Proposal: unite Saint Pierre and Miquelon with Quebec

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Just in case you don't know where Saint Pierre and Miquelon are, they're right here:

They're a group of tiny islands (two main islands) just off the coast of Canada that area part of France. Being located so close to Canada while being another country though apparently gives the residents there certain disadvantages when it comes to fishing that wouldn't exist if they were a part of Canada, which is part of the reason for this proposal. Some parts from the article:

To put an end to the disputes over the ages between the French islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon and Canada, the journalist and historian Alexandre Adler recently suggested an original and novel solution: the integration of the French archipelago to Canada.

In his radio column last Friday on French Culture, the historian and journalist posed the question bluntly: "Isn't it the time to think about the future of Saint Pierre and Miquelon...wouldn't it be better served if Saint Pierre and Miquelon joined Canada altogether?"

According to him this integration would have the advantage of putting to an end the clashes between Canada and this overseas territory, the last vestige of France's presence in North America (note: a comment below notes that Martinique, Saint Martin, Guadeloupe etc. are also part of North America). According to Adler, Canada's desire to attain more strength in its territorial waters will create a difficult conflict where French victory isn't a sure thing. The islanders in the archipelago risk losing their rich fishing zones and could see their business decline. Through joining Canada, says Adler, the Saint-Perrais would also escape annoying European regulations.

"The inhabitants could keep a double nationality with France and Canada and they could also directly join the province of Quebec, which would permanently guarantee the French nature of the territory", he said giving Newfoundland as an example.


Alexandre Adler neglected to mention that the archipelago is still one of the only chances for France to possess hydrocarbon reserves. This is why Paris went to the UN with a letter requesting an extension of the continental shelf of the islands past the 200 nautical mile border decided in 1992.

The chance of a union with Canada is probably somewhere around zero. In theory though Quebec would probably be quite happy with taking in the islands as there are only benefits to this for them: appearing more like a nation and gaining more French speakers, even if it is only a tad over 6,000.

Finally, here's what they look like from space.


Anonymous said...

Sellamat Dave !
St-Pierre et Miquelon are the last remnant of France's former North American Empire. Until the beginning of the XXth century, French fishers had moreover the right to build temporary shelters on the "French Shore", i.e. the Eastern coast of Newfoundland. About the latter, I thought it had joined Canada because it was highly indebted, though the population was not particularly enthusiastic about this. In 1992, an Arbitral Award adjudicated a very narrow 200 miles corridor to St Pierre et Miquelon. A new problem has arisen when Newfoundland and Nova Scotia claimed off-shore areas (i.e. farther than 200 miles off the coastlines) and made the dispute settled by an interprovincial tribunal in 2001 (before Canada ratified the UN Law of the Sea Convention in 2003). Recently, inhabitants of St-Pierre et Miquelon complained that he French government had not referred to the UN special Commission its claim on the off-shore spaces before the deadline that expired several weeks ago (ten years after the Convention became binding for France). On the UN website, I haven't seen that France has brought such a letter, but the page may not be up-to-date.


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