News & Events
Open Letter: Canada Day Letter to Vancouver Island MLA's and MP's...
June 25, 2013
With Canada Day a week away we wanted to introduce Vancouver Island Members of Parliament, and Members of the Legislative Assembly, to an initiative that relates to our country’s beginnings, and future.
Put simply, we're looking to restore Vancouver Island's rights to manage its own affairs. Islanders, working together within an Island framework for self-governance, can best meet the needs of Islanders.
As Canada's birthday approaches we are reminded that the first parliamentary body to represent voters in British North America west of the ‘Province of Canada’ (Ontario), was the Legislative Assembly of Vancouver Island, elected more than 150 years ago in 1856.
With this parliamentary governance in mind we have begun to circulate Petitions that request the federal Government of Canada, and the provincial Government of British Columbia, initiate discussions with respect to the proclamation of the Province of Vancouver Island.
In this respect it's quite likely that an 1847 letter, describing the Island’s wealth and potential for self-sufficiency, contributed to the recommendation for Vancouver's Island's first Legislative Assembly,
“...with respect to the natural capabilities of the country and its facilities for colonization ...that, in healthiness of climate, in fertility of soil, in the abundance of game of all kinds, Flesh, fish and fowl, as well as in rich Mineral productions coal, iron and copper. — this territory contains everything, as a home for a people, from which necessities can be supplied or wealth obtained.”
- private letter from Fitzgerald to Hawes (London's Parliamentary Under-Secretary), June 9th 1847.
These ‘natural capabilities’ remain to us today, providing a solid foundation for growth and prosperity equal or greater than that of many parliamentary bodies in Canada. For instance, our technical, professional and skilled labour force round out a population demographic that sees Vancouver Island with 765,000 residents, greater than six of Canada's provinces and territories.
Our rich heritage, diverse and resilient coastal communities, as well as our renewable resources and industrial infrastructure, enable a strong and resilient economy. In short, Vancouver Island has all the attributes and prerequisites to be a Province.
As such this initiative is a natural next step in our development, as well as an important part of our Island heritage - contributing to Canada's birth and dominion, 'from East to Western sea'. Recognizing Vancouver Island as it was first democratically governed with its own Legislative Assembly, will provide the means for Islanders to once again manage our own affairs.
We hope this initiative will then be of interest to you as an elected representative of Vancouver Island, and have attached a copy of our Petition for your information. All Island MPs and MLA’s are similarly being contacted, as are leaders of all Parties - with an 'open letter' to be circulated to Island and mainland media.
We are also hoping that you will find ways to help support this initiative in parliamentary debate and public discussion, and welcome any remarks you may wish to make to us directly. Should there be opportunity to discuss this initiative with you, to compare plans and options particular to Vancouver Island and our common future, please don't hesitate to be in touch.
This initiative, entirely non-partisan and non-profit, will stimulate cooperation and pride of Islanders as well as strengthen and solidify partnerships with British Columbia and within Canada. Confederation grows with the proclamation of the Province of Vancouver Island.
Co-ordinator, VI Province
MEDIA RELEASE June 20, 2013
Initiative Begins to Proclaim Vancouver Island a New Province of Canada
CEDAR, VI – "The governance of Vancouver Island, as a Province of Canada, is our goal," according to Laurie Gourlay, an organizer with this Vancouver Island initiative.
Petitions are ready, a website developed and letters being mailed to elected representatives of federal and BC governments, as well as the Assembly of First Nations.
"Today we are preparing to celebrate Canada Day on Vancouver Island," says Gourlay, a farmer in Cedar, "mindful of our first Governor General's royal proclamation in 1868."
On June 20th 1868 Viscount Monk, the last Governor General of the Province of Canada and the first Governor General of Canadian Confederation, issued a royal proclamation asking Canadians to celebrate the anniversary of Confederation by recognizing the July 1st 1867 enactment of the British North America Act.
"Remembering Canada's early days, we're asking that the Colony of Vancouver Island, which was the first parliamentary body in British North America west of Ontario in 1849, once again be recognized as capable of governing its own affairs." Gourlay is confident.
The Petitions, to the Governments of Canada and British Columbia, note that Vancouver Island has some 765,000 residents, greater than six of Canada's provinces and territories.
"Vancouver Island is an exceptional place, with extraordinary people," states Scott Akenhead, another organizer of the VI province initiative. "The professional, technical, skilled and creative people who live here are very capable of managing their own affairs, and should have the chance to do so. We enjoy a first-class quality of life on this temperate Pacific island, have substantial natural resources to work with, and a solid business and industrial infrastructure in place. Vancouver, Seattle, and the Pacific Rim are right next door. We have all we need to be self-reliant."
Proclaiming the Province of Vancouver Island is a natural step in the progress and development of the Island, according to organizers of this VI initiative, who also note that provincial status is presently being considered for the Northwest Territories, with boundaries soon to be re-drawn. "Why not let Islanders decide their own future?" they ask.
This Canada Day then you may want to keep a lookout for Gourlay and Akenhead. They'll be smiling, carrying petitions and suggesting that, "it's in the interest of all Islanders to take get involved in these exciting times. And with a little effort Vancouver Island can be proclaimed a new province of Canada by 2021, 150 years after BC joined Confederation."
For information, please contact:
Laurie Gourlay (250) 722-3444 or, Scott Akenhead (250) 210-4410