Recently, the City Paper offices were on the receiving end of a kind Canadian gesture. Our neighbor’s embassy had conducted a nationwide study to determine the economic benefits of trade with Canada, state-by-state and the results are laid out on a glossy, color-coded “Trade and Security Partnership Map.” Alabama ships up its auto parts, Florida its tomatoes, Virginia its coal, and Maryland “$89 million in books and pamphlets.” It’s odd, though, that the map was sent to us, considering that the benefits of relations with Canada are notably absent with regard to the District of Columbia. (We do get a sharp-looking blue star labeled “Washington.”)
Bernard Etzinger, a spokesperson for the Canadian embassy, says there’s a reason for the slight. “We can’t get good economic stats to measure the number of jobs created [in the District] by trade with Canada,” he says. But what about the most high-profile bilateral trade—the export of the Montreal Expos to Washington? Well, that isn’t officially characterized as a benefit or a loss for either country, Etzinger says.
“We were delighted they were able to find a good home,” he says. “Our old ambassador used to joke that he loved the team so much he followed them to Washington.” Unofficially, though, Etzinger is less enamored. “As a baseball fan, I have my personal opinions about whether that was right or wrong,” he says.