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Fantasy Geography/Politics

Oddball

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I have no strong views about breaking up or amalgamating the provinces. There is just no easy solution to the question of scale in government. The smaller the jurisdictions, the closer the connection between government and the people. But, on the other hand, the more fragmented and chaotic it becomes to address larger regional/societal issues like the environment or the economy. If you go the other way, and expand jurisdictions, the problems flip. And every individual is going to have some issues in which they favor more centralized authority, and other issues in which they would like more local autonomy.
Great reply. I think you're correct because if you look out on the coast where there are 4 provincial governments for just shy of 2.4 million people (based on the April estimate) and clearly that isn't working well. They have stagnant economies, high tax rates, low population growth, aging populations, high unemployment rates, low participation rates and a high dependency on the federal government. Be that in the form of actual subsidies like transfer payments or EI or preferential government program spending. Obviously there's more factors at play than too much government for too few people, but I think it's a contributing factor. Only one of my proposed provinces would be as small as an existing east coast province. So hopefully that fantasy Canada wouldn't be terribly prone to the same problems, but it might.

My rational for wanting to blow up Ontario is generally predicated on the idea that Ontario is really becoming an outlier in terms of it's size relative to the other provinces. It's now slightly larger than Quebec (2nd), British Columbia (3rd) and Nova Scotia (7th) combined. If PEI is maybe too small, then Ontario is maybe too big.

One thing I'll say about the size of PEI is that it might possibly serve as a useful future benchmark for the territories if they ever grow to the point where transitioning from territory to province makes sense.

(Selfishly, my reasoning for wanting to blow up Ontario is that I like maps and flags and it's time Canada had a shakeup in that department. ;))
 

Spudski

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I think y'all would get a kick out of the Republic of Western Canada group on Facebook. It has about 30,000 members, all concerned with making sure BC to Manitoba is its own nation in the future. It's private so I won't link it but it's good for a laugh.

There's a small minority that takes the concept seriously (the rest of the group is a haven for bigotry imo) but it's certainly fun to think about what it'd look like if Western Canada was its own autonomous country. Capital? Flag? Anthem?
 

Oddball

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I think y'all would get a kick out of the Republic of Western Canada group on Facebook. It has about 30,000 members, all concerned with making sure BC to Manitoba is its own nation in the future. It's private so I won't link it but it's good for a laugh.

There's a small minority that takes the concept seriously (the rest of the group is a haven for bigotry imo) but it's certainly fun to think about what it'd look like if Western Canada was its own autonomous country. Capital? Flag? Anthem?
Nice... well not the bigotry part. It's a fun little thought anyway. I've got an obscenely long text below. I'm interested in hearing what you'd do?

______________________________________________

Government: I'll start of by saying it wouldn't be a republic, not if I'm party to it. It would at least have to be the 17th Commonwealth Realm that shares Queen Elizabeth II (and her future successors) as head of state along side the UK, Canada, Australia, Jamaica, etc. When I say at least, I'd rather take a few royals and branch of a local branch of the house of Windsor. That's actually something I'd like to see for our present Canada, so why not go whole hog for Fantasy Western Canada. So anyway, butts to a republic it would be a Constitutional Monarchy with a Westminster style Parliament.

It might be small enough to get away with a unicameral legislature (e.g. New Zealand) there is some suggestion that bicameral works better for large states. For the lower house, I'd go with first-past-the-post and geographically allocated ridings as occur in Canada and the UK. For the upper house, maybe steal a card from our American cousins. 6+ fixed terms where a portion of the body is reelected on a 2 year cycle. For sport we could say 8 year terms, with 1/4 of the Senate up for election every 2 years. We could also institute a 1-2 term limit to stop the same kinds of political lifers that clog up their system. You could say 10 Senators for each province and a party list system with a minimum of 10% of the popular vote required to elect a representative. It would probably have to have a mechanism where by it's clear that the Commons should hold more power than the Senate and that the Prime Minister would have to be from the Commons.

Legal System: I'd go for a common law system with a written constitution and a supreme court in the style of Canada without the nods to civil law due to there being no Quebec. I'd probably scrap the strong Charter system of Canada and go with a Bill of Rights instead leaving more power in the hands of legislators as in the UK.

