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Since Canadian Confederation in 1867, there have been several proposals for new Canadian provinces and territories. The Constitution of Canada requires an amendment for the creation of a new province but the creation of a new territory requires only an act of Parliament; therefore, it is easier to create a territory than a province.

Successful movements

Canada's four original provinces in 1867 were Ontariomarker, Quebecmarker, Nova Scotiamarker, and New Brunswickmarker, with their shape and size varying over time. Since then, the following provinces and territories have joined Canada:
Evolution of the Provinces of Canada
  • Manitobamarker was created as a province in 1870 in an area that had been planned to be part of the Northwest Territories. It was originally intended to be a homeland for the Métis. It attained its current size in 1912. Manitoba was for a time nicknamed the "Postage Stamp Province" due to its original square shape.

  • The Northwest Territoriesmarker (originally North-West Territories) joined Canada on the same day as Manitoba. It was originally very large in size; two provinces and two other territories have been created from it as well as large portions of territory being transferred to other provinces. There have been proposals for it to evolve from a territory into a province.

  • Yukonmarker was created as a territory from the western part of Northwest Territories in 1898. It was created for better control of the Klondike Gold Rush. There are currently proposals for it to change from a territory to a province.

  • Saskatchewanmarker and Albertamarker were provinces created from part of the Northwest Territories in 1905. They were created because of the large-scale settlement of the Canadian prairies. There were many rival proposals regarding how many provinces should be created in Canadian West. Premier Frederick Haultain of the old North-West Territories wanted to create one large province, called Buffalo, which would have encompassed all of present-day Alberta and Saskatchewan. Other proposals called for three or four provinces to be created, one each for the provisional districts of the old North-West Territories: Albertamarker, Saskatchewan, Assiniboia, and sometimes the less populated Athabasca. Another proposal called for two provinces, but divided by a line of latitude (51.97° north) rather than longitude (110° west) as eventually happened. This would have created a northern parkland province that would have include the settlements along the Carlton Trail, and a southerly prairie province along the main line of the Canadian Pacific Railway.

  • Nunavutmarker was created from the eastern part of the Northwest Territories in 1999. It was intended as a homeland for the Inuit and has been essential in maintaining a prominent Inuit culture in Canada. Like Canada's older territories, there is currently a movement for it to evolve from a territory into a province.

Current and defunct movements within Canada

People in many areas across Canada have expressed wishes that their communities receive heightened autonomy via provincehood or territoryhood. These areas include:

  • Cape Breton Islandmarker - An area which was annexed by and is currently a part of Nova Scotia, but in the past it has been a separate colony. Cape Breton Island is usually considered distinct from mainland Nova Scotia by people across Canada including mainland Nova Scotia. Provincehood had been advocated by the Cape Breton Labour Party.

  • English Quebec - 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 Islandmarker, in the event of Quebec separation, with such areas remaining part of Canada. This movement is no longer active.

  • Kanienkehaka (Mohawks) - 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. It is not clear whether most Mohawks would actually like to secede from Canada or to form a territory within Canada, in the event of Quebec secession. 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. See also: Oka Crisis.

  • Northern Ontario - The Northern Ontario Heritage Party advocated for the creation of a separate province by dividing from Southern Ontario in the 1970s, although the party did not attract widespread electoral support. A newer group, the Northern Ontario Secession Movement, has begun a similar campaign, but has not to date attracted the same degree of attention. On a more modest scale, Sudburymarker's Northern Life community newspaper has also published a number of editorials in recent years 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.

  • Nunatsiavut - An area in northern Labrador, it is inhabited mainly by Inuit, many of whom wish to leave Newfoundland and Labrador and form a territory similar to Nunavut. It has recently been granted certain self-government powers, while remaining within the province. Similar Inuit and First Nation territories, such as Nunavikmarker and parts of British Columbia, are seeking the same status as Nunatsiavut.

  • 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.

  • Torontomarker - The largest city in Canada. Some have argued that the rest of Ontario benefits from Toronto more than the reverse. Support for its separation from Ontario is low. Some activists have lobbied for a separate Province of Toronto.

  • Vancouver Islandmarker - Vancouver Island was a British colony before the mainland of what is now British Columbia was settled. Some island residents believe that the island would be better off as its own province. Currently, support for the movement, or even awareness of it, is low.

  • Each of the three current Canadian territories — Yukonmarker, the Northwest Territoriesmarker and Nunavutmarker — is home to a movement lobbying for the territories' political status to be upgraded to full provincehood.

Other countries and territories

Current or former British territories

  • Turks and Caicos Islands - A British overseas territory in the Caribbean. There is some support for it to join Canada, and in 2004 Nova Scotiamarker voted to invite Turks and Caicos to join that province, in the event of the islands becoming Canadian. However, the islands' small economy and Canada's involvement in Haitimarker has made this controversial. On March 2, 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 "opened up a new market for Canadian goods". The article proposed that "the port, unaffordable for Caribbean countries [would] boost the standard of living and bolstered hemispheric security. ... 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". In the 1990s support for integration into Canada as an "11th province" was at 90%, while in 2003, support for integration stood at around 60% in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Peter Goldring, a Conservative 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 in regards to anti-terrorism, trade and combating encroaching Chinese influence in several small Caribbean islands, such as St. Luciamarker.

