List of proposed provinces and territories of Canada

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When Canada was formed in 1867 its provinces were a relatively narrow strip in the southeast, with vast territories in the interior. It grew by adding British Columbia in 1871, P.E.I. in 1873, the British Arctic Islands in 1880, and Newfoundland in 1949; meanwhile, its provinces grew both in size and number at the expense of its territories.
Animation of the evolution of the borders and names of Canada's provinces and territories

Since Canadian Confederation in 1867, there have been several proposals for new Canadian provinces and territories. Since 1982, the current Constitution of Canada requires an amendment ratified by seven provincial legislatures representing at least half of the national population for the creation of a new province[1] while the creation of a new territory requires only an act of Parliament.[2] Because opening up the constitution to amendment could entice provinces to demand other changes too in exchange for such support, this is seen to be a politically unfeasible option. The last new province, Newfoundland, was brought into the country in 1949 by an act of the British Parliament before the 1982 patriation of the constitution.

Movements within Canada[edit]

There have been movements to redistrict existing land in order to create new provinces and territories within Canada. In late 2004, Prime Minister Paul Martin surprised some observers by expressing his personal support for all three territories gaining provincial status "eventually". He cited their importance to the country as a whole and the ongoing need to assert sovereignty in the Arctic, particularly as global warming could make that region more open to exploitation leading to more complex international waters disputes.[3]

Area Land Description
Atlantic Canada Maritime Union The Maritime Union is a proposed province consisting of the three Maritime provinces of Canada (Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick). This province would be the fifth-largest in Canada by population.[4] The Maritime Union has also been expanded to a proposed Atlantic Union which would also include Newfoundland and Labrador.[4]
Acadia This province was promoted by the Parti Acadien and is similarly represented by the unrecognized state "Republic of Madawaska".[5] The Parti Acadien supported the creation of a new province consisting of the francophone parts of New Brunswick, in tandem with most Acadian Society of New Brunswick members.[5] The party went into the 1978 election with a platform of independence.[6] However, Richard Hatfield and the governing Progressive Conservatives also promoted a platform that promised to increase the role of the Acadian people and culture within the province.[5]
Cape Breton Island Cape Breton Island had been a separate colony, but was incorporated into Nova Scotia.[7] Provincehood was advocated by the Cape Breton Labour Party.[8]
Labrador Labrador is the mainland portion of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The Labrador Party has campaigned on the platform of a separate province.[9]
Nunatsiavut This is an area in northern Labrador, which is inhabited mainly by Inuit, many of whom wish to leave Newfoundland and Labrador and form a territory similar to Nunavut.[10] It was granted certain self-government powers on 1 December 2005, while remaining within the province.[11] Similar Inuit and First Nation territories, such as Nunavik, are seeking the same status as Nunatsiavut.[12]
Quebec Province of Montreal It has been proposed to separate the city of Montreal, its metropolitan region or its English and non-Francophone regions into a separate province from Quebec. There have been several proposals of this nature from mid-20th century onwards.[13] 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.[14] This movement is no longer active.[14]
Kanienkehaka 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.[15] 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.[16]
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.[17]
Ontario 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 region would be a district like the Australian Capital Territory or the District of Columbia.[18]
Northern Ontario Throughout the region's history, there have been various movements proposing that the region secede from Ontario to form its own province.[19] The first such movement emerged in Sudbury in the 1890s, when the provincial government began taxing mines;[19] a second movement emerged following the creation of Alberta and Saskatchewan in 1905.[19] In the 1940s, an organization called the New Province League formed to lobby for the creation of a new territory of "Aurora".[19]

In 1966, a committee of mayors from the region, comprising Max Silverman of Sudbury, G. W. Maybury of Kapuskasing, Ernest Reid of Fort William, Leo Del Villano of Timmins, Merle Dickerson of North Bay and Leo Foucault of Espanola, formed to study the feasibility of Northern Ontario forming a new province.[20]

The Northern Ontario Heritage Party advocated the creation of a separate province by dividing from Southern Ontario in the 1970s, although the party did not attract widespread electoral support.[21] A newer group, the Northern Ontario Secession Movement, began a similar campaign in 2006, but did not attract the same degree of attention.[22]

In 1999, the Northeastern Ontario Municipal Association, a committee consisting of the mayors of 14 Northern Ontario municipalities, wrote a letter to Prime Minister Jean Chrétien asking him to outline the necessary conditions for the region to secede from Ontario to form a new province.[23] This movement emerged as a reaction to the government of Mike Harris, whose policies were widely unpopular in the region even though Harris himself represented the Northern Ontario riding of Nipissing in the legislature.[23]

The Northern Ontario Heritage Party was reregistered in 2010,[24] although in its current incarnation it advocates increased regional autonomy within the province and has stopped short of calling for secession.