I guess the first big questions for any of it would be whether BC is in or out and whether the Territories are in or out. I'm assuming that the state would be some sort of federation either way. I don't think we'd be interested in a Unitary state like France. From there do you keep the provinces you've got, break them up or redraw them. Alberta and BC are probably the only ones large enough to break up. Northern Saskatchewan and Manitoba are practically territories as it stands.

Capital: If BC is in, I'd probably put the capital somewhere in or near the mountains, but away from the coast. I'd go for a Brasilia/Ottawa/Washington/Canberra new city style capital nestled in the Alberta foothills. Maybe on the Saskatchewan River west of Rocky Mountain House. I'd make a requirement that all building would have to be built in the Canadian Gothic Revival style. :cool: A sexy new city would need a sexy coherent style. I'd probably name it either after Prince Rupert of the Rhine, namesake of Rupert's Land, or Sir Alexander Mackenzie, the explorer who made the first recorded crossing of North America north of Mexico in what is now Western Canada. The both have a few namesakes around in Western Canada unsurprisingly, but I don't think anything particularly prominent references Mackenzie's first name so why not that. Alexandria is a little too on the nose. At least three place names in Canada already possess it according to Wikipedia, so why not go a little different Alexanderburg. A combination of Alexander and the Anglo-Germanic suffix Burg. Harking back to the English Burh system. If BC is out, in recognition of the need to exploit the hell out of what little coastline there is in Western Canada I'd choose Churchill or York Factory.

Name: That's a damn tough-y and probably the biggest barrier to this ever actually happening in reality. If you don't know what to call it how can you rally people to it. Most of Western Canada has been part of things called the Northwest Territory(ies), Rupert's Land or Columbia. Austrians (East) and Australians (South) would be the first ones to tell you can be named after a cardinal direction. Northwestland, Westmark and the like are pretty weak. Borealia as the mirror to Australia is a bit contrived, but not actually that bad IMO. Columbia 99.99999% a non-starter on account of people not generally liking Columbus these days, him having nothing to do with the area and too much similarity to the modern state of Colombia. Rupert's Land is certainly unique but it's pretty tough to work with. Latinized Rupertia doesn't really roll off the tongue. Persian Rupertstan doesn't make much sense. Maybe Germanic Rupertmark or would it have to be Ruprechtmark? The Anglo Rupertland without the possessive doesn't actually sound that bad. But are you really ready to be a Rupertlander, Rupertian or a Rupertishman? Apart for MacKenzie it's also difficult to find other figures whose lives, careers and statesmanship overlap the whole area. I'm assuming aboriginal name mining would similarly be wanting in breadth. The most populous parts of what is today Alberta and Saskatchewan were almost lumped into a province called Buffalo. I think that's a bit weak myself. Not only is it taxonomically incorrect (we have bison, not buffalo) it also shares an unfortunate relationship with the reputedly lame American city of Buffalo. Other notable figures or groups who have had a say in shaping Western Canada are Laurier, who's government formed Alberta and Saskatchewan. Harper, Bennett, Clark and Diefenbaker all held seats out west as Prime Minister and were native or adopted sons. Macdonald's government took possession of most of the land and kicked off the Canadian Pacific railway. The Trans-Canada Highway was launched under King. Lougheed, Douglas and Louis Riel are formative provincial figures. There have be a selection of Edwards, Georges, Williams and an Elizabeth and Victoria who have presided over the land as Sovereign. The Hudson's Bay Company used to own the damn place and we're splitting up with Eastern Canada, the Mounties are ours. Apart from being West of Ontario, though it's hard to nail down one single thing that captures the essence of being Western Canadian. I think a lot of people like to be called Westerners out here. I know I do, but how do you capture that in a name that's meaningful? Slam the word West into google translate until you find something you like? Here's some good ones: Larthar (Irish), Occidens (Latin), Vaster (Swedish), Galbeed (Somali), Nishi (Japanese). I don't have a good answer for this one.

Flag: Good flags are tough. And without a set name, that kinda hurts what you can do here. I hate tri-colours and so should you. This is the 1790s. I think the important colours to get would be blue, green and yellow. I'd say Red would be important too, but if you wanted to distance yourself from the Canada of old I think you're better off leaving it out. Maybe go with a plant or animal common across the whole area. Like an elk, bison, wolf, caribou, bear or owl. Or a pine tree. I'll have to think more on this one and maybe play around in a flag creator.
 

