Proposals for new Canadian provinces and territories

Proposals for new Canadian provinces and territories

Since Canadian Confederation in 1867, there have been several proposals for new Canadian provinces and territories. The Constitution of Canada requires an amendment for the creation of a new province but the creation of a new territory requires only an act of Parliament; therefore, it is easier to create a territory than a province.

uccessful movements

Canada's four original provinces in 1867 were Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick, with their shape and size varying over time. Since then, the following provinces and territories have joined Canada:

* Manitoba was created as a province in 1870 in an area that had been planned to be part of the Northwest Territories. It was originally intended to be a homeland for the Métis. It attained its current size in 1912. Manitoba was for a time nicknamed the "Postage Stamp Province" due to its original square shape.

* The Northwest Territories (originally North-West Territories) joined Canada on the same day as Manitoba. It was originally very large in size; two provinces and two other territories have been created from it as well as large portions of territory being transferred to other provinces. There have been proposals for it to evolve from a territory into a province.

* British Columbia joined Canada as a province in 1871.

* Prince Edward Island joined Canada as a province in 1873.

* The District of Keewatin was separated from the North-West Territories in 1876, initially intended as a temporary compromise in the Ontario-Manitoba boundary dispute. It was re-integrated with the Northwest Territories in 1905.

* Yukon was created as a territory from the western part of Northwest Territories in 1898. It was created for better control of the Klondike Gold Rush. There are currently proposals for it to change from a territory to a province.

* Saskatchewan and Alberta were provinces created from part of the Northwest Territories in 1905. They were created because of the large-scale settlement of the Canadian prairies. There were many rival proposals regarding how many provinces should be created in Canadian West. Premier Frederick Haultain of the old North-West Territories wanted to create one large province, called Buffalo, which would have encompassed all of present-day Alberta and Saskatchewan. Other proposals called for three or four provinces to be created, one each for the provisional districts of the old North-West Territories: Alberta, Saskatchewan, Assiniboia, and sometimes the less populated Athabasca. Another proposal called for two provinces, but divided by a line of latitude (51.97° north) rather than longitude (110° west) as eventually happened. This would have created a northern parkland province that would have include the settlements along the Carlton Trail, and a southerly prairie province along the main line of the Canadian Pacific Railway.

* Newfoundland and Labrador joined Canada as a province in 1949 (originally as "Newfoundland", officially renamed in 2001) after being an independent Dominion from 1907 to the 1930s.

* Nunavut was created from the eastern part of the Northwest Territories in 1999. It was intended as a homeland for the Inuit and has been essential in maintaining a prominent Inuit culture in Canada. Like Canada's older territories, there is currently a movement for it to evolve from a territory into a province.Fact|date=July 2008

Current and defunct movements within Canada

People in many areas across Canada have expressed wishes that their communities receive heightened autonomy via provincehood or territoryhood. These areas include:

* Cape Breton Island - An area which was annexed by and is currently a part of Nova Scotia, but in the past it has been a separate colony. Cape Breton Island is usually considered distinct from mainland Nova Scotia by people across Canada including mainland Nova Scotia. Provincehood had been advocated by the Cape Breton Labour Party. [cite news|first = Daniel | last = Squizzato | title = Separatist feelings seize Cape Breton | publisher = Toronto Star | date = December 11, 2006 | accessdate = 2006-12-14 | url =]

* English Quebec - Around the time of the 1995 Quebec referendum on sovereignty, a self-named 'partition' movement flourished, advocating the separation of certain areas of Quebec, particularly the English-speaking areas such as Montreal's West Island, in the event of Quebec separation, with such areas remaining part of Canada. This movement is no longer active.

* Kanienkehaka (Mohawks) - During the runup to the 1995 Quebec referendum, Mohawk leaders asserted a sovereign right to secede from Quebec if Quebec were to secede from Canada. ["First Nations Say No to PQ," Windspeaker, November 1995.] It is not clear whether most Mohawks would actually like to secede from Canada or to form a territory within Canada, in the event of Quebec secession. In the CBC Television documentary "Breaking Point", the Quebec Premier at the time, Jacques Parizeau, said that had the referendum succeeded, he would have allowed the Mohawk communities to secede from Quebec, on the grounds that they had never given up their sovereign rights. See also: Oka Crisis.

* Labrador - The mainland portion of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The Labrador Party has campaigned on the platform of a separate province. Its population of 28,000 people suggests that Labrador would more likely become a territory if it separated.

* National Capital Region - At various times, provincial, territorial or special federal status has been proposed for the metropolitan area consisting of Ottawa, Ontario and Gatineau, Quebec, so that the national capital would not be part of any province. The movement currently has limited support, however.

