After the bombs fell and communications went dead, mayor Elmer Mercier assured the people of Prince George that all was fine and the situation was in control. After several days of no contact outside the city, a small group were sent west to Vanderhoof and further on to Prince Rupert to see what was going on. The situation was similar in Vanderhoof, but when reaching Prince Rupert things changed. Several refugees fleeing Alaska had arrived bringing news of nuclear strikes on the state, and within several more days, word was brought of Vancouver's destruction. The scouting party returned to Prince George with the news and Mercier declared a state of emergency.
The city council decided that the bombings must be a precursor to an invasion, and it was believed Prince George would be a target as a staging point for further excursion across the mountains and to secure the region's many resources. Despite Mayor Mercier's pleas that more information was needed, city council voted to enact emergency measures for the defence of the city with the majority of BC's military destroyed in Vancouver. With no military presence in Prince George, responsibility for the defence of the town was given to the local Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) detatchment. The RCMP went about recruiting a militia and directing the construction of fortified outposts on the outskirts of town along the main route west, where an invasion would most likely come from. Machine shops were refitted to start producing parts for weapons and ammunition.
After several months of training and preparation with no invasion forthcoming, Mayor Mercier deemed the invasion a fantasy and attempted to have the emergency provisions lifted so more important matters such as food production and re-establishment of communications could commence. This was not to be, as more paranoid members of the council, along with the RCMP leadership prevailed in convincing the rest of the council that it was nearing winter, and Northern BC would be a low priority in the winter months, and that while an invasion was imminent, it would not likely come until spring, which just meant more time for preparation. It was agreed that food production and communications were important priorities as well though, and programs for agricultural development and a radio communications network were put into place.
In spring, RCMP and Militia leadership decided if there was no invasion yet, it would be best to attempt to stop it before it reached Prince George, and the militia was sent to Vanderhoof the the east to secure the town, and aid in establishing local defences. After months there, building militia numbers and local defences, the force moved on to Burns Lake, further east. At this time Elmer Mercier demanded the emergency provisions be lifted, as it was obvious there was no invasion coming. By this time though, many of the more paranoid members of the militia had risen in ranks and had been spreading their fears to the populace. Despite Mercier's diplomatic skill, he could not overcome the fears of the people. By summer of 1984, the militia's numbers had grown to roughly 3000 split into Williams Lake, Vanderhoof, and Prince George divisions. With still no invasion, the militia turned its sights south, believing perhaps the invading army would be coming north from the Vancouver area rather than west from Prince Rupert. The city of Quenel was brought under the Prince George militia's control by fall of 1984, and Elmer Mercier, tired of fighting the city council, called a municipal election. He was defeated by William Quinn, an ex-army local businessman and member of the militia.
Being a high ranking member of the militia and now also mayor, William Quinn began to cosolidate the two positions, establishing the Mayor as the commander of the militia and highest authority on defence decisions. While originally agreeing to the idea, soon after ratifying the bylaw the council began to regret their decision. Quinn believed that there was no invasion forthcoming, and that the legitimate governments were wiped out by the nuclear strikes, and that for the people to survive the chaos to come, they needed a strong government figure, defences, and resources. He enacted a series of decrees, disguised as defence measures, to increase the power of the Mayor's office, as well as securing strategic resources. Mining and oil exploration work began, and some machine shops were converted to construct mortars and small artillery. The militia and the RCMP were folded into a single organized military organization that handled both defence and law enforcement. By the time the city council realized what was happening, it was too late. By mid 1986 Quinn had secured his hold on the region and replaced the council, who he had deemed "A hindrance to the defence of the people" with a council of hand-picked militia advisors. Quinn, paranoid of outside interference decreed no-one from outside the controlled region was to be allowed in, in order to "eliminate the possibility of enemy spies". Scouting missions outside the claimed territory reported of the survival of the BC government in Victoria, but Quinn had decided that the old governments had failed, and he was going to lead his people into the new world order, so an outpost was established on the road between Terrace and Smithers, blocking any travel into the region from the coast. The borders were not closed for outgoing people though, a lesson learned from other regimes, if he wanted people to stay, he had to allow them the opportunity to leave. Forcing people to stay, would ensure their desire to leave. The fear of being unable to return, on the other hand, was more effective. Quinn's propaganda was effective in keeping the people believing in a threat, but with time passing with no invasion, people began to question the legitimacy of the claims.
In order to keep his hold on the people, Quinn fabricated reports of raiders originating from south in Williams Lake. The militia was mobilized to end the threat and bring the city under the ordered rule of Prince George. The town fell quickly as there was little resistance. The town had not fared well in the time since Doomsday, with unrest building and the local RCMP already overworked, the town had fallen into a state of anarchy soon before the Prince George militia moved in. Due to this, the town welcomed the order brought by Prince George rule and this was reported as a great victory to the people, increasing confidence in Quinn's rule. This marked a the beginning of a period of stability that would last until mid 1993.
