EDITORIAL: The province of Vancouver Island?

This idea didn't come from the marijuana movement, honest

For a moment, until we checked the calendar, it read like an April Fool’s joke.

A 74-year-old Victoria man named Robin Richardson — he had a brief stint as a Progressive Conservative MP representing the Beaches in Toronto — put the word out that Vancouver Island has a new provincial political party.

Oh, and one of its major platform planks is to make the Island Canada’s 11th province. Another is to seek federal funding for a light rail transit system linking Duke Point to Qualicum Beach. This did not come from the reefer madness movement, honest.

We broke the story online, and in Tuesday’s paper, but we were up against deadline pressures and just provided the bare bones from Richardson’s news release. Black Press writer John McKinley does a much more thorough job with the story in today’s paper and also at www.pqbnews.com.

The question is this: should we take this seriously, perhaps as a beacon pointing to symptoms of a wider issue, one that has Islanders feeling they are ignored by the provincial government? Does this announcement warrant such analysis, or is it better to poke some fun at the whole idea, have a laugh? In the spirit of equal opportunity and fairness, we will attempt both.

The Island, by virtue of its voting patterns, has been apart from the rest of the province during much of this 15-year run of B.C. Liberal governments. Only two of the Island’s 14 constituencies are currently held by B.C. Liberals. That puts most of the MLAs who represent Islanders on the outside looking in, not involved in making decisions about where tax dollars are spent.

Therefore, it’s fair to say we don’t have much of a say in the halls of power. It’s also fair to say we did that to ourselves, although one never knows at the time he/she marks a ballot who is going to be holding the purse strings of power in Victoria.

We are also apart from the rest of the province by the presence of, well, an ocean. The Salish Sea to be more precise. And three words define that separatism: British Columbia Ferries.

If Vancouver Island were to become its own province, where would the capital be located? Nanaimo would be logical, geographically, and Victoria would have too much of that lingering old province on its clothes. Our vote would be Errington.

We get Lasqueti, right? And Gabriola and Denman and Hornby and Quadra? Certainly Salt Spring. The implications make the head spin.

— Editorial by John Harding

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