* Northern Ontario - The Northern Ontario Heritage Party advocated for the creation of a separate province in the 1970s, although the party did not attract widespread electoral support. A newer group, the Northern Ontario Secession Movement, has begun a similar campaign, but has not to date attracted the same degree of attention. One paper in "Canadian Public Policy" suggested the region merge with Manitoba to form a new province called "Mantario." [Livio di Matteo, "Breakaway country," "Financial Post" September 6, 2006, page FP17] On a more modest scale, Sudbury's "Northern Life" community newspaper has also published a number of editorials in recent years calling on the province to create a new level of supraregional government that would give the Northern Ontario region significantly more autonomy over its own affairs within the province. [ [ "The case for regional government"] , "Northern Life", November 6, 2006.]

* Nunatsiavut - An area in northern Labrador, it is inhabited mainly by Inuit, many of whom wish to leave Newfoundland and Labrador and form a territory similar to Nunavut. It has recently been granted certain self-government powers, while remaining within the province. Similar Inuit and First Nation territories, such as Nunavik and parts of British Columbia, are seeking the same status as Nunatsiavut.

* Toronto - The largest city in Canada. Some have argued that the rest of Ontario benefits from Toronto more than the reverse. Support for its separation from Ontario is low. However, many politicians and political groups have lobbied for a separate Province of Toronto.

* Vancouver Island - Vancouver Island was a distinct British colony before it joined British Columbia. Some island residents believe that the island would be better off as its own province. Currently, support for the movement, or even "awareness" of it, is low.

* Eastern and Northeastern Ontario - A movement advocating the separation of Eastern Ontario and part of Northern Ontario from the rest of the province. It is primarily targeted toward the regions of the province where the bulk of the Franco-Ontarian population reside — while Franco-Ontarians would still be a minority in the new province, they would be a much larger and more powerful one. The proposal also includes the city of Gatineau seceding from Quebec to join the new province. [ [ Ontario East] ] The movement is currently inactive, however.

* Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean - André Harvey, the former federal MP for Chicoutimi—Le-Fjord, was attributed with the idea of creating a new province encompassing the highly separatist area of Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean in Quebec, on the premise that it has a culture distinct from the rest of Quebec and already has its own flag.

* Each of the three current Canadian territories — Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut — is home to a movement lobbying for the territories' political status to be upgraded to full provincehood.

Other countries and territories

Current or former British territories

* Turks and Caicos Islands - A British overseas territory in the Caribbean. There is some support for it to join Canada, and in 2004 Nova Scotia voted to invite Turks and Caicos to join that province, in the event of the islands becoming Canadian. However, the islands' small economy and Canada's involvement in Haiti has made this controversial.
* Jamaica - In the late 19th century, there was some discussion of some form of political union between Canada and Jamaica.

* Barbados - In 1884, the Barbados Agricultural Society sent a letter to Sir Francis Hincks requesting his private and public views on whether the Dominion of Canada would favourably entertain having the then colony of Barbados admitted as a member of the Canadian Confederation. Asked of Canada were the terms of the Canadian side to initiate discussions, and whether or not the island of Barbados could depend on the full influence of Canada in getting the change agreed to by Britain. Then in 1952 the "Barbados Advocate" newspaper polled several prominent Barbadian politicians, lawyers, businessmen, the Speaker of the Barbados House of Assembly and later as first President of the Senate, Sir Theodore Branker, Q.C. and found them to be in favour of immediate federation of Barbados along with the rest of the British Caribbean with complete Dominion Status within five years from the date of inauguration of the West Indies Federation with Canada.

* Bermuda - In 1949 Henry Vassey, then Chairman of the Bermuda Trade Development Board, urged the House of Assembly of Bermuda to pursue a political union with Canada. Four Methodist church congregations in Bermuda are part of The United Church of Canada, forming Bermuda Presbytery of the United Church's Maritime Conference headquartered in Sackville, New Brunswick.

* The West Indies Federation – In a 1952 letter by T.G. Major, a Canadian Trade Commissioner in Trinidad and Tobago, it was stated to the Under Secretary of State for External Affairs that the respective leaders of the British Caribbean could not reach a clear consensus for the exact style of a federal union with Canada. During a parliamentary conference held in Ottawa, it was also noted though that the colony of British Honduras (present day Belize) showed the most interest in a union with Canada exceeding that of the other British Caribbean colonies.