Fall of Militia Rule and the New Republic
After adding Williams Lake to the towns under Prince George rule, Quinn began to expand control over the rural communities outward from the controlled territories. While there were not many larger communities, this was nonetheless important for food production and resource exploration. BC is abundant in untapped natural resources, that under his rule could be exploited. All was going according to plan when in early 1993, with still no invasion, and no other outside threats, people again began to question the legitimacy of his rule. To the east the only possible targets for another campaign were Terrace and Prince Rupert, both of which were under Victoria control. He could not risk the people finding out about a legitimate BC government, and he dare not risk bringing whatever trained soldiers Victoria might command down on his fragile nation, as they had been respecting his border outpost so far. To the south lay the fertile Okanagan region, which his scouts said had banded together in a loose defensive and economic alliance. As the region was more populous than his own, he deemed the threat of defeat too high. With no outside threats to focus attention on, Quinn began fabricating threats from within. He began claiming the first nations peoples of the region were spying for their enemies and began rounding them up and interring them. The flaw in this plan was that the people no longer believed in an outside threat. The people began demanding an election, as it had been nearly ten years since the last. These people were rounded up by the militia as dissenters, and interred along with the natives. These acts did not go well with many members of the militia, who had joined to defend the region, not to persecute its people. These events eventually built unrest until August of 1993 Quinn declared martial law.
This act was the defining moment of his rule. The people along with many members of the militia rose up against Quinn, who they had come to see, had established himself as a military dictator. Many members of the militia however were loyal to Quinn, and believed in his vision for the future. There were riots in the streets of Prince George, and eventually shots were fired. The militia and people loyal to William Quinn managed to get him out of the city and fled to Smithers where they fortified themselves. Burns Lake became the battleground between the two factions, with refugees fleeing both to Smithers and to Vanderhoof/Prince George. The fighting lasted for a year before a cease fire was declared in September of 1994. Both sides started to recover when Quinn, looking at what he had wrought, decided that to continue to fight would be pointless. The people would no longer accept him as a leader. Instead he decided to hold on to the little power he had left and drafted a formal peace request with the provisional government in Prince George. Quinn would remain in Smithers as an independent town, and Prince George would retain all territory east of Smithers. This deal was accepted.
An election was held in November of 1994 electing a new city council and mayor, Henry Green. Green was a lawyer and after examining all the changes made to the systems and bylaws under Quinn's regime, decided that a new system was needed. It was decided, that with no contact with a legitimate government, and the recent history of self-rule, forming a new Republic was the best option. Leaders from each of the communities in the Prince George controlled territories gathered for a constitutional congress to discuss the new republic, and on February 3rd 1995 a constitution was ratified and new republic was born. The name for the republic was chosen by referendum as New Caledonia, after the old Hudson Bay Company name for the region.
Reconstruction and Outside Contact
The next years were spent ironing out flaws in the new constitution and rebuilding Burns Lake. Oil and mining exploration instituted during Quinn's rule paid off and raw materials became abundant. With a centralized government for the state separate from the municipal governments, a new Republic Council building was constructed in Prince George. The remainder of the militia was reorganized, separating the jurisdictions of defence and law enforcement, and creating the New Caledonian Army and the New Caledonian National Police. Contact to the east was limited, with William Quinn's forces blocking the roads, so it was decided to move south to make contact with the Okanagan communities. In 1997 relations were established with Kamloops, and a limited trading arrangement was established. News of the Republic of Victoria hit with mixed reactions, especially with their inability to aid the Okanagan region. With much of their military force depleted by the fighting with Quinn, New Caledonia could offer little in aid, but did send what they could to Kamloops and Salmon Arm.
In 2001 William Quinn died. With this, many of his followers returned to New Caledonia and applied to rejoin the Army, or return to their previous employment. Others fled east and became raiders, foolishly keeping to Quinn's doctrine of limiting New Caledonia's contact east, kidnapping or killing any scouts or messengers who tried to make contact with Victoria in Terrace or Prince Rupert.
GovernmentThe government of New Caledonia is an elected council of representatives similar to a Municipal government known as the National Council. The republic is divided into districts centered around a municipality in the area, each district elects one representative on the council except the Prince George district, who elects both the First Councillor and a separate National Councillor, this represents both Prince George as the origin and center of the republic, but also its larger population. The First Councillor acts as the Head of State as well as Head of Government, but in any legislative matters has no more power than any other counciller.
The economy of New Caledonia is dominated mostly by resource extraction. Mining, and more recently, oil are the dominant industries. Forestry and agriculture are other important branches of the New Caledonian economy.
New Caledonia is not a member of the League of Nations. Currently the only political groups that have contact with the government are other Canadian survivor nations, Victoria and the Okanagan Confederacy.
New Caledonia has spent most of their time and resources in the last few years expanding their control over the rural areas of northern BC between the Coast and Rocky mountains, rebuilding infrastructure, and establishing national institutions.
On October 22, 2009, emissaries from New Caledonia made contact with the Victorian aid station in Kamloops, marking first official contact between the two nations.
In the referendum of March 2010, the northern towns and cities of the Okanagan, including Salmon Arm and Kamloops, voted for integration into New Caledonia.