UrbanWarrior

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This is one of the proposed flags of the Republic of Western Canada. I actually think it's extremely beautiful. Only thing I would change is the red should be yellow. As yellow is featured prominently in three of the four western provincial flags, while red is only featured in two.

 

Silence&Motion

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Great reply. I think you're correct because if you look out on the coast where there are 4 provincial governments for just shy of 2.4 million people (based on the April estimate) and clearly that isn't working well. They have stagnant economies, high tax rates, low population growth, aging populations, high unemployment rates, low participation rates and a high dependency on the federal government. Be that in the form of actual subsidies like transfer payments or EI or preferential government program spending. Obviously there's more factors at play than too much government for too few people, but I think it's a contributing factor. Only one of my proposed provinces would be as small as an existing east coast province. So hopefully that fantasy Canada wouldn't be terribly prone to the same problems, but it might.
I don't think "too much" or "too little" government is the way to look at things, since the number of provinces doesn't affect the size of the public sector in each province. It's more like government authority is centralized versus fragmented. Fragmented governments might actually lead to smaller public sectors overall, since they don't have the resources to support large civil services.

Either way, I don't think the size or number of provinces is a cause of or a possible solution to the economic problems that the Maritimes face. The main problem is probably the fact that, by historical fluke, they never developed large cities. Because of that, they have a hard time attracting immigrants and retaining young people, who are free to move to more urbanized areas around the country.

Their size is really a product of their age. They were founded as virtually isolated societies in an age when transportation was extremely difficult, so they (and the New England states) tend to be geographically small. The western provinces and states, by contrast, were founded in the age of the railroad, when bureaucrats just drew straight lines on a map. In that sense the geographic divisions of the Maritimes makes more sense than the arbitrary divisions in the west. It would be interesting to redraw the political boundaries of Western Canada (and the US) based on natural land formations. First step would be to absorb all of Puget Sound into BC's lower mainland. I've always hated how the 49th parallel just cuts across a region that is clearly integrated geographically.
 

Oddball

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I agree with you about more geographically meaningful borders. I don't like all the straight lines either. The boxy western states and their terrible blue flags are the worst. (Alberta is the only province guilty of the blue flag and crest set up and I totally think we need a better one.) I like your idea of trying to redraw the western half of the continent. I invite you to try. :D You know, looking at the title of the thread and all. :p Would you keep the same states and provinces on a more natural basis or would you add new ones and subtract old ones? I'd be interested if you had a geographic basis in mind for the Alberta/Sastakchewan border for example. And California really seems ripe for a rip-up of it's own.

The 49th is pretty dumb in general. But with reference to BC specifically, I think the nature of the British claim extended along the North/West side of the Columbia River for most of it's course. So the Western half of Washington state was at one time a British claim. That's how we ended up with two Vancouvers. One in Washington that was the old British Fort Vancouver and the new one in BC. Moving westward. The old Louisiana Purchase border also makes more sense. The Milk river as a part of the Missouri/Mississippi watershed would be returned to the US, but the Red River of the North which flows north into Lake Winnipeg and then on to the Nelson River into Hudson's Bay would be returned to Canada.

Generally speaking, I think the British didn't really care about the Northwest Territories when they were their possession, so they cut a bunch of bad deals before turning it over to Canada. If history tells us anything it's that the British are pretty bad at drawing lines. I suppose we should be thankful we got what we did. The Americans wanted all of BC basically. And Alaska was first offered to Canada, but the British being ever helpful turned it down on our behalf.
 

