Robin Richardson of Victoria says he is the leader of a new political party called the Vancouver Island Party.

New political party wants Vancouver Island to be Canada’s 11th province

The Vancouver Island Party is led by Victoria's Robin Richardson; platform includes light rail system from Duke Point to Qualicum Beach

A former Progressive Conservative MP says he is the leader of a new political party, one that is calling for the establishment of Vancouver Island as Canada’s newest province.

Robin Richardson said through a news release on Monday the Vancouver Island Party will contest the May 17, 2017 provincial election and has a two-fold mission:

• to benefit more fully Vancouver Island as a region of British Columbia economically, socially, environmentally and culturally.

• to establish Vancouver Island as a province of Canada as soon as possible.

“We need to join together to form a new province of Vancouver Island, equal to a province for the rest of British Columbia that will join the Canadian Confederation as its 11th province on favourable, negotiated provincial terms of Confederation,” Richardson said in the release.

The party’s platform includes “lower or even free BC ferry fares for passengers and freight, lower or even free tuition and preferential hiring for Vanlsle college and university students.”

The party is also calling for infrastructure investments from the federal government to build a light rail transit (LRT) system connecting Duke Point to the Nanaimo International Airport, the City of Nanaimo (with stops at all major shopping centres), Lanzville, Nanoose Bay, Parksville and Qualicum Beach.

Richardson, a Harvard-educated economist who represented the Beaches riding in Toronto in 1979-80, said he lives in Victoria and at his vacation home in Nanaimo, with his wife of 50 years, Jacqui. They have two children and two grandchildren.

Richardson said his team is seeking qualified candidates in all 14 electoral districts on Vancouver Island by the end of November.