The latest step in the independence of Canada is the proposal to choose a national flag. A commission has been appointed to select a design. Lest too great excitement be aroused, it may be remarked that Australia and New Zealand already have such flags.
Many British imperialists are striving to bind together the mother country and the colonies, for the dependence of England upon her colonial trade would make her position precarious if hostility should drive apart the different branches of the Empire. Imperial conferences, reciprocal tariffs, and a myriad of unofficial agencies are at work for the unity of the Empire. And yet an ineluctable current towards separation is rendering dubious the future. England has long since surrendered the right to any but nominal interference with the concerns of the dominions. In conflicts of commercial interests, the home country has ceded instead of allowing the controversy to come to an open dispute. It is openly admitted on both sides that in the next war the dominions must reserve to themselves the full right to remain neutral, refusing perhaps even cooperation. Canada would remain neutral if threatened by the United States, and Australia could not oppose Japan. As an avowal of the special importance of the United States to Canada, a separate ambassadorship has been granted Canada, and her relations with the United States at least are no longer under the supervision of Downing Street.
The future greatness of England evidently depends upon her friendly relations with the colonies and with the two great powers of the non-European world. And it is in this larger arena of world-politics that unknown motives and unknown forces are going to work out within the next fifty years the leadership among the world powers. For several decades at least France has secured the leadership on the European continent, but the world rivalry for leadership is just looming ahead from out the uncertain future.