The Premier of the Turks and Caicos is in Canada for a two day working visit with Parliamentarians and businessmen. The Premier of the British-controlled Caribbean Island even met with PM Harper. His territory and Canada have solid relations. Of course, there will always be a question where the Turks and Caicos are concerned: Will Canada ever claim the islands as its own?
The people of both Canada and the Turks and Caicos react quite positively to the idea of Canada annexing the islands. To Canadians, a tropical destination where one doesn't have to show his or her passport, that's a terrific idea. A Canadian vacation hotspot! I can imagine people deciding to sell their winter homes in Florida and buying a home on the shores of the Caribbean. According to recent opinion polls, 60% of Islanders and over 80% of Canadians support annexation.
There are, however, other options that don't include giving the Turks and Caicos islands the title of Province or Territory. Nova Scotia's legislature has already voted overwhelmingly in favor of inviting the islands to join their province should Canada be given control. On Twitter, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says that his province would be interested in taking over the Turks and Caicos. PEI Premier Robert Ghiz supports the idea.
When we have Canadian politicians seriously considering making a play to annex an overseas territory, we have to accept that the annexation of the Turks and Caicos could actually be more than just an idea. The people support it. Canada has a strong economic partnership with the T&C Islands. It's actually quite surprising that they're not using the Canadian dollar there. I predict that within a decade, our currency will be introduced to the people of the Islands.
We've covered the pros of the annexation, let's discuss the cons. There aren't many, but the few problems there are, Canadian politicians take those problems VERY seriously. The Turks and Caicos Islands, for those of you who don't know where they are, are less than two hundred miles from Haiti. In 2010, a ginormous earthquake shook Haiti, tearing the country apart. Haiti is still very much a disaster zone. It will take many more years for the tiny nation to recover from that catastrophe. An earthquake will strike those Islands one day. Not this year, not next, maybe not even this century. But it will happen, and when it does, it will be a Canadian tragedy. Something so terrible, Canadians aren't ready to deal with such a disaster.
There's also hurricanes. Imagine the damage that a Category 5 hurricane would cause to a Canadian territory. Our government would be paying billions and billions of dollars to repair the damage. Natural disasters are a HUGE issue in that part of the world, and the Canadian government sees this, and that is one of the main reasons that every single government from Borden on down has politely declined annexing the Turks and Caicos.
That and the government is concerned that the cost of implementing Canada's free health care system would be extremely high. Of course, the population of the Islands is less than 50,000, so that really isn't a huge concern. Not a huge concern at all. The average cost to provide a Canadian with health care is $220,000. For a Canadian's lifetime. That means that it would cost $11 billion to provide the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands with free government health care. The cost to provide thirteen million Ontarians with health care costs our government over $2 TRILLION. Yes. That's a lot of money. I think that our government would be able to annex the Turks and Caicos and the costs associated with giving the Islanders the same benefits Canadians enjoy, we can afford to make them Canadian citizens.
For now, it doesn't look like Ottawa is actually interested in annexing a gorgeous Caribbean tropical paradise, but one day, a government will be interested. There are some serious issues that would need to be discussed, but in the end, the pros do outweigh the cons. The public support is there. I think that the Turks and Caicos Islands would make an excellent Canadian territory.
About The Author
Matthew Frank Kot was born and raised here in Sault Ste Marie. He first starting writing articles for Soonews.ca in early 2008, becoming the city's youngest columnist and journalist. He then went on to write for Local2, and for a short time had his "MATTer of Opinion" column on SaultOnline.com. Matthew was very involved in the 2010 and 2014 Municipal Elections and wrote several opinion pieces about important issues. In 2011, Matthew started Sault Transit Reform and has continued advocating for a better transit system since then.