WATCH: As the United Kingdom votes on its future with the European Union this week – a new provincial party is forming on Vancouver Island with a mandate to separate from B.C. and become its own province. Monica Martinez reports.
The Vancouver Island flag flew in front of the B.C. legislature in May to mark its 150th birthday, but a new political party would have it remain there permanently as a symbol of a sovereign Vancouver Island, and Canada’s eleventh province.
Former Progressive Conservative MP Robin Richardson is leading the charge, forming the Vancouver Island Party.
“I think we’d be much, much better off. Over time, in many years, we’ve been largely ignored both by the provincial and federal government so by forming our own party we’d have have much more clout,” said Richardson.
He hopes to win two or three seats in next year’s provincial election, forming a balance of power between the Liberals and NDP.
“And in return for our support, we’d ask them to conduct a referendum in 2021, which is the next provincial election, just on the island and the referendum would be are you in favour of Vancouver Island becoming its own province yes or no?”
Vancouver Island initially was its own colony for 17 years, before Britain merged it with the mainland colony of British Columbia in 1866.
Historian John Adams said it was a forced merger.
“There was definitely no referendum. People were not asked what their opinions were and in fact, the people in Victoria were not thrilled with this,” Adams said.
“And James Douglas who was then retired wrote in his daughter’s diary the day of the merger was a sad and melancholy event.”
It’s not a new concept, several fringe groups have emerged over the years with the same idea.
Premier Christy Clark was asked what she thought about the idea during a press conference.
“If they leave British Columbia they won’t be getting any of those LNG revenues,” she said laughing.
Richardson insists his party is no joke and is seeking qualified candidates for all of Vancouver Island’s 14 ridings.