List of proposed provinces and territories of Canada
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 province1 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 to 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.
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
|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, becoming the 11th province of Canada. 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||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.19 A newer group, the Northern Ontario Secession Movement, began a similar campaign in 2006, but did attract the same degree of attention.20 On a more modest scale, Sudbury's Northern Life community newspaper has also published a number of editorials in the early 2000s 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.21 The Northern Ontario Heritage Party was reregistered in 2010,22 although in its current incarnation it advocates increased regional autonomy and has stopped short of calling for a new province.|
|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."23|
|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.24 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.24|
|Western Canada||Province of Buffalo||Buffalo was a proposed Canadian province in the early 1900s.25 It would have been composed of the southern halves and main cities (Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, and Regina) of the present day provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan and the capital would have been Regina. The northern halves would remain in the North-West Territories. 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). Eventually, Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier divided the region vertically into the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.26|
|British Columbia||Vancouver Island||Vancouver Island is more populous than three provinces, and all three territories, and its major income is forestry, mining, and tourism. In 2013, in response to the federal electoral district redistribution, two separatist groups emerged to make Vancouver Island its own country or province.2728 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 2021.29|
|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.30|
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, somewho? 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.31 Since then, several British overseas territories have expressed occasional interest in joining Canada.
|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 has 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.32
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.33 However, the Canadian government does not dismiss the possibility of a future union.33
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.34
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".35 "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."35
In the Turks and Caicos Islands, support for integration into Canada as an "11th province" was at 90% in the 1990s, while in 2003 support for integration 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.35
It was announced by the Governor that in March 2011 the two most senior police roles, namely the Commissioner of Police and the Deputy Commissioner of Police, will be held by Canadians for a period of two years, to assist the jurisdiction with crime prevention and crime solving.36 This is a proactive measure designed to quell the rising tide of crime in the islands.
|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.37|
Former British territories that have expressed interest in joining Canada:
|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.37 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.38|
|Jamaica||In the late 19th century, there was some discussion of some form of political union between Canada and Jamaica.39|
|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.37|
|Alaska boundary dispute||The Alaska boundary dispute, which had been simmering since the Alaska purchase of 1867, became critical when gold was discovered in the Yukon during the late 1890s.41 Canada argued its historic boundary with Russian America included the Lynn Canal and the port of Skagway, both of which are a part of the United States,41 while the United States claimed the Atlin District and the lower Stikine and even Whitehorse. The dispute went to arbitration in 1903, with the British delegate siding with the Americans.42|
|Vermont||Some supporters of the Vermont independence movement propose that Vermont join Canada as a province.4344|
|Maine||Some propose that Maine secede from the United States and join Canada as a province.4546 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.4748 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.49 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.50|
|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.51|
|Denmark||Hans Island||Hans Island is a small, uninhabited barren knoll. Located off the northwest coast of Greenland, in the centre of the Kennedy Channel of Nares Strait (the strait that separates Ellesmere Island in Canada from northern Greenland and connects Baffin Bay with the Lincoln Sea).52 The island has been in dispute between Canada and Denmark since the 1980s.52 Canada claims that the island is situated to the north of the border and thus Canadian territory, despite the Permanent Court of International Justice ruling in 1933 that declared the legal status of Greenland in favour of Denmark. In 2007, updates of satellite photos led Canada to recognize the international border as crossing through the middle of Hans Island, not to the south of the island as previously claimed.53|
|Norway||Sverdrup Islands||Otto Sverdrup, a Norwegian explorer, claimed the Sverdrup Islands for Norway in 1898, but the Norwegian government showed no interest in pursuing the claim until 1928.54 On 11 November 1930 (Remembrance Day) after formal Canadian intervention, Norway recognized Canada's sovereignty over the islands.55|
- 51st state
- Alberta separatism
- Former colonies and territories in Canada
- List of proposed states of Australia
- Quebec sovereignty movement
- Territorial evolution of Canada – after 1867
- Western alienation in Canada
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