In 1917, during a visit to the Caribbean, Prime Minister Robert Borden spotted the British Overseas Territory of Turks and Caicos Islands and thought that the tropical archipelago was just the place to install Canada’s next province. The idea was quickly rebuffed by British leadership, who were admittedly preoccupied with the First World War, but nearly one hundred years later the dream of a Canadian flag flying in the Caribbean lives on. Last Wednesday, Edmonton East MP Peter Goldring, the loudest cheerleader for Turks and Caicos annexation, met with the country’s premier, Rufus Ewing, in a reception at Toronto’s Westin Harbour Castle hotel. The Post called Mr. Goldring on Friday to catch up on the possibility of Canada adopting 600 square kilometers of island paradise as its 11th province.
Q: You’ve been pursuing the Turks and Caicos file since 2004, but what did Mr. Ewing say during your latest meeting?
A: He was definitely interested in pursuing an economic association, and he’s looking for my type of help to work with members of parliament to get some momentum going to see if we can’t maybe get him a meeting with cabinet members to look at what some of these economic interests might be. The difficulty is that they’re a territory of Great Britain, so of course you would want to do things in concert with and with sensitivities to what Great Britain’s interests are.
Q: What do you see as the ideal future relationship between Canada and Turks and Caicos? An economic union? Territorial status? Full-fledged provincial status?
A: I would look at giving it full provincial status because of the potential for the region because they would then be representing Canada’s interests for the entire area. We have precedent; PEI has a relatively modest population. While the Turks population is between 25,000 and 35,000 people, with development and commercialization of the islands, very quickly I could see a population of 100,000 people.
Q: Plans to annex the islands have fallen through at least three time; in the 1910s, the 1970s and the 1980s. What’s different now?
A: The messaging then was for the Turks and Caicos to join Canada, but I think the plan may have [fallen apart] when Parliament considered space and time and distance. But in today’s world, the Turks and Caicos are actually closer to Ottawa, in kilometers, than my riding in Edmonton. With air travel and electronic communication it’s a whole new world.
Q: It’s certainly a nice vacation spot, but what else would Canada do with a Caribbean province?
A: They say that South Caicos Island is on a deepwater channel that could be developed into a deepwater trading port for transshipment from Canada’s Maritimes. Cuba, of course, has great infrastructure needs. As they are probably soon going to be entering a post-Castro era, looking forward I think it would bode well to have Canadian interests based from the Turks. From a Canadian unity point of view [and Canadian unity is why I got into politics], Canadians holiday north and south, they don’t holiday east and west. So we don’t get a chance to meet and greet each other on a regular basis. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a common destination in the south? The Turks would love all the extra business they could get in tourism.
Source: Turks and Caicos could be like a tiny Nunavut or Canada’s 11th province | National Post
Canada Sunshine "Province"
- 40 in Alberta, there will be lots of new snow birds flying to our new Province I'll bet??