Surrealplaces

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Generally speaking, I think the British didn't really care about the Northwest Territories when they were their possession, so they cut a bunch of bad deals before turning it over to Canada. If history tells us anything it's that the British are pretty bad at drawing lines. I suppose we should be thankful we got what we did. The Americans wanted all of BC basically. And Alaska was first offered to Canada, but the British being ever helpful turned it down on our behalf.
Weren't the British also the one who divided the lines between Pakistan and India....lines which have never been disputed by anyone lol. :rolleyes:
 
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Silence&Motion

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Oddball

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Oddball

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There's another interesting article from Tristin Hopper in the Post. Lately they've been critical of Governor General's performance and Hopper tends to like to take a common topic and explore a small piece of it in minute detail or carry some part of it off on a tangent. His article is about appointing Prince Harry to be the next Governor General. I couldn't help but imagine how awesome that would be! It would be just the right message to send with marathon that is Brexit drawing to some sort of a conclusion and with NAFTA talks in an acrimonious and petty stalemate, that at least the UK and Canada can have each other's back. Maybe it could be the start of a broader revival of the Commonwealth. We already don't carry ambassadors to one another so why not start working on trade union and maybe not a customs union, but maybe at least a sort of preferential visa and exchange system. Start with the big developed players CAN, UK, AUS, NZ but eventually, the idea would be to get the Caribbean, African and Asian members on board as well.

I'm really bringing it up though because there aren't too many avenues to discus one's hopes for the future of the monarchy without achieving a glance that says "You have 3 heads." :eek: But a Fantasy Politics/Geography thread is about as good as it can get. (even then I won't hold my breath.) My dream would be that such an arrangement with Harry as the GG would go so well that we as a country might consider making the arrangement more permanent ;). Maybe it would start with an extension from 5 years to 7 or 10 and maybe when that rolls around no one wants to see it come to a close then either so maybe we make it a life office. Maybe the Queen (God save Her) expires at the ripe old age of 110 and we decide to take our little Windsor seedling and allow it to sprout into it's own locally domiciled dynasty. Henry the I of Canada has a nice ring to it. :D (It wouldn't make sense to carry on with the English numbering system since the last Henry there predates Canada's existence by a few centuries. Also add to the fact that the Queen actually has 2 sets of numbers as it is. She's Elizabeth the II of England and of Scotland. If she were James though she'd be the III of England and VII of Scotland. It would be more complex if Harry was a George or an Edward.)

Monarchies have never flourished in the new world despite multiple attempts in places like Mexico and Brazil. Canadians might also realize just how much of a fig leaf keeping our monarchs across the ocean was for our republicanism. I'd hope that a popular guy like Harry and his beautiful wife who is also no stranger to Canada would be able to make it stick. UK isn't the only country making constitutional monarchy work in the 21st century. A lot of the super-highly developed countries of the world are monarchies. The Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norwary and Japan are all constitutional monarchies. I wouldn't mind if Canada were to join that club more fully. :)
 

Silence&Motion

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Thanks for posting the article.

My 2 cents: If monarchists weren't already swimming against the current, they certainly are in these iconoclastic times, where the one thing the left and the right seem to agree on is tearing down things once considered sacred.

It's no coincidence that, as the article states, the first non-British aristocrat appointed GG was Vincent Massey in 1952. The fact is that pretty much since the end of WWII Canada has charted out a post-British identity for itself. Many of the major (mostly Liberal party lead) reforms from the 1950s to the 21st century have involved explicitly or implicitly distancing Canada from Britain. The immigration reforms, bilingualism, multiculturalism, the Massey Commission on federal funding of "Canadian" culture, the 1982 constitution, the Canada flag, the national anthem, and even NAFTA were all ways of re-centering Canada and Canadian identity. I think most Canadians now basically see Canada as an equal to the UK (and other fellow G7 countries), and the idea of appointing a UK citizen to be our ceremonial head of state would be as absurd as appointing a German or a Frenchman (I don't say American, because Canadians would lose their sh*t if anyone suggested appointing an American to be our head of state).

QEII is an interesting figure because she is basically a holdover from the WWII era when there was still a lot of popular support for Canada's connection to the British Empire. The fact that she's lived so long has allowed us to put off a lot of questions about the role of the monarchy in public life. I wonder, will we be willing to put King Charles (the third?) on our money when QEII dies? I'd bet the Canadian government uses that opportunity to quietly end that tradition, which is probably the most public connection that remains between Canada and the British monarchy.

