Talks to rerail NAFTA negotiations in time for the Labour Day weekend have encountered a major hurdle today in Washington, as Canada’s trade team is refusing to back down on an issue near-and-dear to the northern nation’s heart: having their larger neighbour prove that they know the difference between Canada and Greenland on a map.
“We will not have our knowledge of geography called into question by the snow Mexicans,” said Robert Lighthizer, leader of the United States’ negotiating team, adding that identifying Canada in an atlas is inherently problematic.
“As everyone knows, most maps don’t depict the ever-shifting boundaries of the polar ice cap, and those that do are generally out of date as soon as they’re printed. Asking someone to show you where Canada is, is like demanding they point out to a winter storm on a globe.”
While recent studies indicate that as many sixteen Americans know that Canada is the large, misshapen hat directly to the north of them on any world map, the Canadians have repeatedly stated that this number is far lower than sharing a border nearly nearly 9,000 kilometres long would ordinarily warrant.
“Everyone in Russia knows where Finland is. Indian children can point to Pakistan without difficulty. I challenge you to find me a German who isn’t sure where the Netherlands are,” said Canadian Foreign Minister, Chrystia Freeland, showing off her extensive knowledge of obscure nations.
“We don’t think it’s unreasonable for the citizens of our largest trading partner to know where we live, as a basic indicator of minimal respect. Hint: Beside you. No. The other side.”
Asked why they have such difficulty locating Canada, many Americans were succinct in their responses.
The situation has placed trade negotiations between the two nations in even greater jeopardy, following a major setback earlier this week when U.S. President Donald Trump mistakenly referred to Mexico as, “America’s only neighbour, as far as we know.”
“Your average Canadian can not only find the United States on a map, they could give you pretty decent directions for how to get to San Francisco from New York by way of Miami,” said Freeland, looking fatigued.
“With that in mind, we don’t think it’s too much to ask that Americans not confuse us with South Sudan on a map of the world.”