  • Barbadosmarker - 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 Britainmarker. 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 Britishmarker Caribbeanmarker with complete Dominion Status within five years from the date of inauguration of the West Indies Federation with Canada.

  • Bermudamarker - 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.

  • Jamaicamarker - In the late 19th century, there was some discussion of some form of political union between Canada and Jamaica.

  • The West Indies Federation – In a 1952 letter by T.G. Major, a Canadian Trade Commissioner in Trinidad and Tobagomarker, 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 Ottawamarker, it was also noted though that the colony of British Honduras (present day Belizemarker) showed the most interest in a union with Canada exceeding that of the other British Caribbean colonies.

Canadian Prime Minister 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 above territories to Canada as sub-dominions or League of Nations mandates, citing the concessions made to Billy Hughes' Australian delegation with regard to New Guineamarker and Nauru. Lloyd George eventually declined .

United States

In the 1979 Canadian federal election, the Rhinoceros Party of Canada, a satirical political party, included annexation of the United States as part of its platform. 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 purely satirical idea rather than a serious proposal.

  • Alaskamarker - Some Canadians and Alaskans have discussed the possibility of the state of Alaska seceding from the United States and joining Canada under an autonomy plan allowing for a U.S. sphere of influence. This is comparable to what some Quebec separatists have advocated for in the past (sovereignty-association, Quebec Autonomism). The issue has been discussed on various fora, such as that for the Alaska Independence Party forum, which claims Alaska as the "lost province". However, no formal movement in favour of this proposal exists, nor does any political party currently advocate it.

  • Vermontmarker - Some supporters of the Vermont independence movement propose that Vermont join Canada as a province.

  • Mainemarker - Some propose that Maine secede from the U.S. and join Canada as a province, though this movement is much smaller than the "Vermont annexation movement".

  • New Englandmarker - Certain members of the Maine and Vermont secession movements back all of New England seceding and joining Canada. New England has similarly been proposed by some groups to enter an economic integration scheme with the Canadian Maritimes as part of the Atlantica trade zone.

Other political entities

  • St. Pierre and Miquelonmarker - A small Frenchmarker dependency just off the Burin Peninsulamarker of Newfoundland and Labradormarker. At various times, residents and politicians in Saint Pierre and Miquelon have proposed that the islands pursue secession from France to become part of Canada, so that the islands could participate in Canada's much larger maritime zone rather than France's limited "keyhole" zone, although as of 2009 such proposals have never come to a vote or referendum.

Other boundary changes

There have also been some proposals that would result in a change of the boundary status between existing provinces, or even between Canada and the United States.

  • Northwestern Ontario - Recently, some residents of Northwestern Ontario have proposed that the region secede from Ontariomarker to join Manitobamarker, 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."
  • Maritime Provinces - At various times, some politicians in Canada's Maritime provinces of New Brunswickmarker, Nova Scotiamarker and Prince Edward Islandmarker have proposed that the three provinces unite into a single new province, which would be larger and have more political and economic clout than any of the three provinces does individually. Although this Maritime Union proposal often attracts media attention, there has been little substantive discussion.
  • Southeastern British Columbiamarker - In the 1990s, there was discussion amongst some municipal councillors in Elkfordmarker, west of the Rocky Mountains, about joining Albertamarker, whose conservative politics were more in line with their own than were the left-wing politics of much of the rest of BC. This discussion did not result in any formal movement.
  • Northwest Anglemarker - Due to laws restricting fishing rights in Lake of the Woodsmarker, some residents of this part of Minnesotamarker — which is accessible to the rest of the United States only by way of Manitobamarker — 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.


  1. "First Nations Say No to PQ," Windspeaker, November 1995.
  2. "The case for regional government", Northern Life, November 6, 2006.
  4. Carmichael, Dr. Trevor A. 2001. Passport to the Heart: Reflections on Canada Caribbean Relations. Ian Randle Publishers, Kingston 6, Jamaica. ISBN 976-637-028-1 The book's Forward passage, synopsis
  5. Pg. 10
  6. Pgs. 3-5
  7. Pgs. 9-15
  8. 1979 campaign brochure of Judi Skuce
  9. Bye, Bye, Miss American Empire | Orion magazine
  10. Vermont, Canada's 11th Province
  11. State of Vermont wants to join Canada | The Baheyeldin Dynasty
  12. Features | Maine could secede from the US and join Canada
  13. Could a State join Canada? « American Red Tory
  14. New England Secession: December 2004
  15. Sessession allowed in US Constitution [Archive] - Alternate History Discussion Board
  16. Economic Development Council of Northern Vermont (EDCNV) - Atlantic Trade Corridor
  17. Livio di Matteo, "Breakaway country," Financial Post September 6, 2006, page FP17

See also

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