As has been discussed previously on this blog, the Statute was also a landmark document in terms of the Succession to the throne, enshrining the principle of the unity of the Crown and outlining, through its (albeit unenforceable) preamble, the importance of cooperation and unanimity between the realms in order to successfully enact any changes to the succession. This principle was tested less than 5 years later, during the Abdication Crisis of King Edward VIII. Although the Statute's continuing relevance is greatly reduced (and in many cases non-existent), by granting full independence to the self-governing dominions it is arguably the most important piece of legislation of the twentieth century.
Alas, despite such fundamental importance, the anniversary of its enactment has always been a non-event -- this is regrettable, as its annual celebration could have provided yet another visible and unifying link between the Commonwealth realms.
Previous Canadian governments have treated this protocol requirement as something of an embarrassment and the date has often passed unmarked. I know many a staunch monarchist who has glumly reported various government buildings with unadorned second flag poles.
To its credit, and in keeping with its clear policy of celebrating Canadian heritage (including the Monarchy, etc.) the current Harper government has formally decreed that to mark the 80th anniversary of the signing of the Statute of Westminster, the Royal Union Flag WILL be flown from all public and government buildings today.
Anniversary of the Statute of Westminster (1931)
In accordance with the rules for flying the Canadian flag and other flags in Canada, where physical arrangements* make it possible, the Royal Union Flag (known as the Union Jack) will be flown from sunrise to sunset on Government of Canada buildings and establishments across the country on Sunday, December 11, 2011, to mark the anniversary of the Statute of Westminster.
*"Physical arrangements" means the existence of at least two flag poles. The Canadian flag takes precedence and is not to be replaced by the Union Jack. Source: http://www.pch.gc.ca/special/jdn-nfd/hist/voice-voix-eng.cfm
Congratulations to the Government of Canada for recognising the significance of this anniversary and for ensuring that it is appropriately commemorated across the country. I encourage all interested Canadians to look at their public and government buildings today and see if they can spot the Royal Union Flag.