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James Bow has recently written about the latest attempt to build interest in Canada annexing the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Canadians for a Tropical Province's FAQ page provides a good background for those unfamiliar with the history of this idea:
In 1917, while on a yachting trip through the Turks and Caicos, Prime Minister Borden remarked on what a good idea it would be for Canada to annex the islands. Since then, the issue has been raised in parliament on two separate occasions. A private members bill was introduced by Max Saltsman (MP) in 1974 to study a special relationship with the Turks and Caicos. Parliament received large amounts of mail supporting the notion. Unfortunately, the movement lost momentum until 1986, when a two-man delegation from the Turks and Caicos arrived in Canada with some interesting news. A privately funded survey was conducted among the residents of the Turks and Caicos. The results indicated that over 90% of the islanders wanted to form a special relationship with Canada. This fueled a need for a sub-committee within the External Affairs department to report on the possibility of Canada expanding her borders, (Daubney Report). The report conceded two things:
1)That Canada should look towards forging a special relationship with the Turks and Caicos.
2)That it would be inappropriate to enters talks with the Turks and Caicos given that the islands were about to have a general election. But, if the new government of the Turks and Caicos were still interested in pursuing the subject, Canada should hold formal talks.
On March 3, 1988 the Turks and Caicos elected their new government. The overwhelming majority of the votes went to the Peoples Democratic Movement, who stated their first course of action will be a close examination of the relationship of Canada and the Turks and Caicos islands. Sadly, due to the timing of the Canadian federal elections, the issue fell by the wayside. At this time, the Turks and Caicos has been the closest partner in this search for warmth. Truly, it would be a tremendous thing to unite these two countries for mutual benefit. If, however, the proposal is not successful, Canada should not limit itself to that sole opportunity. The CFATP is convinced that given the opportunity, we can come to an agreement that would allow palm trees to be part of a Canadian tradition.
Now, Peter Goldring, MP for Edmonton Centre-East, has drafted a motion asking the federal government to study adopting the islands as "Canada's 11th province."
This idea is certainly fun to think about. I smile at the thought of stepping off a plane into tropical sun with the knowledge that I'm still in Canada.
The basic facts on the Turks & Caicos Islands (TCI)... The population is under 20,000... Very small, with a total land area that is about 1/180 that of Prince Edward Island... Consists of about 40 islands, with only eight inhabited... Current tourism, around 100,000 per year.
We all know that we'd love the sun. It's also probably better for our economy than spending those dollars in Florida. The islanders would likely appreciate the tourism business, the transfer payments, the health system and other social goodies, not to mention the ability to travel to Canada. Sounds like a win-win situation on the surface... but we should give some thought to what we would have TCI become over time. It sure would be a big transformation for this small island to deal with an influx of Canadian tourists and probably tens of thousands of relocating Canadian retirees.