Blogs & Comment

Forget the Arctic, protect the Turks and Caicos

While Harper tours the arctic, partly to assert Canada’s sovereignty over the north, another piece of land could become available for our government to fight for. A post by Globe and Mail blogger Andrew Steelelays out the pros and cons for the Turks and CaicosIslands becoming our 11th province.
I’ve been on board with this idea for a long time a Canadian province that’s hot year-round would be fantastic but there’s more to consider than just warms temps.
Thanks to a corruption scandal on the island, the British government has been forced strip the tiny territory of its independence. Britain likely isn’t crazy about running this small Caribbean locale, but Canada might be.
For about four decades MPs have floated the idea of making the island part of this country, though it’s never been seriously considered. Now, with the TCI scandal, terrorism fears making it more difficult to enter the U.S., and a frustratingly cold summer, it might be time to welcome the island into this country.
Of course, there will be plenty of obstacles to overcome before this can happen. Steele writes:

Banking is perhaps the gravest challenge. TCI is an offshore banking centre, what was formerly called a “tax haven.” This is a place with a very low tax regime that allows large pools of capital to form, encouraging large investments and economic growth locally and internationally. However, offshore banking centres often have a bad reputation for lax regulation, even money laundering.

It would be very difficult to get TCI to join Canada without maintaining some elements of that low tax regime, as financial services is almost one-third of their GDP. This would likely require either a consciously two-tier banking regime that would create a real pressure on Toronto and Montreal based financial institutions to seek lower tax regimes in the new province.

He cites other challenges they’re more socially conservative, tourism dollars could shift from Canadian destinations to the tropical island, and there’s the potential for the current residents to move north (but seriously, after one winter they’d all move back) but if this happened, says Steele, the biggest change for Canadians would be that the idea of Canada would likely be forever altered, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
It’s an interesting read.