Frequently Asked Questions About Our Party
Have questions about the Cascadia Bioregional Party, find answers and links here.
Changing your registered party preference to CNP is the easiest way to support Californian independence. It’s free and takes less than five minutes.
To change your party preference, you must re-register to vote. The process is the same as registering for the first time. You must be a U.S. citizen and a resident of California to register. You can register online or by mail.
You can register to vote online if you have a California driver’s license or a California ID.
In Idaho, there are three ways we can obtain political party status, before someone can register to vote Cascadia Bioregional Party.
- by having three or more candidates for state or national office listed under the party name at the last general election (provided that those individuals seeking the office of president, vice president, and presidential elector are considered one candidate).
- by polling at the last general election for any one of its candidates for state or national office at least 3 percent of the aggregate votes cast for governor or for presidential electors
- by having an affiliation of electors sign a petition to be submitted to and verified by the secretary of state. If a new political party seeks qualification through the submission of a petition, the party must fulfill the following requirements:
- The party must state its proposed name in no more than six words.
- The petition must state that the subscribers of the proposed party desire to place the party on the ballot.
- The party must submit signatures equaling at least 2 percent of the aggregate votes cast for president in Idaho at the previous general election for president. Currently this number would be 17345.
- The party must file the petition with the secretary of state by the stated deadline.
- The format of petition sheets must be patterned after such sheets as used for state initiative and referendum measures.
Broadly speaking, we support actions that make the day to day lives of Cascadians better, such as increased access to healthcare, education, and the justice system through things like single payer healthcare, free community college with vocational training, and increased judicial funding, especially in both overloaded urban areas and historically under-served rural counties.
We also support policies designed to enhance the lives of future Cascadians, such as environmentally responsible stewardship; support for economic investment that does not simply keep the present wealthy but provides opportunity for future generations; and infrastructure development, both rural and urban, at local, regional, and Cascadia wide.
Our goal is to help foster a sense of Cascadian bioregional identity for all our people, regardless of ethnicity, language, gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, socio-economic background, politics, or other factors. We believe that the promise and potential of Cascadia can only be achieved if we are willing to work together in the spirit of mutual tolerance and cooperation.
The Cascadia Bioregion encompasses all or portions of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California, Nevada, Wyoming, Montana, Alaska, British Columbia, and Alberta. Bioregion is short for ‘bio-cultural region’ and are geographically based areas defined by a physical traits; land or soil composition, watershed, climate, flora, and fauna; as well as the cultural traits of the inhabitants that live within them, and act upon them. The Cascadia Bioregion includes the entire watershed of the Columbia River (as far as the Continental Divide), as well as the Cascade Range from Northern California well into Canada. The delineation of a bioregion is defined through watersheds and ecoregions, with the belief that political boundaries should match ecological and cultural boundaries, and that culture stems from place.
Stretching along more than 2500 miles of Pacific coastline, Cascadia extends for as long and as far as the Salmon swim – from the glacial cold Copper River Watershed in South East Alaska to Cape Mendecino in the South and the Yellowstone Caldera in the East. Cascadia contains the largest tracts of untouched old growth temperate rainforests in the world, including 7 of the top 10 worlds carbon absorbing forests, the worlds tallest trees, thousands of volcanoes, hot springs, rivers, lakes, inlets, island and ocean, and some of the last diminishing, though still impressive wild habitats of salmon, wolves, bear, whale, orca. In all – more than 350 bird and mammal species, 48 reptiles, hundreds of fungi, lichen, and and thousands of invertebrates and soil organisms call Cascadia home.
Since time immemorial, this region has been an interdependent crossroads of trade, language, and dozens of nations stretching for as far as the salmon swim. Today, the Cascadia bioregion is home to roughly 16 million people, the 9th largest economy, and some of the largest old growth temperate rainforests, including 7 of the top 10 largest carbon storing forests and tallest trees in the world.
All this to say, that our local actions here in Cascadia can have a huge impact globally, and that we have a lot of very special things to protect.
As of 2017, as measured by the combination of the states and provinces making up the Cascadia bioregion (not including California), Cascadia would be home to slightly more than 16 million people (16,029,520), and would have an economy generating more than 1.613147 trillion worth of goods and services annually, placing it as the worlds 9th largest economy and roughly equivalent to that of Canada or Italy. By land area Cascadia would be the 20th largest country in the world, with a land area of 534,572 sq mi (1,384,588 km2), placing it behind Mongolia. Its population would be similar in size to that of Ecuador, Guatemala, or Scandinavia.
