AN IMPERIAL PARLIAMENT. : The Tribune India


SIR Sam Hughes’s motion in the Canadian Parliament “advocating an Imperial Parliament in which the whole Empire might be represented to deal only with imperial and international questions, over which it might exercise authority without infringing the material privilege at present enjoyed by various parts of the Empire”, raises a question of interest, which has again been discussed in the past, but the solution still seems distant. Except in form, the present proposal is identical with that made by Seeley in his lectures on the expansion of England in the eighties and by Mr. Forster even before Seeley. And many of the considerations that weighed with the thinking British and colonial public in those days in practically rejecting the proposals are still operative. There are still the same difficulties about the constitution of the Cabinet responsible to that Parliament, and the sanction behind any degree, levy or ordinance of the Imperial Executive or the Imperial Parliament. How are countries differing so widely from one another as the component parts of the present British Empire do, in so many of the elements that make national life what it is, to be fairly represented at the Imperial Parliament? Are they to be represented according to their respective populations or according to the stage of political development that each has reached, or according to the interests they have at stake, or is the representation to be of Governments and not of peoples and each Government to count for one and none for more than one? Secondly, what is to be the relation between the new Imperial Executive and the present British Cabinet? Will the latter consent to be reduced to the position of a subordinate, a merely State executive, if the Imperial executive is to be worth anything? And lastly, how is the Imperial Parliament to deal with any member of the Empire who refuses to carry out the behests of the Imperial authority?





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