[c. 1,100 words, 2 illustrations] [End]
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by Lionel Berry, Oshawa, Ontario
The Expansionist Party of the United States ("XP") advocates that Canada enter the Union as up to seven states. The page of our website at which we propose that does not specify how the non-province territories of Canada, in the far north, be assigned among the new States to be created from Canada, or whether they should be merged with Alaska into a State of Arctica or be left as territories until the enlarged Congress can, after due deliberation, decide their disposition.
Lionel Berry, an XP ally now resident in Oshawa, Ontario, has his own distinct ideas of how boundaries for new Canadian States should be drawn. Tho XP would be willing to accept existing provincial boundaries (except that we propose that the four, small Atlantic Provinces be merged into a single new State) Lionel thinks that those boundaries do not align with the actual lines of economic and cultural force that will determine whether new Canadian States will be able to meet the needs of their people. We offer below a map he devised and some explanation of his thinking, for consideration by both Canadians and Americans.
Background. Lionel has lived in various parts of Canada and worked in different industries. His experiences have moved him to believe that the boundaries drawn for Canada's provinces many years ago are no longer appropriate.
"I was born in Edmonton (to a dual Canadian/U.S. citizenship mother), moved to Virden, Manitoba on graduating from civil engineering studies; then to Red Deer, Alberta; Calgary, Alberta; Port Elgin, Ontario; and now Oshawa, Ontario. I have worked in the oil and gas industry, chemical industry, and now the nuclear industry as an employee and consultant. I have observed a great deal of diversity in the values Canadians hold from region to region.
"My interest in this cause is to free people to fully live their lives as effectively and productively as possible, in a broad society, where there is real choice in governments and geography."
Addressing his preferences as to how the various new States to be admitted from Canada might be drawn, and what their capitals might be, Lionel says:
"There should be real criteria for drawing boundaries and choosing capitals. People in general don't want their capitals in little towns. Alaska is an example, as is British Columbia. These capitals were originally chosen because they were the largest cities, not to find a little remote place. Indeed, Alaska is seriously considering moving theirs to Anchorage, and you would think so on viewing the capital building (rundown). Victoria is large enough, but still remote enough to cause some carping. It will keep its place.
"Regina is a poor choice, I think. Actually, I cannot see joining the Prairie Provinces together just because they all have flat dirt and 2% of the population driving combines. The economies and lines of communication are different. Manitoba is more tied to Minnesota, northwestern Ontario, and southern Saskatchewan than Alberta is. Why not recognize this as a region or a state? Also, why not consider Cascadia (a single State to be created from Washington/BC/Southern Alaska)?
"On the attached map I have shown a division of northern and eastern BC between Alaska and Alberta. Yukon and Alaska join together. The NWT goes to Alberta. Western Saskatchewan goes to Alberta. Eastern Saskatchewan and western Ontario go to Manitoba. Nunavut good luck trying to get them to want to join anyone, and having anyone push the issue. Of course, the Atlantic provinces join together.
"Anyway, my criteria are that economic lines of communication make for the best provincial or state boundaries."
In considering what arguments to put forward in a series of pages directed to statehood for individual provinces, one at a time (as against bringing all of Canada into the Union at the same time), XP asked its Canadian "inner circle" of email correspondents whether we should advocate that British Columbia enter the Union by itself or that Alberta join with BC in forming a single State. Lionel was quick to reply:
"As a former resident of Alberta, I would detest being lumped together with BC in any merger. The politics are just too different. BC swings wildly from left to right, electing NDP governments to build up a welfare state, and then, after failure, electing right-wing governments to undo the government intervention, eventually throwing them out when they get too zany for the center body politic. Perhaps a more moderate and conservative Alberta would counter these swings fully in any merger. But why would anyone in Alberta really want to risk it, unless they were from the welfare-state class?
"Is there an optimum size for state or provincial governments, anyway? As I have stated before, I would rather cut up the provinces and realign them to their natural economic and political zones of influence. As XP has rightly pointed out, it would be easier to just grandfather the existing provinces into the Union using the existing borders. But, on the other hand, the very act of union is so disruptive to the existing legal system, that you might as well clean up the existing mess once and for all and get the alignments right. The following map of Canada indicates my proposed divisions. (Base map source is http://www.media.mit.edu/~jofish/pictures/maps/canada.political.map.jpg).
"Provinces should be able to decide to join the Union alone or together, depending on their situation, and the nature of the negotiation. Nunavut is not suitable for statehood or provincehood, and does not want to be assimilated. For this reason, I have indicated it as a "territory" with its own government, but essentially dependent on handouts from the big-brother federal government. The area is too sparsely populated and important to do otherwise."
The number of members of the House of Representatives that the States as demarcated on Mr. Berry's map would have is approximately thus:
British Columbia, 7
Terra Nova, 5 or 6.
Alaska, into which the Yukon and northwestern BC would be merged, would not change as to its representation from the small number of people in the added area, but would remain at one (1).
Now, then, Lionel Berry's proposal for redrawing the map of Canada as seven states and one territory of the United States. Ontarians dismayed at how reduced in geographic size Ontario would be if this proposal were implemented should realize that the great preponderance of Ontario's population resides in the area that would remain, so Ontario need fear no significant reduction of its economic and political importance.
Immediately following Lionel's map, we present a different proposal for seven states that originally appeared at our Canada page.
The map below suggests a different alignment for Canada as seven States of the Union. XP believes that no area, no matter how sparsely populated, should be permanently denied full participation in the Union. So we do not accept Nunavut as a perpetual territory. There are ways to give Eskimos (or "Inuit", the politically correct term in Canada) real power over their circumstances without giving them their own territorial government. Alaska's Native Claims Settlement Act is one. That Act has been amended since it was enacted, and will be amended into the future as Alaska's Eskimos and Indians try new approaches to stubborn problems within the context of a larger society of which they are fully part. (Click here for a discussion of "Eskimo" vs. "Inuit".)
Of course, the simplest way to bring Canada into the Union would be to accept the current provincial boundaries as the new State boundaries, without change. Because the Atlantic Provinces are both geographically small and of low population, however, XP opposes admission of that region as anything but a single State. Some other provinces are not large in population either, but they are so large geographically that there is plenty of perceived room for growth. It would be unfair to the big states of the U.S. to give equal representation in the U.S. Senate to each of the four tiny Atlantic entities. Besides, merger of the three Maritime Provinces or all four Atlantic Provinces has been discussed for decades, on the premise that eliminating duplicative governments would make for economies and bringing together development agencies, tourist agencies, etc., would substantially strengthen the region while producing minimal disruptions.
Comments? If you have alternative (constructive) suggestions, by all means write to us at XPUS@aol.com. If there be enuf interest, we will create a page for Comments. Specify if we may publish your remarks, either on our "Letters" page or on a Comments page to be created specific to this discussion.
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