INDEPTH: TURKS AND CAICOS|
Canada's Caribbean ambition
CBC News Online | April 16, 2004
Quebec City too cold in February? Fredericton frosty in December? Nunavut November not for you?
Fear not, there may be help: at least one member of Parliament and a handful of interest groups are asking the Canadian government to annex a little slice of sun-splashed heaven: the Turks and Caicos, a Caribbean gem with an average wintertime temperature hovering between 28 and 29 C.
Canadian Alliance MP Peter Goldring (Edmonton Centre-East) thinks it's a wonderful idea. He's drafted a motion to ask the government to look into the issue, and plans to introduce it in the fall. "I think around 100 per cent of people (in Canada, and Turks and Caicos) like the idea," he told CBC News Online in July 2003.
Currently a British overseas territory, the Turks and Caicos (actually a grouping of 40 islands located 250 kilometres east of Cuba) have a history of being on the wish lists of Canadian politicians.
In 1974, NDP MP Max Saltsman tried to use a private member's bill to persuade the government to consider annexing the islands. He reasoned that there should be a warm-weather destination for Canadians to spend money on Canadian soil.
Unfortunately for sun-loving Snowbirds, the proposal was rejected.
In 1988, members of the Turks and Caicos government resolved to approach the Canadian government about establishing a special relationship. But alas, the idea of annexing a warm-weather island took back seat to the debate over free trade with the United States (something some Canadians consider annexation of a different variety).
Peter Goldring hopes this time around it will be different. "I have been talking with a number of members of the (Turks and Caicos) government," he told CBC News Online. "And I have indications from a couple of them that this is an issue they want to pursue."
Goldring says annexation could be mutually beneficial: Canada can provide good health care, economic ties, defence, and a steady flow of winter-weary Snowbirds; Turks and Caicos would give Canada a warm, friendly 11th province - a southern destination where the Loonie could land without breaking a wing.
Plus, says Goldring, tongue planted firmly in cheek, "Paul Martin would have a place to park his fleet."
- Agreeable weather: 350 days per year of sunshine; average temperature: June-October 29-32 C; November-May 27-29 C
- Same time zone as many Canadians (Eastern Standard)
- Air Canada offers direct flights
- English is the official language
- Could be first island home to an NHL team
DEPENDS ON YOUR PERSPECTIVE
- Currency is the U.S. dollar
- Would make plum hideout for wayward senators
- Controlled drugs and pornography not allowed through customs
- Public nudity is illegal
Capital: Grand Turk (Cockburn Town)|
Currency: U.S. dollar
Area total: 430 sq km (consists of about 40 islands, eight of which are inhabited)
Natural resources: spiny lobster and conch
GDP: $128 million (199 estimate)
Sources: CIA World Factbook, Turks and Caicos Tourist Board