Northwestern Ontario In 2006, some residents of Northwestern Ontario 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. One paper in Canadian Public Policy suggested the region merge with Manitoba to form a new province called "Mantario."[25]
Province of Toronto Toronto is the largest city in Canada. Some have argued that the rest of Ontario benefits from Toronto more than the reverse.[26] Some activists have lobbied for a separate Province of Toronto. Former Toronto Mayor Mel Lastman, while in office, floated the idea because of what he perceived as the province's excessive draining of tax resources from Toronto without providing sufficient support for public services within the city.[26]
Western Canada Province of Buffalo Buffalo was a proposed Canadian province prior to 1905.[27] Carved out of the southern portion (south of 55°N) of the North-West Territories, it would have been composed of the southern halves of the present day provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, including the already sizeable urbanized communities of Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, and Regina, with Regina as the capital. Its main proponent was Sir Frederick Haultain, then-Premier of the North-West Territories, who said in 1904 that "One big province would be able to do things no other province could." The proposal was not popular, especially with Calgarians and Edmontonians, who each had their own ambitions to be a capital city (Edmonton eventually became the capital of Alberta). The proposal was negated in 1905, when Prime Minister Laurier divided the region with a north-south boundary, reaching 60°N, as the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.[28]
British Columbia Vancouver Island In 2013, in response to the federal electoral district redistribution, two separatist groups emerged to make Vancouver Island its own country or province.[29][30] They hope to move the British Columbia legislature to a different city, make Vancouver Island its own province, and fly the flag of the Colony of Vancouver Island by 2021.[31] Vancouver Island is more populous than three provinces, and all three territories.
Northern Canada Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut Each of the three Canadian territories has had movements lobbying for their territorial political status to be upgraded to full provincehood.[32] Yukon premier Tony Penikett fought the Meech Lake Accord in the 1980s, on the grounds that provisions of the accord would have made it virtually impossible for the territory to ever become a province.[33]

Movements outside of Canada[edit]

British overseas territories[edit]

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, some[who?] Canadians felt that it would better serve the interests of the British Empire if Britain's colonies in the Americas were controlled from Canada. Thus 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 below territories to Canada as territories, sub-dominions, or League of Nations mandates, citing the concessions made to Billy Hughes' Australian delegation with regard to New Guinea (which was made a territory of Australia) and Nauru. Lloyd George declined.[34] Since then, several British overseas territories have expressed occasional interest in joining Canada.

Current British overseas territories[edit]

Polity Description
Turks and Caicos Islands The Turks and Caicos Islands are a British overseas territory in the Caribbean. There is some support for a union with Canada; however, the islands' small economy and Canada's involvement in Haiti[clarification needed] have made this controversial. In 1917, the Prime Minister of Canada, Robert Borden first suggested that Canada annex the Turks and Caicos Islands. In 1974, Canadian New Democratic Party Member of Parliament Max Saltsman introduced a failed attempt at consolidating the islands.

The idea was brought up again in 1986 by Progressive Conservative MP Dan McKenzie, but it was rejected by his party's caucus committee on external affairs in 1987. The committee, chaired by MP David Daubney, looked at immigration, banking, health care and tourism issues in making its decision.[35]

In 2004, Conservative MP Peter Goldring visited Turks and Caicos to explore the possibility once more. He drafted a motion asking the Canadian Government to look into the issue, but his party declined, citing immigration, tourism, and economic issues.[36] However, the Canadian government does not dismiss the possibility of a future union.[36] The province of Nova Scotia voted to invite Turks and Caicos to join the province in 2004, should the islands ever become part of Canada. This would bypass the problems with admitting Turks and Caicos as a separate province.[37]

On 2 March 2009, the Ottawa Citizen ran an article on its online site reporting the interest of the Canadian government to open a deep-water port in the Caribbean that would open up "a new market for Canadian goods ... in the Caribbean and nearby Central and South America".[38] "Suppose the port, unaffordable for Caribbean countries, boosted their standard of living and bolstered hemispheric security. Suppose the port doubled as a Canadian military operations base for countries wanting help to patrol their waters and to interdict the Caribbean's robust trade in smuggled arms, drugs and people."[38]

