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Canada at War: THE PROVINCES: Secession!

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At the head of the Great Lakes in Ontario’s twin cities, Port Arthur and Fort William (pop. 55,000), the cry of secession was heard last week. The man who raised it was Fort William’s ex-Mayor Chisholm Ross, who objects to being governed from Ontario’s capital, smug and self-centered Toronto, 800 miles southeastward.

Secessionist Ross urged fellow twin citizens and Northwestern Ontario to quit Ontario, to join neighboring Manitoba, whose capital, Winnipeg, is only 400 miles away. Acting Mayor J. E. Fryer thought it a good idea, cried: “The greatest frontier in Canada is being governed by people who don’t know and don’t care.” In Port Arthur, another stouthearted Westerner, Mayor Arthur Cox, wanted Manitoba to seize all of Ontario as far east as Sudbury, 700 miles away.

Sixty-three years ago infant Manitoba quarreled with Ontario over provincial boundaries. Manitoba incorporated the straggling border settlement of Rat Portage (now Kenora), set up a magistrate, a police force and a jail. So did Ontario.

Britain’s Privy Council settled the quarrel, awarded Kenora (and all land east of Lake of the Woods) to Ontario. Ontario’s it was likely to remain.

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