The great Scottish poet Robert Burns once wrote that “the best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley.”
Or, as they say in Canada, “The best laid schemes of mice and men go often askew”.
Perhaps that explains how, in the midst of Brexit negotiations and as Scotland weighs a second referendum on independence, an obscure Canadian writer was able to capture people’s imagination with his unconventional proposal: Scotland could quit the UK and join Canada instead.
On the surface, it sounds improbable. But as Ken McGoogan told the BBC, “in an ideal world, this might work really well”.
His proposal has since been picked up by media outlets as far as China, and he says he’s “amazed and gobsmacked” at the level of interest in an idea he initially described as a “flight of fancy”.
Some 1,500 readers wrote to the BBC from across the UK and North America to weigh in on whether Scotland should become Canada’s 11th province. Some found it was the best idea since chips-and-gravy. Others thought it would be a total disaster, like when they added the letter “e” to whisky.
Here’s what both Scots and Canadians had to say about the possibility of joining forces.
“We don’t want to be part of another country, we *are* a country… My dream is that we gain our independence and keep our sovereignty, no handing it over to the EU.” – Scot Chegg, Ayr, Scotland
“I think leaving the UK is a bad idea to start with, but leaving the UK to join Canada is absurd.” – Kyle Richardson, Scotland
Strike that, reverse it
“Canada should really be joining with Scotland, as we are the original Canadians and they’re basically just a big Scotland anyway.” – Rory Watt, Scotland
“Sorry, he’s got this in reverse… Canada was part of Scotland 25 million years ago and its about time we re-united. Being Scottish lets us use all those uniquely Scottish phrases, wear kilts on a regular basis, and enjoy a quality of life not otherwise possible. We could even switch to driving on the correct side of the road!” – Martyn Ridley, Canada
“I don’t know how we’ll be able to squeeze in 40-50 new MPs into our already crowded House of Commons. I do welcome the access to the home of my ancestors, and maybe more choices of whiskys.” – Alex Milton, Winnipeg, Manitoba
“While I can’t speak for all Canadians, myself and many, many others would happily welcome Scotland to join Canada as a full province. At the very least, we’d have Olympic curling all sewn up.” – Kevan Dettelbach, Vancouver, British Columbia
“Joining Canada would be fantastic…They already have Nova Scotia, now they’d also have the original Scotia!” – Colin Groundwater, West Lothian, Scotland
“At last someone has published what I have long thought. I think it makes good sense culturally, emotionally and economically. If they like, the English could ask to become part of the United States.” – Alisdair Dale, Orpington, England
“If Scotland and Canada were to join, it would be the perfect matrimony… Not only are Canada and Scotland similar in geographical terms (both being cold and beautiful) but also the friendly people of Canada would be welcomed with open arms in Scotland.” – Natalie Rosie, Dunfermline, Scotland
“To hear this idea put forward really makes a Scots descendent day dream about the possibilities! …I’ll gladly open my door and show them our famous Scottish-Canadian hospitality. Free of charge, naturally!” – Jason MacGregor, Montreal, Canada
“At least someone would then listen to me playing the pipes! Besides, I actually like haggis and the Scottish hills. Some of my fondest memories occurred during visits to Scotland as a child to the farm my grandfather worked on.” – John McCubbin, Toronto, Ontario
“Geographical boundaries don’t matter so much these days. What the people of a nation value does, identity does, and Scotland, for a very long time has not had the same values as England. As a province of Canada, Scotland would be treated better than it is now.” – B Whickham, Gloucester, England
“Canada and Scotland has so many deep and historic ties. We would be with our people, and peoples of a like mind, we would have the freedoms we require, yet still be part of a greater community, one that would not throw away or ignore our wishes.” – Symon Kielg, Edinburgh, Scotland
Some responses were edited for length.