Conservative MP Peter Goldring has long been pushing for a political union between Canada and the British Crown colony, going as far as meeting with the country’s premier, Rufus Ewing, at a reception in Toronto earlier in the month.
However, Ewing told the Turks and Caicos Sun last week that he has no interest in pursuing provincial status with Canada and played down the idea that some islanders reject the idea and others back it. "I don’t think Canada is interested in forming an alliance with the Turks and Caicos, I think there is a specific MP and some others, who have always had interest in the Turks and Caicos annexing with Canada," he explained.
Ewing said he is open to the topic being discussed if it means more Canadians will want to visit the islands, invest or form economic partnerships, but the premier was absolute that this isn’t something his government is seriously considering. "I won’t be too hasty to jump from one mother’s nest to another mother’s nest — one master to another," he commented. "That is something that the people of the Turks and Caicos have to demonstrate to me that they want and then take it from there."
The idea of the Turks and Caicos islands joining Canada has been around for almost 100 years. In 1917, Prime Minister Robert Borden tried to coax the United Kingdom into taking them over, but his idea was dismissed, and in 1974 a private member’s bill from NDP MP Max Saltsman reviewing the take over of the Turks and Caicos islands also broke down. The Globe and Mail reported that the Turks and Caicos Islands sent a "serious offer" to consider joining Canada in the 1980s, but it was "politely ignored" as politicians instead concentratred on the Canada-US free trade agreement. And finally, in 2004, the three political parties in Nova Scotia voted unanimously to invite Turks and Caicos to join the province if the Caribbean islands ever become part of Canada.
Despite all these attempts, Goldring has been the most active Canadian trying to entice the paradise islands to join them. He told the National Post earlier this month that a Caribbean province could mean development of a vital, deep-water trading port for Canada and would do much to increase national unity. "Canadians holiday north and south, they don’t holiday east and west," he said. "So we don’t get a chance to meet and greet each other on a regular basis. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have a common destination in the south?"
The notion has been around for a while and there are mixed reactions from many, but it is currently still on the table and has not been dismissed for good.
The idea of the Turks and Caicos islands joining Canada has been around for almost 100 years... despite all these attempts, Goldring has been the most active Canadian trying to entice the paradise islands to join them.