A Kamloops city councillor supports the idea of British Columbia separating from Canada to form a new country with Washington and Oregon called Cascadia.
It comes amidst a heated dispute over the twinning of the Trans Mountain pipeline, which has pitted B.C.’s NDP government against Alberta, the federal government and Kinder Morgan.
“The federal government and the Alberta provincial government are both trying to ram something down the province of B.C.’s throat and I don’t see that happening and that’s [Cascadia] an option,” Coun. Donovan Cavers said.
Cavers touted the idea on social media this week, taking aim at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He told KTW the posts on Twitter were partly tongue-in-cheek.’
But, when asked, Cavers said he stands 50/50 on the idea of B.C. leaving Canada for Cascadia, which is generally proposed by proponents to include B.C., Washington and Oregon.
Cavers’ posts drew the ire of critics.
“Kamloops deserves better representation,” tweeted Lianne Milobar, wife of Kamloops-North Thompson (Liberal) MLA Peter Milobar.
“This is insulting to every Canadian who has fought for our country. It is also disgraceful of our parliamentary democracy,” former Kamloops-South Thompson (Liberal) MLA Terry Lake tweeted.
Cavers said the jurisdictional nature of the issue allows him to express his personal opinion, despite the fact people see him online and know him as a representative of the City of Kamloops.
“As an individual citizen of B.C., a citizen of Canada, a citizen of the world, I’m allowed to make comments that are my own opinion,” he said.
Cavers compared Cascadia to the Quebec sovereignty movement.
“When they [Quebec residents] felt their cultural integrity was being basically stomped on, they said, ‘Well, we’ll just become our own entity,’” Cavers said. “That’s what B.C. could do as well.”
While some criticized him, Cavers said many support the idea. A few people did tweet their agreement on the province being part of Cascadia.
Cavers said if the federal government withholds transfer payments, as it threatened to do this week, B.C. residents are going to become “even more opposed to this project.”
“It’s not going to result in anything positive,” he said. “So, basically, I was just trying to draw attention to that fact.”
He added Americans in the Pacific Northwest who are fed up with U.S. President Donald Trump may be in favour of creating a country with British Columbia.
Asked if he had entirely thought through ramifications of B.C. leaving Canada, however, Cavers replied: “Of course not. I’m just a councillor. I’ll leave that up to people in higher places to figure out whether that’s something feasible.”