California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. In many ways we have a lot more in common among ourselves than we have with the rest of our respective nations. The states and province have their own group, the decade-old Pacific Coast Collaborative, to deal with problems too important to be entrusted to Washington DC or Ottawa.
The Pacific Coast Collaborative is an agreement between B.C., the state of Washington, the state of Oregon, and the state of California to work together on protecting the environment, boosting their respective economies, and as of this year, responding to the overdose crisis.
Following the leaders' meeting Friday morning, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee was particularly vocal about the need for collaboration, given what he sees as a lack of leadership coming from the White House.
"We do not have a federal government that is protective of our state right now," said Inslee.
"On the West Coast, we know that climate change is not a hoax. It doesn't matter what foolishness comes out of the White House, the leaders on the West Coast are united in understanding science," said Inslee.
Inslee also told reporters his government feels very vulnerable right now, which is why it is looking to its neighbours for support.
"We have to recognize a reality that we have a brighter future and a cleaner future, and it's being realized under the leadership of your premier and we stand with him up and down the Pacific Coast," Inslee said, in reference to Premier John Horgan.
In so many ways we're in the same boat. We don't trust our federal governments and for good reason. We see our way forward aligned north and south, not eastward. It's not just climate change. It's also coastal waters and our respective fisheries, forestry, high tech and our unique Pacific culture that is really coming into focus. And, together, we've got plenty of economic clout. The four biggest companies in the world - Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Google - are all based in Pacific states.
Our ties with our central governments are fraying. Ottawa and Washington would do well to understand they're the cause.