Victoria is the westernmost survivor nation in Canada. Indigenous peoples have inhabited the territory that was once called "British Columbia", as described in their oral traditions, from time immemorial. There are claims by the English to have explored the region in the sixteenth century but it was the Majorcan-born Spanish navigator Juan José Pérez Hernández who did the first documented travel 1774. He inaugurated a golden age for the Spaniards in the region, who in 1790 created the first non-indigenous settlement in British Columbia at Nootka Sound. The Spanish era ended in 1795 when the Nootka Convention came in force, giving place to United Kingdom. Originally politically constituted as a pair of British colonies, British Columbia joined Canadian Confederation on July 20, 1871. After Doomsday, the region's history changed dramatically.
When the bombs fell, the 409th interceptor squadron out of CFB Comox was scrambled for defense. Their efforts managed to prevent strikes on 3 targets in British Columbia: CFB Comox, CFB Esquimalt and Victoria, being targets of bombers rather than ICBMs. Once contact with Ottawa and Vancouver was lost, Premier Bill Bennett ordered the Canadian Forces bases under Provincial jurusdiction. Parliament declared a state of emergency and halted all travel from Vancouver Island. Ferries currently on route to Tsawassen and Horseshoe Bay were lost in the blast from the Vancouver ICBM, as well as many towns on the eastern coast of the Gulf Islands being destroyed. Nanaimo is devastated by the force of the blast as the harbour and ferry docks are heavily damaged by the resulting violent waves and concussive blast. Thousands die in the flooding and chaos. Days afterwards the Bennett government ordered two ships out of CFB Esquimalt to scout the mainland coast to survey the damage. Vancouver was in ruins, and the devastion reached from Blaine, WA to Gibsons, BC. Crews were sent to Tsawassen to facilitate repairs to the ferry dock. Once repairs were complete, refugees began being transferred from the mainland to Swartz Bay, where refugee camps had been set up to see to medical aid, and registration. Luckily for inhabitants of Vancouver Island and the refugees on the coast, the winds carried the fallout inland towards Abbotsford and Chilliwack. Once the trickle of refugees ended and registration complete, there were fewer than 60,000 survivors from a region than once housed nearly 2 million.
Plans were drafted to settle the refugees in the less developed areas of the west and north Island so as to reduce the amount of care required to concentrate on single areas and to serve the increased need for resource extraction. Expeditions were sent to re-establish contact with the rest of the BC coast and Washington State.
Conditions in relocation camps were less than hospitable, and the remote locations of some of them meant resources such as food and medicine took long periods of time to arrive. Riots started occurring frequently and the government response was to declare martial law in the camps. This caused considerable outcry among the established communities in Victoria and the refugee host communities.
Birth of a new Nation
As an attempt to keep the traditions of democracy alive and to fight the rising unrest in several communities, an election was held on April 21st 1985. Due to a combination of the notion that the conservative policies of the Reagan presidency in the US, as well as Bill Bennett's mishandling of the new economy and refugee situation, the Social Credit party was defeated by the newly formed Social Survival Party. Party leader Edward Grant was sworn in as Premier and an era of intense change began. The SSP first seized the resource and utilities companies and put them under government control. They then established the Ministry of Social Projects (MSP) that oversaw work placement and public works construction projects. With Vancouver serving as the major shipping hub of BC, and Victoria lacking the space to expand, a new port began construction in Port Alberni. Realizing that BC's reliance on tourism as its major industry was over, the Ministry of Public works saw to the conversion of many tourist towns such as Courtenay into manufacturing and farming centers to serve the needs of the people. The MSP's work placement program determined the skills of those without jobs or those in tourism jobs and re-placed them into appropriate positions and in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, set up training programs for volunteers or those deemed to have aptitude in certain areas to be trained in needed positions.
While the policies of the SSP to many conservatives looked like Communism, the majority of the population saw the policies as needed in the current state of the world. BC needed to become self sufficient to survive without much of the outside world. Also, the SSP claimed that while definitely influenced by socialism, their policies were what they were elected on, and democracy was still an important part of the government.