With a GDP of 356 billion, Cascadia’s largest city Seattle has an economy slightly smaller than Thailand, but larger than Colombia and Venezuela. The region also has one of the fastest growing clean energy sectors in the world, is energy sufficient, generating almost all of its energy based on renewable resources, and already exports electricity to surrounding states and provinces.
The most dominant sectors of Cascadia’s economy are agriculture, science and technology, trade, media and tourism. Much of the economic activity is concentrated in the coastal cities, while the inner areas are mostly focused on agriculture. The strongest economic areas are around the Cascadia megaregion, stretching from Vancouver, through Seattle to Portland and Eugene. Some of the largest and most well known companies include Amazon.com, Starbucks, Costco, Boeing, Microsoft, REI, Nordstrom, T-Mobile, Lions Gate, Nike, Adidas, Columbia Clothing and many others.
As part of this creative powerhouse, a unique balance and ecosystem of learning and livability must co-exist. Cascadia is home to the second largest tech hub in the world, one of the highest standards of living, as well as advanced medical and educational institutions.
As a coastal state, it is also a major gateway for trade to and from North America, and the the region has a rich maritime tradition. Together, Cascadia has the largest civilian ferry fleet in the world, holds nine of eleven deep water ports and dry-dock facilities on the West Coast of the United States and Canada, and is considered the ‘Thin Green Line’ between ecologically destructive resource extraction within the North America interior and heavily fossil fuel dependent economics on the other side of the pacific, as well as a ‘Gateway to Asia’ for inter-global supply of consumer goods and services.
Our funding is entirely sourced through small donations from supporters living in Cascadia, or the United States and Canada. We receive no funding from corporations, businesses or governments, and we return funds to individuals if we feel like they are not in good standing with our principles.
Are you supported, financially or otherwise, by interest groups outside Cascadia?
Absolutely not! Our funding comes from individual Cascadians while our volunteer leaderships are all based here. We do not accept money or material support from any organization, corporation, or special interest based in the United States or other foreign countries.
There’s little natural about the boundaries that divides the United States and Canada. They are often imaginary lines that divide communities and ecosystems, resulting from history, conflict or negotiation. They are not reflective of the place, the people or our inhabitants, and create systems of competition and scarcity. As long as we continue in this framework, we will never be able to have truly representative systems of government.
‘Bioregional’ is a way that we talk about about place based boundaries that are derived from physical, ecological and cultural realities, and grow themselves up from the communities calling this place home. Rather than abstract notions of US or Canadian, we are Cascadian – citizens of watersheds and home.
For those not familiar, a bioregion is a region defined by the natural environment rather than by man-made divisions.
The external boundaries of a bioregion are hard and jagged, mountain ranges, fault lines, geology, hydrology – and from these hard edges, interconnected systems of rivers, weather patterns, ecosystems, soil types, that all together define the shapes of our bioregion. This includes watersheds, ecosystems, and human communities.
Such an area must be large enough to maintain the integrity of the region’s biological communities, habitats, and ecosystems; to support important ecological processes, such as nutrient and waste cycling, migration, and stream flow; and to include the human communities involved in the management, use, and understanding of biological resources. It must be small enough for local residents to consider it home.
A bioregion is unique in that it’s not just defined by natural borders, but also by the people living there. It must have a unique cultural affinity and means that the livelihoods and interests of local communities should be the starting point and criteria for regional solutions and conservation.
As part of this, we seek to align our proposed administrative frameworks, policies and boundaries within a bioregional context in a way which greater reflects the natural and cultural realities of our home, rather than arbitrary lines on a map often created by people who never set foot here. We believe that every person and community impacted by a decision are the best able to speak to their needs, and in building systems based on mutual support and empowerment, rather than disenfranchisement, gerrymandering and exclusion. Bioregions are the natural countries of the planet, containing within them many nations, inhabitants, watersheds and ecosystems. Culture stems from place.
By creating a place based politic – sharing our land, air and water; regardless of personal belief we will have shared values, and common concerns rather than a distant seat thousands of miles away with no vested interest in our place or people.
If there is a fire, it affects all of us. If there is a drought it affects all of us. If there is an earthquake or volcano eruption, it affects all of us. Seattle is a mere 180 miles away from Vancouver BC, and yet it is divided by an international line due to simple accidents of history. The Columbia River watershed alone, Cascadia’s largest waterway, includes parts of six US states and one Canadian province. Its border is traced, “not by governments or treaties, but by every drop of liquid that finds a common path to the ocean”. If we ever want to talk about true sustainability, energy independence or food sovereignty, restoring salmon runs or negotiating dams along the Columbia river, especially in the arid West – that conversation will involve everyone involved. As long as we remain a part of our respective federal governments, a hodgepodge of competing corporate and government interests not even rooted here – we will never be able to live as efficiently, democratically or equitably as the way we need to.