Personally, I had a change of heart a few years ago that warmed me to our constitutional monarchy. Basically, it was during the royal wedding (the one with William and Kate). At the time I was living across from the King Edward Hotel in Toronto, and I saw streams of women entering the hotel for afternoon tea with their elaborate hats on. All of a sudden it dawned on me that the wedding was basically the social equivalent of the Stanley Cup or an Olympic gold medal hockey game. They might as well have been entering a pub wearing Team Canada jerseys. It then struck me that, outside sports and athletes, we don't really have a lot of living people or events that represent Canada and allow us to celebrate collectively without any partisan-orientation. And since sports are a very narrow, and male-centered* activity, it made me happy that people could have this experience of collective celebration in a completely non-sports context. I think we could use more of that and the monarchy is one institution that provides it for us.

*One final thought. During the latest royal wedding (Harry and Meghan) I overheard radio call-ins which were mostly guff sounding men complaining about how they didn't care about the wedding because these were complete strangers that have nothing to do with them personally. And yet, I thought, these same men probably spend thousands of dollars to watch and show their devotion toward professional sports teams made up of random strangers who they have absolutely no connection to and really nothing at stake in the outcome of the games. As someone who doesn't care much about sports, it seems equally reasonable and equally absurd as the monarchy.
 
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Oddball

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Awesome post!

I have a number of reasons for being a monarchist personally and your response touches very heavily on one of them. I dont think the ceremonial and traditional aspects of the role of the monarchy are simply of peripheral importance either. I think their power to bring people together and celebrate the continuation of more than 1,000 years of history are quite singular. Canda might have only be there for 15%-40% of that depending on where you want to start counting, but it's significant none the less. For my own part, this aspect of the monarchy makes me feel more connected to our nation's past and precursors. In Canada we haven't got a lot of history, connections like this are preacious and worth protecting.

If I have a gripe with how the Windsors have handled it vis-a-vis Canada it's that as Canada has grown and clearly assert it itself as the number 2 realm under the crown they haven't grown their presence here proportionally. The last 50 years of Liberal governments probably have something to do with that though like you mentioned. Not all of what they did was bad, but their lack of respect for the monarchy is unfortunate. Sending Harry would be a great opportunity to reverse some of that.

Trudeau would never do that for a few reasons, I think his ego would get in the way of it for one. There is definitely a certain segment of Liberal voter that has no problem with the dynastic aspirations of the Trudeau family. I also think it would go against his "there is no such thing as Canadian culture" policy. (Something I really detest, but that's not for this thread.)

Not everyone feels as strongly negative of the Trudeaus as I do, but I think my criticisms sague nicely into another unsung aspect of the monarchy that I really appreciate. Having the role of monarch already filled and constitutionally shackled is a powerful check on the monarchical aspirations of our elected politicians. The Trudeaus just so happen to be enemy number 1 in that regard the Canadian context. One only need to look at the last 5 American presidents to see the value in that. The current one has very obvious democratic faults. He has openly chafed at term limits and expressed admiration for dictators. The other 4 where not as bad showed other weakness. Dynastism from the Bushes and Clintons, cults of personality from Clinton and Obama and likely criminality and venality on account of the Clintons. Canadian leaders have been guilty of similar faults, but they don't occupy the most supreme office in the land like the US ones. A Trudeau chafing at the bounds of his role is only a parliamentarian in the end. A Trump, is already in effect a monarch he just has to fight to keep his job.

Lastly, I think our monarchs (and viceroys for that matter) do a good job in their roles as constitutional arbiters. A de-powered elected president like in Poland could probably do something similar, but by being elected the role becomes political and empowered. The unelected nature of the King, Queen or Governor General forces them to act exactly as the constitution requires lest they become criticized for wielding power undemocractically. So paradoxically being unelected helps them preserve the state of our democracy.

Sorry if this was a little disjointed. I wrote on my phone over serval hours in separate chunks. In sum God Save the Queen!

One last bit on Charles. I think he'll be well accepted as King of he took the job up today. 20 years ago not so much, but opinions have really softened on him over time. I'm curious to see how he would do. I think the best case would be if he were another Edward VII, who became beloved in turn after the decades long reign of his mother Victoria.

Edit: Apparently in the 50s or 60s an Australian PM once suggested that Canada and Australia should appoint governors general from one another in the interest of promoting national ties, but Canada turned up its nose and embarked on its strong of patriations instead. I also think it would be really cool if this idea were explored.
 