In March 1986, the SSP MP from Vancouver Island North submitted a bill to Parliament suggesting that since contact with Canada had still not been established, and progress was being made to make the remnants of BC self sufficient, the final step should be made and the incorporated territories should be established as an independant nation. The bill was passed Oct. 2 1986 establishing the Commonwealth of Victoria incorporating all the territories of Vancouver Island and the BC coast.
While the Victorian Sovereignty Act of 1986 established the Commonwealth of Victoria as an independant state, the rules and establishments of former BC and Canada were still in use. It was decided that as a new nation, a new Constitution was required. A Constitutional comittee was established to draft a constitution to be voted on by parliament. On June 23rd, 1987 a constitution was submitted. It contained these points:
- Government would continue to be a Constitutional Monarchy with ties continuing with the British royals
- The role of the Monarchy would be ceremonial and remain tied to the British royals if they still live. Represented by a Lieutenant Governor appointed by the Premier on advice of Parliament. Lieutenant Governors serve terms of 10 years.
- Parliamentary system would remain. People choose representatives and the head of Government will be the leader of the majority party
- Electoral system will be a proportional system based on the % of popular vote. Each electoral district gets 10 seats in Parliament.
- Territory is split into the following electoral districts: Victoria Central, Victoria East, Victoria West, Nanaimo-South Island, Port Alberni-West Island, Comox Valley-East Island, Powell River-North Island, Prince Rupert-Queen Charlottes, Sunshine Coast.
- Elections will be held every 5 years in February.
- Victoria claimes sovereignty over the former territory of the Province of British Columbia
A new flag was chosen representing the Victoria's ties to both the old British commonwealth and former Canada.
Expansion and Contact
As the cities of Port Alberni and Courtenay grew with their new roles as Port and Manufacturing centers, the need for raw resources increased. It was decided that more of the interior of BC needed to be reclaimed in order to secure the resources of the area. Expeditions were sent from Prince Rupert and Powell River. While the Coast Mountains impeded the Powell River expedition, the Prince Rupert expedition instead found its progress halted by armed men denying them entry to lands of Prince George.
The Ministry of Social Projects started oil exploration off the coast which was previously not allowed under the BC Provincial government, as these resources would be direly needed. Mining operations in northern Vancouver island were established where iron deposits were discovered, as well as tin deposits just south of Prince Rupert.
While in the early days of the Commonwealth, contact was maintained with Port Angeles in northern Washington state and the ferry linking the town to Victoria continued a limited run, the rest of the state was largely ignored. In 1987 Port Angeles and many of the surrounding towns approached the Victorian government with an association agreement. The agreed Washington territories would submit to Victorian authority in exchange for a degree of autonomy and aid in reconstruction efforts. The agreement was ratified on January 13th 1988 and the Washington Protectorate was established. The territories encompassing most of Clallum county were now under Victorian jurusdiction. In mid 1988 the survivor communities of the San Juan islands were approached to join the newly established protectorate, but the islanders decided to go it alone. Contact was made with a rough alliance of cities including Bellingham and Mt Vernon calling themselves the North Washington Alliance who were just beginning to organize in response to rumors of threats from militants from Spokane. When the NWA discovered that Victoria had survived and was becoming a strong stable nation, they requested assistance in readying themselves for the threat to come. Negotiations began and within two months the territories encompassing Island county and the coast of Whatcom and Skagit counties were incorporated into the Washington Protectorate. Ferry service was resumed between Sidney, Friday Harbour, and Anacortes.
February 1990, second successful election held. Edward Grant's SSP maintains a majority government, with the Social Credit Party as the official opposition. The newly formed Liberal Capitalist Party obtains 3 seats.
In 1991 contact is made with the USS Benjamin Franklin, marking first contact with an outside government. This brought with it knowledge of the Australia and the surviving American Provisional Administration.
As mining operations expanded and smelting facilities were established, the population of Prince Rupert and Port Hardy saw a boom, aided by refugee relocation.