By moving away from the 20th century notions of the nation state, often created through conflict, genocide and blood, we can begin to build a place based identity rooted in the things we love, and a shared vision we can be working towards, rather than simply resisting that which we are against.
Even today, national politics, when drawn upon boundaries not reflective of the people or place can be incredibly divisive and disenfranchising, and will never truly be able to represent those living there. Bioregional politics instead seeks to empower people in their communities locally, right here right now. Rather than rely on political systems which are funded by the systems we are working to change, in which vast wealth is required, and if unsuccessful, could mean you walk away with nothing; the same political systems based on arbitrary lines that are not representative of the place and people; or a part of vast national entities that through the sheer size and scale – have little vested interest; in which a person is sent to make an impact by voting every 2 or 4 years; bioregionalism instead works to create the systems in which individuals and communities are active every day working to make the change they want to see happen, happen. By removing ourselves from the term “American” or “Canadian”, we can remove ourselves from the national mythos of these systems and evaluate these identities for what they are – a set of institutions, either succeeding, or failing, with a myriad of ways we can improve them.
Rather than specific platform to be enacted, we feel that it is time for a democracy upgrade, and that the communities within Cascadia are the best able to determine what is best for Cascadia. Upon Independence, the Cascadia Bioregional Party would seek the immediate creation of a constituent assembly, to bring together panels of experts, citizens and participants to draft a new constitution, government or governments, and establish appropriate boundaries for nations and administrative frameworks within the bioregion of Cascadia.
- Bioregional Borders: Establishing boundaries along natural borders, better representative of people, inhabitant and place.
- Delegates not repreesntatives. We want to elect delegates who are bound to vote for what their constituents believe, not as they choose.
As part of this bioregion and our home, the Cascadia Bioregional Party recognize that we live on the ceded and unceded lands of generations of First Nation, Aboriginal and Indigenous people who have lived here since time immemorial.
We recognize that we exist today on the backs of generational trauma, genocide, racism, forced removal, land seizure, cultural erasure, exploitation the systemic and personal results still exist with us here actively today. As nation states built from these horrendous acts, and built to enshrine the rights of dividing and subdividing as property between its citizens and enforcing these systemic differences, American and Canadian citizens will never be able to undo the harm wrought before them or move away from these injustices, indeed these injustices are been built into the very foundation of their constitutional documents. As long as we remain a part of these governments, as long as First Nations can be done away with the stroke of pen – there will never be true justice.
Cascadia then, is a new framework which we can build together. For us, the conversation of Cascadia starts and ends with First Nations and Indigenous organizers and communities throughout the Cascadia bioregion. We are proud to have many members of First Nations as part of our organizing teams and groups, and to give space to amplify their voices and issues important to them. The Cascadia Bioregional Party actively supports the break down and removal of arbitrary nation state borders within North America; removing ourselves from systems which are non-representative of the place, people and land; and working with all inhabitants, especially those who have been traditionally marginalized or left with out voice, to build something new.
- Creation of a place based political party and movement that can represent the wide diversity of views and lifestyles within the Cascadia bioregion. Through this movement, the work of growing bioregional administrative frameworks; pro-democracy infusions, accountability and increased access to democratic institutions; increasing the livability and well being of our communities, inhabitants and ecosystems.
- A constitutional assembly made up of experts, citizens, First Nations, participants to create a streamlined bioregional and proposed governing structure to be agreed upon by the inhabitants of Cascadia.
- Referendum on independence supported by a majority of Cascadians.
- Negotiation with the United States and Canada on the transfer of authority and land, military presence, debt assumption, and other necessary issues to smooth the transition for both nations.
Additionally, in the 150 years since this Supreme Court decision, a vast body of international law and United Nations resolutions, including laying out rights to national self-determination, has come into existence, lending further legitimacy to our goal. The United States itself has also granted independence to former territories since then, such as Cuba and the Philippines.
The Cascadia Bioregional Party does not challenge the authority or legitimacy of the United States government, but simply seeks a legal agreement that its powers no longer extend to Cascadia. We pursue our ends using only peaceful and democratic means, such as our rights to free speech and to associate with like-minded individuals. These rights are guaranteed by the United States Constitution itself and are sufficient for us to reach our goal of true political representation, and ultimately independence, for Cascadia. Our party is not anti-American or Canadian, it is pro-Cascadian.
While it is difficult to gauge support specifically in Washington and Oregon, because no research has been done for those states, a nationwide poll by Zogby International in 2018 found that 39% of Americans support the idea of independence, with 68% of people being open to a state’s or region’s right to peacefully secede from the United States, the highest rate since the American Civil War.
