Maybe Cascadia is an idea whose time has come

cascadia_map_and_bioregion_vector_svgIn recent days there has been the vouchsafing of the idea that California, Oregon and Washington should share bed and board with Canada as a reaction to the election of Trump and his vile and idiotic gang of knaves. I like the concept because it revisits ‘Cascadia’, the mythical west coast land of my dreams. Happy to have California as part of the mix.

I was born on the west coast. My parents were born on the west coast. Even my grandparents came to the west coast as relatively young people, back around the turn of the 20th Century. That makes me kind of an anomaly amongst all the remittance men, rogues, scalawags, rounders and villains who came along later and really populated the place up.

Consequently, my sensibilities are coastal. Equally consequently, I am a great admirer of the concept of Cascadia. Cascadia, for those from elsewhere, is a mythical kingdom (so far) consisting of – in one model – British Columbia, Washington State and Oregon. And, of course, named for the coastal mountain range that dominates the Pacific strip. To see that version you can check out and see what the ‘republic’ looks like. As I say, that is one version. Other versions of Cascadia include in the mix Alaska, Alberta, the Yukon, Idaho, Montana and California. I like that one better because I think there is more economic potential as a separate entity. I also, due to a personal bias, would throw Hawaii into the mix, primarily because I really, really like Hawaii and it’s sort of on the ‘far’ west coast.

The point of the issue is that we in the west – both western Canada and the western US – have long suffered under the exploitation of the eastern and central parts of the continent, who have regarded us basically as colonies to be raped of our natural resources, but are granted very little political power. This lack of genuine impact is nonsensical and fueled by Starbuck’s, we could definitely go it alone.

The latter issue is especially true in Canada where decisions are made in a far away place called Ottawa. Ottawa is a moderately pretty town with a climate a little worse than that of Murmansk, and Ottawa is the place that steals my money every April (and at other times during the year, on a regular basis) and issues directives telling me what to do and how to think. Ottawa asks me to think in directions that are utterly alien, and offensive to me.

In a conversation for my former newspaper with an Ottawa-based drone for the federal fisheries ministry (these are the guys who, by the way, with their boneheaded decisions have virtually ruined the west coast fishery; that was after they had destroyed the east coast one) he referred to Georgia Strait as “a lake”. I patiently tried to explain the concept of saltwater and the Pacific Ocean to a dude who assumed that once you were past Lake Superior you would fall off the face of the earth. I don’t think I likely succeeded in my explanation.

Now, the aforementioned website is pretty rednecked and makes points that I do ‘not’ embrace, but it does address the fact that we in the west, on both sides of the border, are alien colonies in the eyes of our official overseers. I have much more in common with somebody living in Seattle or Portland, or even San Francisco, than I have with somebody in Ottawa, or Toronto. I take my vacations in Hawaii or the southwestern desert and feel utterly at home among the folks there. The concept of so-called “cottage country” in Ontario means nothing to me. I’ve been there. The provincial ‘bird’ of that part of Ontario is the black fly.

Just recently the premier of BC broached the subject of Cascadia following a recent economic agreement with oil-rich Alberta and after conferring with ‘Ahnold’ over the sharing of environmental (and fiscal) connections with California. Nice to hear a Cascadia mention from actual “officialdom”.

I first heard about Cascadia years ago during a late evening boozy conversation with the late Bob Hunter, in those days the Vancouver Sun’s resident hippie scribe, and later a founder of Greenpeace. I was fascinated by the concept and Bob, right to his premature death, never lost his fascination with that great and powerful nation on the shores of the Pacific in which the people could share their common ties and realize the true benefits of what being a Pacific Rim nation could be all about.

So, Hail Cascadia, may you sometime prosper.

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