Welcome to Turks and Caicos, Canada, MP hopes to say

Lindsay Jolivet
Daily Brew
July 3, 2013
Turks and Caicos

Look out from the sandy beach to the endless blue waters in a land with an average of 350 days of sunshine each year. And then sing the anthem of the land you're in: O Canada.

That's the dream of Conservative Member of Parliament Peter Goldring, who is once again touting the idea that Turks and Caicos, a British territory consisting of 40 islands and cays, should join Canada as its eleventh province.

On a summer day in July when Iqaluit is buried in snow, the idea doesn't sound so bad. Not bad at all.

But in reality, the idea has existed for decades and several past attempts to make it reality have failed. Prime Minister Robert Borden first proposed connecting the two countries in 1917. Then in 1974, New Democratic Party MP Max Saltsman tabled a bill to annex the islands, but it didn't pass.

After more failed talks in the late '80s, Goldring adopted the issue in 2004 and he's been advocating for Canada's place in the sun ever since.

Last week, Goldring met with Rufus Ewing, the premier of Turks and Caicos, to raise the issue again, according to the National Post.

He told the newspaper his proposal offers great opportunities for trade, tourism and development on the islands. However, Globe and Mail columnist Andrew Steele once suggested joining the countries would be more complicated than a walk on the beach.

For example, he wrote residents of the islands are more socially conservative than most Canadians, with many opposed to gay marriage. More tourism dollars spent in Canada's new tropical province could result in fewer visits to our country's existing tourism destinations. He pointed to Banff and Peggy's Cove as examples. The islands' tax system is also very different than Canada's.

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If it could work, Steele wrote Turks and Caicos could be a valuable opportunity for Canada to expand its borders and its cultural identity. But it would be a challenge.

Canadians can dream about the beach for now, but sooner or later, they'll have to put down the rum punch once again and address the complications hovering over their tropical paradise.

We'll be waiting with our beach bags.