Canadian Prime Minister Robert Borden and his delegation to the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 put pressure on British Prime Minister David Lloyd George to give most of the above territories to Canada as sub-dominions or League of Nations mandates, citing the concessions made to Billy Hughes' Australian delegation with regard to New Guinea and Nauru. Lloyd George eventually declined [Cite book |last=MacMillan |first=Margaret |year=2001 |title=Paris 1919: Six months that changed the world |publisher=Random House |location=New York |id=ISBN 0-375-76052-0] .

United States

In the 1979 Canadian federal election, the Rhinoceros Party of Canada, a satirical political party, included annexation of the United States as part of its platform [ [ 1979 campaign brochure of Judi Skuce] ] . It was proposed that the United States become the third territory of Canada. As well, following the 2004 U.S. presidential election, some American voters distributed the Jesusland map, which proposed that the 19 American "blue states" secede from the United States and become Canadian provinces. In both cases, however, Canadian annexation of all or part of the United States was a primarily satirical idea rather than a serious proposal. [ [ Bye, Bye, Miss American Empire | Orion magazine ] ]

*Alaska - Some Canadians and Alaskans have discussed the possibility of the state of Alaska seceding from the United States and joining Canada under an autonomy plan allowing for a U.S. sphere of influence. This is comparable to what some Quebec separatists have advocated for in the past (sovereignty-association, Quebec Autonomism). The issue has been discussed on various fora, such as that for the Alaska Independence Party forum, which claims Alaska as the "lost province". However, no formal movement in favor of this proposal exists, nor does any political party currently advocate it.

*Vermont - Some supporters of the Vermont independence movement propose that Vermont join Canada as a province. [ [ Vermont, Canada's 11th Province ] ] [ [ State of Vermont wants to join Canada | The Baheyeldin Dynasty ] ]

*Maine - Some propose that Maine secede from the U.S. and join Canada as a province [ [ Features | Maine could secede from the US and join Canada ] ] [ [ Could a State join Canada? « American Red Tory ] ] , though this movement is much smaller than the "Vermont annexation movement".

*New England - Certain members of the Maine and Vermont secession movements back all of New England seceding and joining Canada. [ [ New England Secession: December 2004 ] ] [ [ Sessession allowed in US Constitution [Archive - Alternate History Discussion Board ] ]

*Northwest Angle due to laws restricting fishing, some resident of the part of Minnesota assessable only by way of Manitoba, suggested leaving the United States and joining Canada in 1997. The following year, Representative Collin Peterson proposed a constitutional amendment that would allow the residents of the Northwest Angle, which is part of his district to vote on seceding from the United States and joining Canada, angering the leaders of Red Lake Indian Reservation, which holds most of the Northwest Angles' land. [] []

Other political entities

*St. Pierre and Miquelon - A small French dependency just off the Burin Peninsula of Newfoundland and Labrador. At various times, residents and politicians in Saint Pierre and Miquelon have proposed that the islands pursue secession from France to become part of Canada, so that the islands could participate in Canada's much larger maritime zone rather than France's limited "keyhole" zone, although as of 2008 such proposals have never come to a vote or referendum. With a population of just 6,125 in 2006, however, St. Pierre and Miquelon would most likely become part of Newfoundland and Labrador or Quebec, rather than a separate province or territory, if it were to join Canada.

Other boundary changes

There have also been some proposals that would result in a change of the boundary status between existing provinces, or even between Canada and the United States.

*Northwestern Ontario - Recently, some residents of Northwestern Ontario have proposed that the region secede from Ontario to join Manitoba, due to the perception that the government of Ontario does not pay sufficient attention to the region's issues.
*Maritime Provinces - At various times, some politicians in Canada's Maritime provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island have proposed that the three provinces unite into a single new province, which would be larger and have more political and economic clout than any of the three provinces does individually. Although this Maritime Union proposal often attracts media attention, there has been little substantive discussion.
*Southeastern British Columbia - In the 1990s, there was discussion amongst some municipal councillors in Elkford, west of the Rocky Mountains, about joining Alberta, whose conservative politics were more in line with their own than were the left-wing politics of B.C.'s Lower Mainland. This discussion did not result in any formal movement.
*Some residents of the Northwest Angle, a small exclave of Minnesota which is separated from its state by the Lake of the Woods but has a land border with Manitoba, have proposed that the area should secede from the United States and join Manitoba or Ontario.
* Gatineau - Some people in Gatineau, Quebec feel that they would be better off in Ontario, due to the city's substantial English population and strong social ties with Ottawa. That belief, however, is not commonly held by all residents of Gatineau, particularly the majority French-speaking population.


ee also

*51st state
*Annexationist movements of Canada
*Proposals for new Australian States
*Secessionist movements of Canada
*Territorial evolution of Canada

Lists of the provinces and territories of Canada

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