With Vancouver Island having only two of 14 MLAs on the government side of the legislature, some residents are talking about creating a new province.
The VI province initiative was announced in a news release in June by mid-Island environmental-sustainability advocates Laurie Gourlay and Scott Akenhead.
They point out that there are 765,000 residents on Vancouver Island, which is more than the number living in six Canadian provinces and territories. B.C.'s population is approximately 4.65 million.
"Most recently overarching regional, national and global issues have come to the forefront—including needs to meet Island self-sufficiency, food security, energy and economic self-reliance, as well as resource, watershed and ecological health," the VI province initiative website states. "Administration and management of Vancouver Island in its own right, as a province, offers a means to ensure that Island residents retain a high quality and standard of living, with the authority to make this happen."
A petition has been drafted for submission to Parliament, calling upon the federal government to proclaim Vancouver Island a province by May 16, 2021. This will be the 150th anniversary of B.C. entering into Confederation.
A similar petition has been prepared for members of the provincial legislature.
Central government power is diminishing
The idea might strike some as crazy, but it comes in an era when more nation states are finding themselves in serious trouble.
Dmitry Orlov's recent book, The Five Stages of Collapse: Survivors' Toolkit, noted that there was more than a doubling of countries that lacked "effective sovereignty" on the World Bank's list between 1996 and 2006.
If Vancouver Island were to become a separate province, it might necessitate the creation of a new court system, a new environmental-assessment regime, and a new securities commission, to name just three areas of provincial jurisdiction.
Separation from the rest of B.C. isn't something to be considered lightly.
Vancouver Island and the environment
But based on recent voting patterns, it's clear that Vancouver Islanders have a keener interest in sustainability.
That's been demonstrated by the popularity of the Green party, which elected its first MLA, Andrew Weaver, in Oak Bay–Gordon Head.
Don't be surprised if Green party supporters get behind this initiative to turn Vancouver Island into a separate province. That's because it could conceivably lead to Weaver or another Green MLA becoming a premier.
Meanwhile, a Vancouver Island separatist movement could also also push the B.C. Liberal government to adopt more environmentally responsible policies.
In the same way, the Quebec separatist movement has forced Ottawa to make concessions around financial issues. Ottawa is also leery about seizing authority over areas that members of the Quebec national assembly consider provincial jurisdiction.
B.C. Liberals champion fossil fuels
At the moment, B.C. premier Christy Clark is linking the province's economic future to the export of liquefied natural gas—a policy that Weaver has condemned.
This comes at a time when fossil-fuel use is contributing to Frankenstorms, sudden floods, and massive forest fires around the globe. No longer can human beings count on stable, predictable weather patterns.
At the moment, it seems far-fetched that the island will separate from B.C., notwithstanding continued frustration over ferry service and the lack of representation in cabinet.
But the mood could change should Vancouver Island be subjected to the type of climate destabilization that's occurred elsewhere.
This will be especially so if it appears that the people at the top of the B.C. Liberal government don't want to acknowledge that there's a problem with greenhouse-gas emissions, not to mention their reliance on LNG exports as an economic panacea.