Turks and Caicos…as part of Canada?!

Canadian annex? Turks and Caicos map mural, Providencales and West Caicos. Photo: Rian Castillo, Creative Commons, some rights reserved.

Canadian annex? Turks and Caicos map mural, Providencales and West Caicos. Photo: Rian Castillo, Creative Commons, some rights reserved.

It’s plenty hot right now. How to stay cool is uppermost in many minds.

But winter comes like clockwork every year and many snow belt residents love to hop on a plane to go get some sun. Florida, Mexico, Cuba and the Caribbean are popular destinations for many eastern Canadian snowbirds. A fair number over-winter or vacation in west-coast sun belts too, like Arizona and Hawaii.

It’s a problem. Millions of Canadians hate winter – or just want a break – and have no warm place to call their very own for close to 6 months out of every year. What to do, what to do?

Well, some creative thinkers want to fix that geographic lack. Why not find some warm-ish real estate that might welcome some of the social-economic advantages of being turned into Canadian soil, and make dreams come true?

Don’t laugh, this generates serious consideration.

At least one member of parliament is very serious about efforts to annex (if that is the right term) the Turks and Caicos. Those islands are currently a British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean, sort of north east of the channel between Cuba and Haiti.

The Turks and Caicos sound like quite the Canadian winter dream, as described by this tourism site:

From November to May the average temperature is 80 to 84 degrees (27-29 degrees celsius). Water temperature in the summer is 82 to 84 degrees (28-29 degrees celsius) and in winter about 74 to 78 degrees (23-26 degrees celsius). A constant trade wind keeps the climate at a very comfortable level.

There is an annual rainfall of 21 inches on Grand Turk and South Caicos, but as you go further west the average rainfall could increase to 40 inches. In an average year the Turks and Caicos has 350 days of sunshine.

Edmonton East MP Peter Goldring is one of the main movers behind this idea, which comes with more history than you might expect. Here’s more on that from an interesting National Post Q & A:

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.

Goldring, at least, envisions that could happen as an entirely new province. Others have floated the idea of maybe becoming part of an existing province, like Nova Scotia.

It’s not immediately clear what Turks and Caicos residents think of the proposal, and that (it seems to me) should be the deciding factor ahead of any Canadian hopes or fears.

But the notion is not entirely without precedent. After all, up until recent times (1949 to be precise) Newfoundland and Labrador were not governed by Canada. Prior to that Newfoundland and Labrador had been a British colony and then a Dominion (with self-governance) leading up to a referendum on the question of joining Canada or becoming independent.

With interest this high in Canada, the right Caribbean applicant (if any!) might stand a chance of going Canuck in a big way. This is unlikely to get settled right away, but it’s an idea with staying power in these colder latitudes.

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8 Comments on “Turks and Caicos…as part of Canada?!”

  1. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    I have long been a proponent of Canada getting their very own tropical island, but taking someone else’s tropical island seems so …. Un- Canadian. Maybe you could set up a drill rig and bore into the earths crust allowing magma to swell to the surface and create your own island. Or a giant log raft. Maybe a domed pleasure resort powered by hot springs in the Rockies, or something.

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  2. Two Cents says:

    plane to montreal, then to Canadian caicos, with a short skip and a jump to cuba-
    finally, an American’s path to cuba would open up…

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  3. I really like the idea of a Canadian tropical island. One thing though, Newfoundland was a British colony until 1907. Then it became it’s own “dominion” similar to Canada, but lasted only until 1933 when they went bust and their legislature voted the dominion out of existence. The British government appointed a board that looked after Newfoundland for 15 years and there was no legislature, no elections, nothing. In 1942 citizens wanted to have their own government again, and the process was started to decide on having their own independent country, join Canada or stay under British control. However the British board that ran Newfoundland from 1933 on, was still there until Newfoundland joined Confederation on March 31, 1949. When that occurred, a British crown asset joined Canada, not an independent country. That independent country ended in 1933.

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  4. Pete Klein says:

    Gee, I feel so sorry for the Canadians not having their very own tropical paradise.
    I wouldn’t object if the US government offered Canada Florida or Texas at a reasonable price.
    Maybe we could sell Canada all of the southern border states and let the Canadians worry about illegals.

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  5. Hank says:

    As someone who is not a “fun in the sun” type of guy (ie, I’m not big on long, sandy beaches filled with people), making Turks and Caicos part of Canada is not high on my priority list – in fact, it’s not on the list at all.

    Now, if we’re talking having some place like Vermont become part of Canada, that’s a whole different kettle of fish!

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  6. tootightmike says:

    I’m already tempted sometimes, to move to Vermont. If Vermont became a part of Canada, I’d have to start packing.
    I think it would make more sense to sell Florida and Texas to Mexico…. but then the US would have a belligerent neighbor.

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  7. B Naqqi says:

    Only a very few people in TCI think this idea, every time it comes up, is even remotely viable. Everyone else doesn’t want to trade one colonial master for another, realises that Canadian tax models would never work here with our cost of living, and is afraid of the inundation of people for whom we lack jobs and resources that would happen if full integration was made.

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  8. Lucy Martin says:

    Phillip Blancher and B Naqqi:

    Additional info and feedback improve the conversation. Thanks for the input!

    Knuck, thankfully, I haven’t heard anyone in Canada proposing “taking” tropical turf.

    I guess the optimistic view is that some irresistible, win-win proposal would emerge with a happy-ever-after exchange of mutual benefits.

    It doesn’t seem very likely to me, as there would be significant issues and opposition in Canada and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

    B Naqqui, is there any majority consensus in TCI on what political status residents want? The status quo, or…?

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