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For almost 100 years, Canadian politicians have toyed with the idea of making the Caribbean nation of Turks and Caicos our official, 11th province.

While all of the proposals have unfortunately fallen flat so far, it appears that a new contender has entered the geographical fray. Except this time, the area is already a part of our country.

That’s right, politicians in B.C. are proposing that Vancouver Island be its own, independent province. The Vancouver Island Party officially launched on June 22, and already unveiled large elements of its platform. Among other things, the party wants to separate the island from the rest of B.C., lower or eliminate fare rates on B.C. ferries, provide free tuition to the island’s residents and also build a bridge at Campbell River to connect the region to the mainland.

“We’ll be much better off as a province of Canada than just a region of British Columbia,” party leader Robin Richardson said. “The reason is that we’d be able to negotiate our way back into Confederation, and our provincial terms of confederation would include a very large subsidy from Ottawa for BC Ferries, which would enable us to reduce or even eliminate the fare.”

Richardson isn’t new to the world of politics, either. He was an Ontario Conservative MP who moved to the island 30 years ago. But when B.C. Premier Christy Clark was asked about the idea, she brushed it aside.

“Well I’ll tell you, if they leave British Columbia, they’re not going to be getting those LNG revenues,” she said at a National Aboriginal Day event at the Royal BC Museum.

But Richardson maintains his party is no joke.

The next provincial election will be held on May 9, 2017.

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