February 1995, election is held resulting in another SSP majority.On June 5th 1995 the Canadian Forces Maritime fleet arrived in Victoria, marking the first contact with the remains of a Canadian government. The day was met with celebration that Canada had survived. Canadian representatives offered the Victorian government the chance to rejoin Canada, but news of most of the land between Quebec and BC being lost to anarchy and smaller survivor states for the moment led Premier Grant to decline reconfederation at this time. Despite this setback, the mood remained positive. Premier Grant declared June 5th Recontact Day, and a national holiday. With this contact it was decided to send several ships from Esquimalt on diplomatic and exploratory missions. Contact is made with Alaska and several of the independant city states on the coast of Oregon and northern California. A Patrol was sent out of CFB Comox to assess the situation in the interior of BC, it surveyed the devastation to Vancouver and the surrounding suburbs, Vancouver, Burnaby, Richmond, Coquitlam, all destroyed by the blast, shockwave, or fallout. Even further inland, in Abbotsford, the fallout had left behind a ghost town. Finally the patrol landed in Kelowna, which managed to survive mostly, and form a rough confederacy referred to as the Okanagan Confederacy with the surrounding towns of Vernon, Penticton, West Bank, and further north in Kamloops. Unfortunately, due to the destruction of the Fraser Valley and the militants controlling Prince George, the Okanagan was isolated, unrest was building, and despite the best efforts of leaders, order was beginning to break down. Due to these same reasons as well as limited resources, it was deemed unrealistic, until some semblance of control could be exerted over the Fraser Valley and infrastructure rebuilt, for the Victorian government to exert its authority over the Okanagan.
Fort Bennett was established near Mount Vernon to train militia and help create a permanent defense force for the region, as well as help stabilize the region after the influx of refugees from Seattle's outlying regions. A Ministry of Social Projects facility was opened to facilitate work placement and refugee relocation. An expedition was sent to secure the Skagit River Hydroelectric dams and maintain them to ensure a steady supply of power to the territories.
Major oil deposits are discovered near the Queen Charlotte Islands in 1997, a series of off shore platforms begin construction. Sandspit is chosen as the base for lodgings and construction, swelling the towns population. Natural Gas deposits are discovered in the Coast mountains near Powell River.
With increased population growth and industrial projects in the area, the communities of the Comox Valley (Courtenay, Comox, Cumberland, Royston) amalgamated into the single municipality of Comox Valley.
The large amount of public funds spent on building projects, increased military funding, reconstruction and stabilization efforts in the Washington territories, without stable foreign governments to borrow from causes skyrocketing inflation. Edward Grant steps down as leader of the SSP, replaced by the young charismatic Jacob Birch. SSP wins a minority government in the 2000 elections, marking the lowest point of their popularity since taking power in 1985.
In 2003 enough stability had been established and resources freed to explore and salvage the ruins of Vancouver and Seattle. Contact was made with several more towns and incorporated into the Washinton Protectorate, notably Everett. Several salvage bases were established to facilitate the salvage operations:
- Silverdale for the Bremerton military installations.
- Edmonds for the Seattle area.
- Steveston for the Vancouver area.
Early work in the cities was slow, the devastation was massive, roads were blocked by massive rubble piles from the surrounding buildings. The US military facilities in Bremerton were easier due to the lack of large buildings. Most of the facilities were destroyed but notable discoveries included a single damaged but operational Ohio class submarine, and a damaged, but salvagable aircraft carrier beached nearby. These were removed to Esquimalt for refurbishing and the sub, dubbed the HMVS Vancouver was relaunched in 2005, while the carrier, dubbed the HMVS Ressurrection was relaunched in 2007.
Rebuilding the cities is deemed to be low priority. By the time they were rebuilt, the surviving populace will have established themselves elsewhere. Salvage priorities are to recover anything of economic or military value, reusing materials for construction elsewhere, and land reclaimation for future use.
In 2004 as an attempt to halt the skyrocketing inflation, Premier Jacob Birch unveils a plan to abandon the dollar in favor of a new currency, allowing a fresh start. Along with this he plans to privatise many of the nationalised manufacturing companies while introducing a new labour code to ensure quality of life for the people. This move gives the SSP a surge of popularity, enough to win the 2005 election with an overwhelming majority. At this time the Social Credit party is nearly wiped out, retaining only 4 seats, leaving the Liberal Capitalists as the official opposition.
In June of 2005, a Victorian exploration mission arrives in New Britain. Lieutenant Governor Adrian McLellan on the discovery admits "It's nice to know who exactly I'm representing".
