Edmonton MP Peter Goldring on accepting Turks and Caicos into Canada

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The Ottawa Citizen has a fairly long article here from yesterday on the efforts of one MP (and Turks and Caicos itself) to get the islands accepted into Canada. It's a very interesting concept that has a fairly long history, and I'm all for it.

For years, Edmonton East Conservative MP Peter Goldring has been campaigning for this all-purpose "Canadian platform" on South Caicos Island. The Turks and Caicos lie north of the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

In the 1970s, Turks and Caicos knocked on Canada's front door.

The English-speaking nation asked to become Canada's 11th province. It was ultimately turned down. Strange in today's multicultural Canada, says Mr. Goldring, but concerns over racial and cultural integration figured in the decision.

In the late 1980s, with some 90 per cent of their population in favour, Turks and Caicos asked again for a "special relationship" with Canada. In 2003, with 60 per cent in favour, Turks and Caicos renewed its request.


And the port proposal is not merely a matter for Turks and Caicos. Ambassadors to Canada from Barbados and Cuba, and politicians in Dominica and St. Lucia, have championed more deep-water trade with Halifax which, he says, after touring the Halifax port, has "lots of capacity."

Historically, he adds, two Canadian ships used to ply between the islands. And though Canada's presence has diminished, it staged its Haiti-bound UN troops in 2004 through Turks and Caicos.

"We could have an aid program, a DART unit, an emergency aid unit. I visited Granada after Hurricane Ivan came through and it was very evident we didn't have the capacity to help."

The only silly part of the article is the bit about competing with "Communist China", which is something that really doesn't exist anymore. Even Chinese people will tell you that their country's government is not Communist but rather "Chinese-style socialism" (中国式社会主义), something completely different from the former Soviet-style communism.

Add to that the fact that the Spanish-speaking population in Canada is now at almost a million, and Canada can't really afford to ignore the area much longer.

If you feel like contacting the MP yourself, here's his contact information:

9111 118 Ave
Edmonton AB T5B 0T9
Ph. 780 495 3261
Fax 780 495 5142

House of Commons
Ottawa ON K1A 0A6
Ph. 613 992 3821
Fax 613 992 6898

For more info on the islands see their Wikipedia page here, and a comment here from someone that has visited the islands before is interesting too. Click on the comments button near the top left if you want to see the rest of the discussion.


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