'We're not in the business of annexing islands in the Caribbean," said Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird on Monday. "That's not something that we're exploring." Which leads us to ask one question of the member for Ottawa West-Nepean (average low in January: minus 14.8 degrees Celsius): Why the heck not?
Mr. Baird was responding, sensibly and soberly, to a question about the visit of Turks and Caicos premier Rufus Ewing, and the fanciful idea, revived every few years, of the British dependency becoming part of Canada. Mr. Baird wanted to talk about Ukraine, and with good reason. Instead, he was hit with question after question about pulling the Caribbean islands into Confederation.
Yes, the idea is slightly loopy. But a people subjected to six months a year of winter, preceded by four months of fall, are entitled to the occasional tropical daydream. And if Newfoundland could go from British colony to Canadian province, why not some slightly more temperate islands? Average high in January: 27 degrees.
After Mr. Baird shot down the idea, enterprising Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall stepped in. "We'd like a tropical island," said Mr. Wall. (Average January low in Regina: minus 20.1). He suggested, tongue-in-cheek, that the islands enter Confederation as part of Saskatchewan. To be renamed, as he put it on Twitter, "Saskatchewarm."
The future premier of Saskatcheribbean is on to something. Who wouldn't want a mid-winter vacation in Newfoundland and Equatorial Labrador or the Prince Edward Island Antilles? Hottawa, anyone?
Yes, there would be challenges. Expanding the country would also mean expanding the nation's motto. "A Mari Usque Ad Mare" – from sea to sea – fits perfectly on the coat of arms. A few years ago, the premiers of the three northern territories proposed changing the wording, to reflect a Canada stretches from Atlantic to Pacific to the Arctic Ocean – from sea to sea to sea. Adding the Turks and Caicos would mean adding a fourth sea, the Caribbean.
Here's to a future Canada: a mari usque ad mare ad mare ad mare.