VI Initiative, Poster, v30 june'13.jpg

Vancouver Island, eh?

"It is wonderful to feel the grandness of Canada in the raw."
                                                                                - Emily Carr

Here we live, in paradise, on planet Earth. A couple of hundred million years  ago, it was just a big rock that broke free from the south Pacific mega continent of Pangaea. It is our good fortune that it drifted north, eventually running aground on the shores of what is now mainland British Columbia, giving us Vancouver Island!

Quite suddenly then, just a blink or so ago in geologic time, and very rapidly ever since, peoples appeared. And, with a promise of partnership and cooperation, and a generous willingness to share beauty and bounty with the strange high seas newcomers, First Nations met Captain Cook, and a new era of really rapid societal change geared up. 

Different peoples inched ashore, running aground if you will, over time creating an Island culture. Just a stone's throw across the Strait you'd find the hubbub of the gold rush, trans-continental commerce and a push to be part of US expansionism. But here, Island time ...a different perspective and way of life.

We share a pretty similar coast, moderate climate with teeming fisheries and natural resources in abundance.  All that makes healthy families, and builds strong and independent communities.

But perhaps it's the need to plan ahead, be prepared and not take nothin' for granted, that makes the difference?  Those self-sufficient, resilient and self-reliant Vancouver Islanders have had to find ways to overcome obstacles that go with living on an island.

Not afraid to get their hands dirty, or of a hard day’s work, those who came to the Island often stayed. With a little luck you could make a living in the woods or fields of the Island, out on the coastal waters, or underground in the mines. Farms and fishing boats put meals on the table, mills and foundries supplied town and home building needs; and a rich landscape, ever-changing weather and a diversity of peoples from all over the world offered significant and challenging food for thought ...and great dancing partners on Saturday night!

With the promise of an Island paradise, overflowing dinner plates, and time for niceties, social graces and a good chat, there really was no reason to leave. Equal but separate ways evolved and, more or less, that’s about where we find ourselves today.

Everything we might want or need right here on Vancouver Island.  And too, 765,000 of us working together to further Island growth and prosperity for our common future.

Just like it was in the early days of the Colony of Vancouver Island, when we had the only Legislative Assembly and parliamentary democracy in British North America west of Upper Canada  ...there is a growing wish to live like an island, to make decisions that build on our Island’s values and our rich  historical, cultural and natural heritage. Thus a Vancouver Island Proclamation.

The VIP proposal revisits our roots as a founding partner of the Confederation that pulled the country  together, advancing steps that lead to Vancouver Island being proclaimed a Province of Canada. With all due respect for the 150 or so years shared with our New Caledonia mainland neighbours, those descended from the old Colony of British Columbia, the VI Proclamation serves to declare the sincere wish of Islanders to control our own destiny. In other words, without us actually going anywhere, we're agreed that it’s time to leave the nest of the Province of British Columbia.

Residents of Vancouver Island, citizens of beautiful BC, as well as those peoples of the great and vast country of Canada, all have good reason to take heart in this moment however. We should all be proud that Vancouver Islanders are now ready, willing and able to take hold of the reins and find our own path into the future.

To the task at hand we bring our strength and diversity, proud history, and the wherewithal to make ends meet. Our willingness to work for the good of all will stand us in good stead, and we'll be pleased to accept the advice and good company of the leaders of BC, and the nation-builders of our country.

Canada, British Columbia and the Pacific region can do no better than to welcome us as friends and neighbours, breaking bread and toasting to one another’s health, wealth and prosperity. Vancouver Islanders come honestly to this moment, open to the discussions that will see us, as equal partners, helping to find solutions to today's challenges, contributing to the good times and standing strong when times are tough, taking our place in the country and the world while seeking the best for everyone.

This is our time, a time for Vancouver Islanders to shoulder the tasks and responsibilities of the 21st Century, to directly face the day-by-day demands and long-term choices that come with striking out on one’s own. This is the time to decide our own future, what we want Vancouver Island to be, and what we’ll leave for our children.

The promise of the Province of Vancouver Island, in the Confederation of Canada, in a new millennium. There’s lots of reasons to dream big!

                                                                                   - Laurie Gourlay

June 16, 2013