Montana lawmakers on Wednesday shot down a resolution formally opposing the sale of the state to Canada, an intended tongue-in-cheek pushback to a now-viral petition.
The petition, launched one week ago on Change.org, calls for sale of the Treasure State to our neighbors up north for a cool $1 trillion, which would then supposedly help eliminate the national debt.
“We have too much debt and Montana is useless,” the petition’s founder, identified as Ian Hammond, wrote. “Just tell them it has beavers or something.”
The petition drew 11,000-plus signatures, sparking a gobsmacked column in the Great Falls Tribune and catching attention of Rep. Forrest Mandeville, a Republican from Columbus and chair of the state’s House Administration Committee.
He had an idea. A vision. A proposal for “a little fun”: a formal House resolutionfrom lawmakers opposing the petition’s goal.
As the 20-person committee convened Tuesday morning, Mandeville spelled out just what the resolution could entail.
“I’m thinking stuff like … ‘Whereas, we don’t know the Canadian national anthem after the first two words,” he said. “Some stuff like that just to have a little fun.”
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Swift opposition came from Rep. Jessica Karjala, a Billings Democrat. “What about those of us who would like more maple syrup, better tea and free health care?” she said.
“You can vote against it, Rep. Karjala,” Mandeville said.
“Or you could move,” said Rep. Wendy McKamey, a Republican from Great Falls.
“There’s still an option to move to Canada,” Mandeville said. “We wouldn’t take that away.”
He needed three-quarters approval to authorize a draft of the resolution. He got it: 15-5.
The naysayers raising their hands seemed unamused.
Staffers could now begin work on a resolution pushing back on this preposterous petition. “Montana is worth a heck of a lot more than $1 trillion!” Mandeville later said.
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But the victory was short lived, he told USA TODAY on Wednesday: The committee had reconsidered the bill request, Mandeville said, and it was defeated. There would be no bill on the issue.
His fun deprived, Mandeville seemed unconcerned about the petition’s success.
“I don’t think anyone really believes there is a snowball’s chance in Florida that the U.S. will sell Montana to Canada,” he said. “So, it’s easy to sign a petition that will not really affect anything.”
Contributing: Kristen Inbody, Great Falls Tribune
Follow Josh Hafner on Twitter: @joshhafner