On January 1st, 2006, the Victorian Crown is adopted as the new currency, with denominations in 50, 20, 10, and 5 Crown bills, 1 Crown coins, and 50, 25, and 10 Mark coins making up the partial crown denominations.Privatisation of the manufacturing industry increases competition and growth, which produces a major boom period of economic growth. Combined with the reliance on crown owned resource companies for raw materials, swells public coffers.In 2007 official diplomatic relations were established with the Municipal States of the Pacific.
In August of 2008, negotiations began with the Washington Legislative Assembly to integrate the territories into the Commonwealth, giving full rights and dividing the territory into two electoral districts. Opinions in the territories are split. A referendum is scheduled for November 2009 on the matter.
There is also a movement to approach the Republic of San Juan about joining Victoria.
October 2008, clearing of the Fraser River is completed and a force is sent up river to Chilliwack to take control of the area, secure CFB Chilliwack, and establish a waystation for access to the BC interior. December 2008 Chilliwack comes under Victorian control. The surviving populace that didn't make its way to Tsawassen is seen to by the expeditionary force and assigned details for reconstruction. Administration of the area is set up in CFB Chilliwack.
With salvage operations in Washington going well along with the reconstruction and stabilisation of the Washington territories, a movement to claim more of Washington State starts to build, and in July of 2009 a delegation is sent to the MSP to negotiate a fixed border between territories to avoid conflict before the expansion of both states reach each other. The Committee to Restore the United States of America is opposed to Victoria controlling any US-American territory and has demanded that the MSP government accept nothing less then the old BC/Washington border.
Recently there have been small skirmishes between the troops stationed at currently under construction Fort Elizabeth in Prince Rupert, and what is believed to be raiding parties from Prince George.
September 15, 2009, first aid convoy reaches the West Bank/Kelowna area. Much of West Bank has been ravaged by fire, the bridge into Kelowna is fortified against attack. Speaking with city leaders it appears shortly after word spread that aid from Victoria would not come soon, unrest built and eventually rioting broke out as well as raids from Penticton for resources. The situation improved afterwards, as people finally accepted that they would have to fend for themselves. Rough report of casualties is in the tens of thousands since doomsday in Kelowna alone. Aid station set up along with broadcast tower for radio communications with CFB Chilliwack. Second aid convoy expected to arrive in Kamloops in one week.
On September 22, 2009, Victorian aid convoys arrive in Kamloops, to much less fanfare than the Kelowna convoy. Resentment from being abandoned for so long is much stronger in the northern regions of the Okanagan.
September 24, 2009, Victorian scout ships make it past the ruins of Tacoma and port in Olympia, the former state capitol of Washington. There, the state government has managed to keep a measure of control, but the number of refugees from the Seattle/Tacoma/Bremerton area as well as the fallout and lack of outside contact has kept that control isolated to the city and surviving suburbs. Conditions are harsh, food is scarce, crime is rampant. Victorian emissaries promise aid within the month.
October 1, 2009, A group of Washington Defence Force volunteers, under Victorian forces command, arrive in Olympia to aid in law enforcement and reconstruction efforts. Food aid is forthcoming.
October 22, 2009, the Kamloops aid station makes contact with emissaries from Prince George, marking first contact between the two nations. Initial reaction by Victorian government is cautious due to the raider attacks in the Prince Rupert/Terrace area, as well as Prince George's claim on the lands of interior BC, which are also claimed by Victoria.
On November 6th 2009, the people of the Washington Protectorate voted to integrate fully into the Republic of Victoria. In the 2010 national election the Washington Assembly will be abolished and the protectorate will be reorganized into 3 electoral districts. Washington - North Coast, Washington - Mt Vernon, and Washington - Puget Sound. Parliament will be expanded by 30 seats to incorporate these. Due to the relatively large number who voted against integration, 42, Premier Jacob Birch called for a national assembly on reform, to discuss the future of the nation with the people. 2000 people randomly selected from across the nation will come to Victoria to discuss concerns with government, and possible solutions. This assembly is scheduled to begin January 20th, 2010.
December 16, 2009, Olympia, WA joins the commonwealth and expanding Victorian influence in Washington State.
February 9, 2010, Most of the towns of Grey's Harbor, WA agree to join Victoria on the condition of heavy economic investment in the area.
March 11, 2010, Okanagan region referendum splits the region between Prince George and Victoria controlled areas.