Turks and Caicos move to join Canada

By Christopher Walsh
April 25, 2004
Could this beach paradise -- The Turks and Caicos islands -- become part of Canada?
Could this beach paradise -- The Turks and Caicos islands -- become part of Canada? -
In recent news, Nova Scotia's parliament voted to offer a Caribbean nation, Turks and Caicos, to join their province if they were to pursue political and economical union between Canada. Although it's official, no talks have commenced on the topic.

Canada has had several talks with the Caribbean country, which is a British colony, all of which have led to absolutely nothing. The main factors on Canada's part has been it's unwillingness to be seen as a neocolonist. The Caribbean islands have been pursuing a union for almost 100 years, and it has popped up yet once again.

The notion started in 1917 when Prime Minister Borden remarked it would be a good idea to annex the country. It popped up again in 1974 when a Canadian Member of Parliament introduced a private members bill to study a relationship between Turks and Caicos and Canada. At that time, Turks and Caicos was going through an election. Canada decided it would best be put off until their election was completed. Time passed and nothing happened.

At the beginning of 1988, the people of Turks and Caicos elected the People's Democratic Movement. A group which hastily trashed the idea of joining Canada in favour of it's own agenda.

As the idea has once again surfaced, there's nothing currently in the way of bringing this Caribbean paradise into our family. There are several ways in which this could happen. Most importantly, the islands could become their own province; They could very well join an existing province, however unlikely; They could also become a territory.

At this point in time, the benefits are seemingly outweighing the drawbacks. Assuming Turks and Caicos will join Canada, we would have an advantageous location for vacationers. Keeping Canadians in search of sun inside of Canada would benefit the economy by keeping spending inside of Canada instead of diverting it to Cuba, Mexico or other Caribbean islands. Another attracting feature would be a place for international vacationers. By joining Canada, the country would obviously enjoy an increase in the standard or living. Becoming a part of the Canadian economy would be a boost in their ability to participate the world's competitive industry of tourism.

Canadian military would have a base in the Caribbean on home ice. Not exactly ice, but Canada would grow increasingly in international military stature if Turks and Caicos joined Canada. As Guantanamo Bay is important in American operations, Canada would also have an important base in the region which probably wouldn't interfere with residents of the islands seeing as Canada is largely a peacekeeping force.

The Canadian dollar would also have a home in the south. Broadening Canada's "sphere of influence" and international relations.

Turks and Caicos could be an alternate destination for retirees in search of a warmer habitat. Making it even more irresistible is the fact that American immigration is becoming everso difficult making a longer-than 6 month stay in Florida pretty difficult. This spells out advantage for Canada, Turks and Caicos and citizens of both nations. Keeping tax dollars inside of Canada, bringing in a boost to local economy for Turks and Caicos and becoming less expensive for Canadians to migrate to and visit a warmer location.

Though I can see little disadvantage in a growing Canada and thriving Caribbean, there are some considerations we should look at before dismissing the idea as better than sliced bread.

In the event of total annexation, Canadian taxpayers would see their dollars going towards transfer payments. Payments of which are bound to be misused in some form along the way. These payments would go towards making the standard of living in Turks and Caicos equal to those around current-day Canada. They would go into infrastructure improvement, education reforms, government operations and social programs. We must look at the fact, however, that Turks and Caicos is a self-efficient society in which little or none of the population relies heavily on the government for support.

Official talks of annexation (or some form of it) have not yet commenced, however officials from both countries stated meetings would take place.

Michael Misick the Chief Minister of the Turks and Caicos Islands, stated their country is ready to talk about political and economic union between Canada and his nation. Paul Martin, Canada's Prime Minister has invited his political counterpart to meet in Ottawa.

There is no agreement or obligations as of yet on either side, however many Canadians and a large part of the Turks and Caicos islands have shown a very large interest in future developments.

Information about Turks and Caicos

Population: 19,500
Official Language: English
Head of Government: Chief Minister Michael Misick
Currency: US Dollar
Capital City: Cockburn Town

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