The Paris Peace Conference
After the fall of Germany in the First World War, the Allies and the new leadership of Germany decided to meet in Paris in 1919 to determine a peace agreement. At the time, Canada was seen as subordinate to Britain, a Dominion that was only a part of the British Empire. However, Prime Minister Robert Borden believed that since Canada had been a major player in the war effort it should have separate Dominion representation at the Paris Peace Conference.
He claimed that Canada had paid the price for such representation, with over 60,000 casualties and many more wounded from the war. As well, he fought to give Canada the right to sign the Treaty of Versailles, the culmination of the Paris Peace Conference.
Borden was successful in both fights, and Canada's signature appeared on the final Treaty. However, the British Prime Minister ended up signing for the entire British Empire, thus diminishing the importance of Borden's long-fought bid. Nonetheless, Canada's fight and involvement in the Conference and Treaty reflected its emergence as an international personality in world affairs, an early major step towards Canadian autonomy.