July 22 – Democracy – Vancouver Island Style

July 22nd is the 160th Anniversary of VI’s precedent-setting election in 1856, the first Parliament in the west,

First VI Legislative Assembly Governs from Bachelor's Mess, Fort Victoria, 1856

First VI Legislative Assembly Governs from Bachelor’s Mess, Fort Victoria, 1856

pre-Confederation! And this year is the 150th Anniversary of VI’s Flag. (press release below)

…Heritage matters to Islanders!

Laurie Gourlay
President, VICCS

Vancouver Island & Coast Conservation Society, Box 333, Cedar, B.C., V9X 1W1 250.722.3444, (viccs@shaw.ca) www.viccs.vcn.bc.ca

Press Release
July 15, 2016

“Vancouver Island Matters”

150th Anniversary VI Flag, Best Wishes – Queen Elizabeth II

160th Anniversary of VI Legislature Important – PM Trudeau

CEDAR – With Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Her Majesty’s best wishes in mind, both on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Vancouver Island’s flag and the 160th anniversary of Vancouver Island’s Parliament, a non-profit society has requested that the upcoming summer session of the BC Legislature recognize Vancouver Island’s Legislative Assembly of 1856 and again raise Vancouver Island’s flag.

“The election of July 22nd 1856 saw eight members sworn in,” states the letter from the Vancouver Island and Coast Conservation Society. “One from each of Nanaimo and Sooke, two from Esquimalt, two from Metchosin and three from Victoria.”

Following VICC’s request to have the Vancouver Island flag flown to honour the 150th anniversary of it’s approval by Queen Victoria, the Legislature raised the flag in May, as the session ended. A letter to VICCS, from Buckingham Palace, offered ‘best wishes’ from Her Majesty on this 150th anniversary.

Noting another congratulatory letter from Prime Minister Trudeau, VICCS has requested that the BC Legislature also honour the 160th anniversary since constitutional changes in governance led to the Vancouver Island House of Assembly in 1856, “As the first elected assembly west of Ontario in pre-Confederation Canada, it is important to note the importance of the Legislative Assembly of Vancouver Island and its contribution to Canada’s strong democratic tradition.” – Prime Minister Trudeau, March 21/16

Quoting Vancouver Island Governor James Douglas as the VI Legislative Assembly opened in 1856, VICCS suggested this anniversary as an important time in the Island’s heritage, “the first instance of representative institutions being granted in the infancy of a British Colony.”

The Vancouver Island and Coast Conservation Society hopes to recognize the historical, cultural and natural heritage of the west coast as Canada’s 150th birthday arrives in 2017. Ending its request to the Legislature VICCS noted that,
“The strength and determination which is the backbone of Canada, and our inheritance from our First Nations and early European explorers, is apparent across our country. Vancouver Island is proud to be a part of that heritage.”

As well as again raising Vancouver Island’s flag VICCS is asking the BC Legislature to mark the occasion with a Statement or other formal order which may honour the Island’s heritage and democratic leadership.

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For more information:

Laurie Gourlay,                                     Scott Akenhead
President, VICCS                                 Director, VICCS
(250 722-3444)                                    (250 210-4410)

Vancouver Island & Coast Conservation Society, Box 333, Cedar, B.C., V9X 1W1 250.722.3444, (viccs@shaw.ca) www.viccs.vcn.bc.ca