In May 2014 Premier of Turks and Caicos Rufus Ewing visited the Canadian Parliament looking to improve its relationship with Canada, and was open to a possible "marriage" in the future.[39][40]

In the Turks and Caicos Islands, support for a "special relationship" with Canada was at 90% in the 1990s, while in 2003 support for the relationship stood at around 60%. Goldring, an MP from Edmonton, has championed the cause of integrating the Turks and Caicos Islands as a Canadian territory for security benefits, as well as increasing Canada's influence in Central and Southern America with regard to counterterrorism, trade and combating encroaching Chinese influence in several small Caribbean islands, such as St. Lucia.[38]

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.[41] The same Salvation Army Church territory serves both Canada and Bermuda with many of their pastors travelling between countries.

In January 2009, Nova Scotia's Premier, Rodney MacDonald, and the Premier of Bermuda, Ewart Brown, signed a five-year agreement that would strengthen Nova Scotia's ties with Bermuda and enhance service export opportunities, tourism, transportation and health links in both jurisdictions.[42]

Bermuda's ties to Canada include the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bermuda being overseen by Canada's Chartered Professional Accounting profession.

Former British overseas territories[edit]

Former British territories that have expressed interest in joining Canada:

Polity Description
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 Bajan 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.[41] In 2008, the former President of the Barbados International Business Association (BIBA) reflected on the close historical relations between both nations and questioned whether a political union was possible within the next 100 years.[43]
Jamaica In the late 19th century, there was some discussion of some form of political union between Canada and Jamaica.[44]
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.[41]

United States[edit]

Land Description
Vermont Some supporters of the Vermont independence movement propose that Vermont join Canada as a province.[45][46]
Maine Some propose that Maine secede from the United States and join Canada as a province.[47][48] This movement is much smaller than the Vermont annexation movement, although Maine's economy is strongly dependent upon trade with Canada.
Northwest Angle and Elm Point, Minnesota Due to laws restricting fishing rights in Lake of the Woods, some residents of this part of Minnesota, which is accessible by road to the rest of the United States only through 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 Angle's land.[49][50] Whether this change would also include Elm Point, a small cape to the south of the angle but also cut off from the United States, is not determined.
All or part of the United States In the 1979 Canadian federal election, the Rhinoceros Party of Canada, a satirical federal political party, included annexation of the United States as part of its platform.[51] 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 satirical idea rather than a serious proposal.[52]

European territories[edit]

Country Land Description
France St. Pierre and Miquelon A small French dependency just off the Burin Peninsula of Newfoundland and Labrador. In the past, a handful of politicians in Saint Pierre and Miquelon proposed that the islands pursue secession from France to become part of Canada (either as part of Quebec or as a new territory). This would be so that the islands, whose economy is highly dependent on the Atlantic fishery, could participate in Canada's much larger maritime fishing zone rather than France's limited "keyhole" zone.[53]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Amendment by general procedure". Constitution Act, 1982. Department of Justice, Government of Canada. Retrieved 17 March 2010. An amendment to the Constitution of Canada in relation to the following matters may be made only in accordance with subsection 38(1)...notwithstanding any other law or practice, the establishment of new provinces. 
  2. ^ Norman L. Nicholson (1979). The boundaries of the Canadian Confederation. McGill-Queen's Press – MQUP. pp. 174–175. ISBN 978-0-7705-1742-7. 
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  25. ^ Livio di Matteo, "Breakaway country," Financial Post 6 September 2006, page FP17
  26. ^ a b Julie-Anne Boudreau; Roger Keil; Douglas Young (15 May 2009). Changing Toronto: governing urban neoliberalism. University of Toronto Press. pp. 78–79. ISBN 978-1-4426-0093-5. 
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  42. ^ http://novascotia.ca/news/release/?id=20090113001
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  51. ^ 1979 campaign brochure of Judi Skuce
  52. ^ "Bye, Bye, Miss American Empire". Orion magazine. Retrieved 18 March 2010. 
  53. ^ "Quebec – History.com Articles, Video, Pictures and Facts". History.com. 13 January 2012. Retrieved 20 January 2012.