Secessionist movements of Canada

Secessionist movements of Canada

Throughout the history of Canada, there have been movements seeking secession from Canada.

Movements seeking independence from Canada


The Quebec sovereignty movement seeks independence from Canada for the province of Quebec. This movement often seeks what has been termed "sovereignty-association": sovereignty for Quebec within an economic association/union with the rest of Canada. Since the Quiet Revolution, the available options – all of which have been somewhat ambiguous – have persistently garnered support from Quebecers.

The sovereignty movement has spawned a variety of organizations, most notably the Parti Québécois, a social democratic political party at the provincial level in Quebec that has governed the province for various periods since 1976, and the Bloc Québécois, which currently controls (as of October 2007) 49 of Quebec's 75 seats in the Canadian House of Commons, and which promotes Quebec sovereignty and purports to "defend the interests of Quebec" at the federal level of government.

The Front de libération du Québec (FLQ), was a terrorist organization in the 1960s and early 1970s that used violence to promote independence for Quebec. Although they both advocated a sovereignist agenda, the FLQ and its violent tactics were thoroughly and summarily denounced by the Parti Québécois.

"See also:"
*Union Populaire
*Parti nationaliste du Québec
*Ralliement National
*Rassemblement pour l'indépendance nationale
*Parti indépendantiste
*Mouvement Souveraineté-Association
*Saint-Jean-Baptiste Society
*Mouvement national des Québécois et des Québécoises
*Les Intellectuels pour la souveraineté
*Mouvement de libération nationale du Québec

Since the Quiet Revolution, sovereignist sentiments have been stoked somewhat by the patriation of the Canadian constitution in 1982 (without the consent of the National Assembly of Quebec) and by numerous failed attempts at constitutional reform (which have sought to address Quebec's "distinct society", et al.). Two provincial referendums, in 1980 and 1995, rejected proposals for sovereignty, with majorities of 60% and 50.6% respectively. Given the narrow federalist victory in 1995, a reference was made by the Chrétien government to the Supreme Court of Canada in 1996 regarding the legality of a unilateral secession of Quebec; this resulted in the passage of the Clarity Act in 2000.

Western Canada

The Métis, under the leadership of Louis Riel staged the Red River Rebellion in Manitoba against Canada in 1870, and the North-West Rebellion in Saskatchewan in 1885. At the time, this part of the West was relatively independent, culturally distinct, and facing the stress of dealing with aggressive colonization by Anglophones from Ontario.

Numerous political parties in the western provinces, believing there to be no other solution for stemming apparent "Western alienation" by Central Canada, have sought independence from Canada. These movements are strongest in Alberta and British Columbia; lesser ones exist in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. These movements at times have also assumed that Canada's northern territories — Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut — would also be a part of a new Western Canadian union. These parties have achieved only low to modest success; such parties include the Western Canada Concept and the Western Independence Party.

The Alberta Independence Party promoted independence for the province of Alberta either on its own, or in union with the other western provinces in the 1990s, but is now defunct. The Separation Party of Alberta nominated candidates in the 2004 Alberta provincial election.

In the early 1980s, in Saskatchewan, the Unionest Party advocated the western provinces join the United States.

On July 12, 2003 the Western Independence Party of Saskatchewan (WIPS) was created [] and registered as a Provincial Party, running candidates in 17 ridings in the Saskatchewan general election, 2003

A poll by the "Western Standard" conducted from June 29, 2005 to July 5, 2005, finds 35.6% of residents of the four provinces think "Western Canadians should begin to explore the idea of forming their own country." []

"See also:" Alberta separatism and Western separatism.


There is a secessionist movement in Newfoundland based on its unique culture. "The root of our trouble is centred in the relationship between the two countries, between Newfoundland as a country and Canada" according to James Halley, a former lawyer involved in negotiating a deal to get Newfoundland into Canada in 1949. According to a July 2003 report, secessionism was on the rise [] In 2004, a "flag flap" occurred when the premier of Newfoundland and Labrador removed all Canadian flags from government buildings and raised provincial flags instead. [] Tensions have since eased, however, and no organized movement has emerged.

Nova Scotia

Shortly after the Confederation of three British colonies (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the Province of Canada) to form the Dominion of Canada in 1867, opponents of Confederation in Nova Scotia began promoting the withdrawal of that province from the new confederation. The Anti-Confederation Party won 18 of the 19 Nova Scotia seats in the new Canadian House of Commons in the 1867 general election, and 36 of the 38 seats in the Nova Scotia legislature, but did not succeed in achieving independence for Nova Scotia.


In January-February 1868, a small group of settlers declared a Republic of Caledonia, later the Republic of Manitobah, at Portage-la-Prairie in Hudson's Bay Company land that was to be incorporated into Canada. These settlers aimed to use this declaration to obtain favourable terms (for themselves) for the entry of the area into Confederation. The declaration was not recognized by Canadian or British authorities, and the republic soon collapsed.

British Columbia and Yukon

There is an ongoing informal movementFact|date=April 2007 in British Columbia to create a separate country of Cascadia. Similar movementsFact|date=April 2007 exist in Oregon, Washington, and California.

While Yukon lacks a formal separatist movement or party, there is an element of dissatisfaction in the territory as well as evidenced by ongoing polls by [ TrendLines] . However, as anticipation of a Conservative government in Ottawa built, the number of Yukoners that would be in favour of secession (if it included British Columbia and Alberta) has steadily dropped from a high of 18% in August 2005 to a mere 8% by January 2006.

Other movements

Republic of Madawaska

"Main article: Republic of Madawaska"

The Republic of Madawaska occupies the northwest corner of New Brunswick, and lies partially in Quebec and the American state of Maine. The origins of the republic lie in the 1783 Treaty of Versailles, which established the border between the United States of America and the British North American colonies. The Madawaska region remained in dispute between Britain and the US until 1842. The "Republic" is now a purely ceremonial entity.

In popular culture

Occasionally regions of Canada have declared themselves to be "independent" in a non-serious, satirical or promotional way. These "movements" are taken for what they are and not considered seccessionist.

Republic of Rathnelly

The Rathnelly neighbourhood in Toronto made headlines in 1967, while celebrating Canada's 100th birthday. During the celebrations, Rathnelly residents playfully declared themselves as a republic independent of Canada. To mark their independence, the "Republic of Rathnelly" elected a queen, organized a parade, and issued Republic of Rathnelly passports to everyone in the neighbourhood. The new nation conscripted all 8-14-year-old citizens to form a militia, known as the Rathnelly Irregulars, and armed them with 1,000 helium balloons (the Rathnelly "air farce"). The "Republic of Rathnelly" continues to hold annual street parties.

Kingdom of L'Anse-Saint-Jean

A millennial tourist-attracting project involved the town of L'Anse-Saint-Jean, Quebec, "declaring" itself an independent monarchy. The project, which enjoyed a certain amount of media coverage, was cheerfully admitted to be tongue-in-cheek.

ecession from a province

"See: Proposals for new Canadian provinces and territories"

ee also

* List of active autonomist and secessionist movements
* Annexationist movements of Canada
* Western Alienation

External links

* [ Newfoundland Separatism]

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