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Silence&Motion

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Not everyone feels as strongly negative of the Trudeaus as I do, but I think my criticisms sague nicely into another unsung aspect of the monarchy that I really appreciate. Having the role of monarch already filled and constitutionally shackled is a powerful check on the monarchical aspirations of our elected politicians. The Trudeaus just so happen to be enemy number 1 in that regard the Canadian context. One only need to look at the last 5 American presidents to see the value in that. The current one has very obvious democratic faults. He has openly chafed at term limits and expressed admiration for dictators. The other 4 where not as bad showed other weakness. Dynastism from the Bushes and Clintons, cults of personality from Clinton and Obama and likely criminality and venality on account of the Clintons. Canadian leaders have been guilty of similar faults, but they don't occupy the most supreme office in the land like the US ones. A Trudeau chafing at the bounds of his role is only a parliamentarian in the end. A Trump, is already in effect a monarch he just has to fight to keep his job.
I generally agree with this too. If we are going to have all of this pomp and circumstance, better to have it around an unelected figurehead rather than someone with actual power. I'd say that a lot of Canadians are put off by the hero-worship that goes on in the US with regard to presidents. Trudeau(s) - and I would argue conservatives like Doug Ford and "King" Ralph Klein - are exceptions to the Canadian tradition of electing boring and uncharismatic leaders. However, I would argue that the main reason our leaders tend to be boring is not because of the monarchy, but because they are essentially chosen by a narrow group of party members as opposed to the open primaries in the US.

However, there are clearly good reasons why Canada moved away from the monarchy. Part of it was about holding the country together. Quebec has no interest in seeing itself as a conquered British colony. Same goes for indigenous peoples. There are few Canadians who have any real attachment to the UK (at least not more than any other country). There are issues of race and class that alienate people. Also, with NAFTA and our immigration system, we've strongly prioritized economic growth over the preservation of some "British" Canadian culture. In fact, bringing down the economic barriers between Canada and the USA might have been one of the biggest blows to Canada's British identity - at least equal to all of the symbolic things that the Liberals did in the 1960s with the new flag, anthem, and bilingualism.

Also, this is clearly not a Liberal versus Conservative thing. There are a lot of hardcore populist nationalists in the conservative movement who would scoff at some cosmopolitan British blue blood representing Canada (especially not a progressive environmentalist like Charles). My sense is Conservatives would much rather have some business-friendly elite like David Johnston serve as GG than a Prince Harry. And that's the rub: there's simply no constituency for the monarchy.
 

heightjunkie

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Sorry to frankenstein this thread, but the recent reemegence of the Alberta Independence Party got me laughably thinking about this thread and the potential for a separated Canada. While I largely think their policy points are misguided (at best) it is cool to nation build and think about what that might look like.

I really like adopting the Republic of Western Canada flag. What would people think about a cree-based name? I have no attachement at all to any of the european discoverers or prince rupert, but I feel like honoring the original inhabitants of a vast amount of the land we're talking about seems right. Pisimaskiy = roughly land of the Sun. Sipiaskiy = River land... Or Powinigow, which is the cree name for the nelson river; the ultimate drainage for AB-Sask-Manitoba.

I think I like Sipiaskiy the best. Personally I would also throw a purpose built capital city up... probably somewhere around the saskatchewan river forks if it was just the prairie provinces. It's almost the geographic centre.
 

Surrealplaces

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Sorry to frankenstein this thread, but the recent reemegence of the Alberta Independence Party got me laughably thinking about this thread and the potential for a separated Canada. While I largely think their policy points are misguided (at best) it is cool to nation build and think about what that might look like.

I really like adopting the Republic of Western Canada flag. What would people think about a cree-based name? I have no attachement at all to any of the european discoverers or prince rupert, but I feel like honoring the original inhabitants of a vast amount of the land we're talking about seems right. Pisimaskiy = roughly land of the Sun. Sipiaskiy = River land... Or Powinigow, which is the cree name for the nelson river; the ultimate drainage for AB-Sask-Manitoba.

I think I like Sipiaskiy the best. Personally I would also throw a purpose built capital city up... probably somewhere around the saskatchewan river forks if it was just the prairie provinces. It's almost the geographic centre.
I think the capital should be Calgary ? My choice might be a bit biased.
 

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