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Hudson’s Bay t-shirts leave Prince Edward Island off Canadian map

Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island
“Hey, it’s us…PEI…remember?”

Rumour has it that a loose assemblage of nefarious connivers is taking stabs at literally wiping Prince Edward Island off the map.

As reported by the Canadian Press, numerous attempts at removing PEI from topographical portraits of Canada have been spotted across the country, with their true motives remaining a mystery. In one instance, the Hudson’s Bay Company was revealed to be hawking t-shirts and onesies emblazoned with a map of Canada, sans Prince Edward Island. In another, at least one sharp-eyed traveller at the Vancouver International Airport spotted a wall map of Canada also with little ol’ PEI left out.

Spokespersons for both organizations have stated that their respective “mistakes” are currently being rectified, yet the trend continued when a recent Canadian Automobile Association magazine in celebration of Canada’s sesquicentennial included yet another PEI-less map of Canada. In this case, the CAA says it will offer its mea culpa in the form of a summer showcase of all things PEI.

“No one wanted to ignore the birthplace of Confederation,” said CAA Atlantic representative Gary Howard, perhaps protesting a bit too much. “The story will show … all the great things around Prince Edward Island, so we took a lemon and made some pretty tasty lemonade out of it,” said Howard.

Sounds great, but add on the fact that Old Man Winter is warming up to hit PEI this week with another spate of nasty weather (break out the storm chips, boys) and you’d be forgiven for thinking our most diminutive of provinces might be a little hard done by these days. Had a bit of rusty red dirt thrown in its face, as it were. But should we be sad that PEI’s not getting its props as of late? Not likely.

Last time we checked, the province with less than 150,000 residents still has four folks sitting in the Senate, a ridiculous over-representation, some say. In the House of Commons PEI’s four MPs gives it one members of parliament for every 36,000 citizens, an embarrassment of political riches in comparison with, say, Ontario’s one to 110,000 ratio.

And please don’t tell us that the little island gets short shrift in Canada’s cultural domain. What’s this? Another version of Anne of Green Gables from the CBC? (As an aside, it’s written by one Moira Walley-Beckett, former co-writer on the hit show Breaking Bad, thus raising expectations all around of a grittier, more Anne-on- a-mission take on the beloved classic.)

There’s more than a whiff of little guy complex here, if we’re honest. When the New Brunswick government brazenly announced in November its plans to change the national narrative and put itself, instead of PEI, as the place “Where It All Began,” Islanders got predictably fussy. They’re now hitting Parliament with two bills, one in the House and one in the Senate, both seeking (demanding, rather, fists clenched and foot stamping) official recognition as the birthplace of Confederation.

MP for Malpeque, Wayne Easter, introduced the private member’s bill to the Commons, saying, “I think it’s important that it is in legislation actually, so it is stated within the Parliament of Canada. It puts it in a more solid foundation, so that history can’t be reinvented, as sometimes happens, as time goes on.”

Wow, really? Who said anything about reinventing Canada? It’s not like we’re leaving you off the map of … Okay, okay, PEI, don’t worry. Take a deep breath. You’re still part of the team. We still love you. Promise.

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About The Author /

Jayson is a writer, researcher and educator with a PhD in political philosophy from the University of Ottawa. His interests range from bioethics and innovations in the health sciences to governance, social justice and the history of ideas.
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