levels, the sea-lanes and telegraphs were rapidly becoming busier, as Europe exported people and capital and imported raw materials and manufactures. The economic climate was characterised by the relatively free movement of goods, people and capital. Technological innovations were believed to be annihilating distance and revolutionising the energy sectors, as telephones, radios, internal combustion engines, paved roads and oil-burning ships and power stations began to complement the coal- and steam-driven infrastructure of the Victorian economy. The development of the massive American domestic market and the opening of China encouraged business innovations and allowed substantial profits.

The many similarities between this earlier period of globalisation and today make one of the key differences seem especially striking: in the former period, international relations were not governed by nation states and bureaucratic treaty organisations, but by a series of empires. In practice, the imperial economies formed linked economic networks within the Liberal International Economic Order of the late Victorian world and its Edwardian twilight: unlike in the twentieth century, therefore, they encouraged rather than hindered the integration of the regions and continents of the world, and to an extent which was not only quantitatively but also qualitatively different from the ‘proto-globalisations’ or ‘regionalisations’ of the past. Led by the British Empire, which opened all its territories to free trade with the rest of the world, the principles which the Manchester School liberals had popularised in the 1840s were locking the world into an open economic system as never before.

Those free traders of two generations before, however, would have been astonished to learn that the apparent apotheosis of their movement would correspond, towards the end of the century, with the emergence of imperial instead of global considerations as key concerns for both British and colonial policymakers; but the increasing political maturity of the settler colonies, combined with a whole series of international political and economic developments, to transform many people’s thinking about the relationship between Britain and the Dominions, and the old model of metropolis-and-colonies would give way to a new kind of inter-imperial relations.

As for the old country, it was somewhat unexpectedly adjusting to the possession of an Empire unexampled in extant and complexity, bringing imperial questions into sharper focus at Westminster. Simultaneously, changing attitudes in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and even South Africa matched this new imperial tone emerging in Britain: national pride in being ‘Britons overseas’ was at its height as the Empire moved towards its zenith, bringing imperial solidarity to its greatest height since the first colonisations. Moreover, having become sophisticated political societies at least as advanced as the United Kingdom itself (and in New Zealand’s case considerably more), they naturally expected that a larger rôle within the Empire and the wider world was their proper due, and that their status as dependencies should now give way to a near equivalence with the Mother Country. Read more

130 Years On

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This past Tuesday, 18th November, was the 130th anniversary of the founding of the Imperial Federation League. The league, which you can read more about here, marked the first time anyone proposed that the self-governing territories of the British Empire should be governed as one. 130 years on, the United Commonwealth Society keeps the dream alive.