A petition doing rounds on Change.org titled "Sell Montana to Canada for $1 Trillion to eliminate the national debt" has gone viral on Reddit, and made US and Canadian local and national news.
Accumulating over 12,600 of its 15,000 hoped-for signatures, the cheeky petition complains that "We have too much debt and Montana is useless," quipping "Just tell [the Canadians] it has beavers or something."
Montana, known as the 'Big Sky Country' state, is the fourth-largest state in the Union, but also one of its least populous, with just over one million residents spread across its the 380,800 square kilometre (147,040 square mile) land area. Known for its ranching and wheat farming, the state is also rich in oil, gas, coal, and lumber.
The petition was taken somewhat seriously by some, with Montana's Great Falls Tribune newspaper penning a piece dubbed "Montana Legislature: How about we DON'T sell Montana to Canada for $1 trillion." The piece reported on a tongue-in-cheek proposal by the state legislature to draft a resolution to oppose the state's sale to the Canadians. The proposal was approved.
The campaign was met with interesting commentary in Change.org's comments section. "This Montanan totally supports the idea," a user named Michelle wrote. "I'm Montanan and hoping to join Canada without the moving costs. Let's do this. Please adopt us," another top rated comment by user CJ Williams noted. "Honestly most Montanans are totally ok with this; let's do it; I'm fine with being out of this hellhole," a user named Jonah added.
"I'm Canadian and making Canada bigger is cool," a user named Edgar chimed in.
Ian Hammond, the person behind the mock petition, said he was "surprised that so many people have 'backed'" his "cause," adding that "all in all this is pretty epic."
Naturally, the story also spread to Twitter, with users throwing in their two cents (US or CAD) regarding the question.
I personally like Montana, but if this petition gets 15,000 signatures we are legally obligated to sell Montana to Canada. It's all described in the U.S. Constitution, near the back, right after the Federal Reserve Act. https://t.co/jKblKmb7rm pic.twitter.com/e06mQhuARI— Rudolf E. Havenstein Remembers (@RudyHavenstein) 21 февраля 2019 г.
Why Montana? I would prefer to have the Turks and Caicos join Canada. Just think — January in Montana or January in the Turks and Caicos?— Subush (@wahope18) 21 февраля 2019 г.
— We are $22 trillion in debt— 🇺🇸The_Jim_Tom🇺🇸 (@TheJim_Tom) 20 февраля 2019 г.
— Plan to sell MT for $1 trillion
— Currently running $1 trillion deficits
— Debt would remain at $22 trillion for 1 year before increasing to 23T.
Conclusion: This would not even come close to helping with the debt.
let's just sell them the blue parts instead pic.twitter.com/ZiPNNwpMZ4— Jacob Kiser (@jkiser__) 20 февраля 2019 г.
10's of people will be displaced!— ariantibbs (@ariantibbs) 20 февраля 2019 г.
Some even took a conspiratorial tone, suggesting the campaign was all just part of a Russian conspiracy.
More division being sewn by Russian trolls. Don’t take bait.— Mike Robinette (@Vault081) 21 февраля 2019 г.
Last week, US national debt officially surpassed the $22 trillion mark, despite President Trump's campaign promise to pay down the debt over an eight-year period. The debt began growing dramatically in the mid-1970s amid a global oil crunch and the economic malaise plaguing the US, rising under President Reagan due to surging military spending, and falling in the second half of the '90s under President Clinton due to the post-Cold War boom, and rising again under Presidents Bush and Obama thanks to multiple wars in the Middle East and the 2008 housing market collapse.