Singer Terri Clark on a Maritime union

December 28, 2012

Country music artist Terri Clark's latest release is Classic. She will be performing at Casino Rama in Orillia, Ont., on Jan. 4, at the Abbotsford Entertainment Centre in Abbotsford, B.C., on March 8 and at the Port Theatre in Nanaimo, B.C., on March 10. The full tour dates are at

Where are you from?

I was born in Montreal. We moved out west to Calgary. I spent from when I was 9 until the time I moved to Tennessee when I was 18, in Medicine Hat. I'm kinda half eastern, half western.

Those are places you've lived. Where are you from?

[Alberta] is where my formative years were. Where I went to junior high and high school. I claim Alberta as home.

I presume you've performed in the Maritimes.

Yes. Love it. Love it! I have toured there quite a bit. My dad's side of the family is from the Gaspé coast. I love the Maritime provinces. I always wish, when I go through there to do a show, I had time to see more. It's one of the most beautiful areas in the world.

You said the "Maritime provinces." What if it were Maritime "province"? One. Three senators from the region recently proposed the idea of a Maritime union. Is that a good idea?

I totally understand, economically, wanting to put the Maritime provinces into a better position. If there were a way to do that without messing with tradition and the emotional aspects of people's culture and history ... Even at that, I'm not sure that's ever going to happen.

I know I'm really proud of where I'm from. There's a certain emotional attachment of being who you are that goes way, way back through history. For them to abolish the names, the individuality of these provinces, I think it's going to be a tough sell.

All valid, emotional reasons, but, realistically, can three small provinces with faltering economies, on subsidy from the rest of the country, afford to stand on pride as separate entities?

That's a good question. I don't think they are even thinking about it, necessarily, whether they can afford pride. They just have pride. They don't want to lose part of their identity. If there were a way to economically amalgamate those provinces, a way to do it on paper without having to change names of the provinces ...

Like the European Union, united economically but still with distinct identities?

I think that's the only way it would work. If there was an ability to draw up some sort of union that would form a little less government, spend a little less money, without changing the names of these provinces ...

Would a Maritime union be a nice counterpoint to the endless uncertainty of Quebec separation? Unity instead of division?

There have been referendums going on in Quebec since I was a little girl watching René Lévesque on TV. It's interesting that, within one country, you have three provinces trying to unite into one and then another one wants to be its own country. It's pretty weird.

Newfoundland (which isn't properly in the Maritimes) hasn't been included in any talk of a regional union. It's just Nova Scotia, PEI and New Brunswick. Can you speculate on why?

Maybe it's too far out there. Maybe there's no need for them to be part of it. Or maybe they're not even asking, because they're thinking there's no way it would fly with Newfoundlanders!

And Newfoundland has got that weird time thing, half an hour out of whack with the other provinces.

I never know what time I'm going into when I fly into Newfoundland. It's the oddest thing. None of my technical contraptions that just automatically go to whatever time zone will do that!

A union into one Maritime province would make for bigger population and geography and, you'd think, more political clout. In the gang fight that can sometimes be federal-provincial relations, wouldn't it seem a good idea to bulk up?

I'd be all for it if there were a way for them to keep the separation of the names and cultures and emotional history intact for people who are really proud of their ancestors, who are really proud of where they came from and how it was formed. In a way, it's rewriting history to change all of that just making it one big province.

Well, how about if we rewrite history? On several occasions, the idea of the Turks and Caicos Islands becoming a Canadian province or annexing itself to a Canadian province has been proposed. What if that were revived and added to sweeten the "one big Maritime province" mix? Keep those Canadian snowbird dollars in Canada?

I don't think I know about that. It's all so bizarre! Sure, in a perfect world. Is that still on the table?

Well, maybe in Fantasyland ...

Yeah, that's a good one, because I don't think it's going to happen!

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