This number included 41% of Democrats, 39% of Republicans with the largest demographic supporting the idea being Black Americans at 47%, replacing the previous current highest block (which had been Latinos 51% in 2017).
Support for the idea continued to grow as western states were forced to band together for COVID coordination and supply relief, after the Trump administration denied critical aid and disaster status relief funding during the largest wildfires in the nations history, and the federal government declared Seattle, Portland (and New York) anarchist jurisdictions during the height of the BLM protests again denying critical federal funding in a host of areas, which it used to deny tens of millions of dollars in grants and COVID relief.
Surprising to many Americans, support for the idea of Cascadia and independence actually tends to sit much higher in British Columbia and Canada in general, than many parts of the states.
In British Columbia, a 2020 Glacier Media poll found that support for the idea of Washington and Oregon joining with British Columbia to form an independent Cascadia at 66% for those aged 18 to 34, followed by 60% of those aged 35 to 54 and 48% of those aged 55 and over. The same poll showed a significant growth of support for British Columbia as a standalone independent country. As a standalone country, support has gone up to 27% from 17% in 2018 and 2019, British Columbians aged 18 to 34 are more likely to feel that the province could be independent (37%) than those aged 35 to 54 (28%) and those aged 55 and over (18%).
Support for the “Wexit” movement in Alberta remains low at 15%.
Angus Reid conducted a four part study on Western Canadian identity and surveyed 4,024 Canadians in late December and early January of 2017 and 2018. It showed that 54 percent of British Columbians felt they had the most in common with Washington state, 18 percent picked California while just 15 per cent chose Alberta, 9% percent chose Ontario, and less than 3% chose Manitoba, Saskatchewan or another Canadian area. This connection, while not new, has steadily continued to grow (In 1991, fully half of B.C. respondents told the Angus Reid Group they had the most in common with Washington) and more telling, in 1991 there was a much greater degree of mutual recognition between British Columbia and Alberta, and other parts of Canada.
A poll commissioned by the Western Standard magazine in 2005 asked whether “western Canadians should begin to explore the idea of forming their own country”, and 35.6% of respondents from Western Canada agreed.
In Canada, a much younger country with only 30 million residents in which independence does not bear the same stigma and has an active Quebec and Indigenous Sovereignty movement, support for the idea of independence in British Columbia continues to grow with strong feelings of western alienation.
NOT REPRESENTED BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
A key component of how the west perceives its role in Canada is whether or not it feels represented by national institutions. The federal government receives its poorest scores in the West, with just one-quarter of British Columbians (25%), and fewer than one-in-five Albertans (15%) and Saskatchewanians (17%) saying they feel well represented.
Much like their southern Cascadian and Californian counterparts, asked whether the federal government’s treatment of the west has improved or worsened over the last few years, those westerners who believe the treatment has been unfair tend to see it worsening:
Given that they feel they’re receiving poor treatment from the federal government, it’s interesting to note how British Columbians and other western provinces would like to their local governments to best proceed in representing their interests.
Rather than less of a schism, only 7 percent want their province to take “a soft approach” that aims to avoid conflict. The vast majority are split between favoring “a firmer approach” that doesn’t shy away from disagreement (46%) and “a tough approach” that would see their provincial government “do what it takes” to defend regional interests (47%).
Cascadia is a bioregion, and a nation of nations within this natural country of the planet. We unreservedly support the right of people to self determine their way of living if it is democratic and respects the people living here, our environment, and basic principles of human rights and decency. In addition, many First Nations already exist, and must be granted sovereignty over their own lands and affairs. When that is granted, we look forward to working with all nations and communities living here to build systems for shared stewardship and representation within the Cascadia bioregion – the Pacific Northwest and Canadian West as defined through our watersheds, because ultimately, we all share this land together, and it will take all of us working together to achieve the changes we need.
We feel we can make a compelling argument for the size, scale and shape of our movement, and it’s up to us to make this case and convince a majority of people living here. Ultimately, it will be the people living here who are best able to speak for our land and communities, and we look forward to working each to make this possible.
Join us! The best way to support the Cascadia Bioregional Party is to join us, and get involved.
- Sign up on our Join page.
- Become a member by registering on our website. Use the forum, submit a policy idea, find friends, build community.
- Join us on our Slack, Discord and Reddit. Also make sure your plugged into our social media on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook.
- Become a Volunteer or Start a Chapter.
- Donate or become a member!
Depending on where you live, registering to vote with the Cascadia Bioregional Party can be hugely important as well, and is how we can receive official recognition as a party in different states.