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In the Running for a New Trade Deal

An Alternate Reality News Story

by GIDEON GINRACHMANJINJa-VITUS, Alternate Reality News Service Economics Writer

There is a tradition in Canadian politics that when a Finance Minister introduces a budget, he buys a new pair of shoes. Nobody knows why. Are the old bits of footwear gifted to a homeless person to regift to their stomach because that is all the help they can expect from the government? Is it as a sop to the shoe industry because that is all the help they can expect from the government? Are Finance Ministers just tougher on footwear than the general population?

A new possible explanation has to be considered: that the Finance Minister needs new shoes to run away from the North Vesampuccerian Free Trade Agreement (NVFTA – pronounced EnVy Ftah in honour of the Egyptian God of quality footwear) faster than his Vesampuccerian counterpart.

As part of his “Make Vesampucceri Great Again” campaign, now President Ronald McDruhitmumpf vowed to tear up any trade agreement that wasn’t fair to the country (which, apparently, was any trade agreement that had the words “free,” “trade," or “agreement” in the title). One of his first acts as President was to pull the United States of Vesampucceri out of negotiations for the Toilet Paper Pact, a massive Asian trade deal that was obviously not worth the paper it wasn’t printed on. Now, NVFTA is in his crosshairs (which is probably not a reference to angry head fuzz, although it might explain the colour of — naah, nothing could explain that!).

“The North Vesampuiccerian Free Trade Agreement is the worst trade agreement that we have ever entered,” the President has said. “Absolutely the worst. The worst. The. Worst. Those greedy Canadian bastards fummoxed us. Completely rookered us. In other words, they cheated. Now, Vesampuccerian workers — United States, I mean, not North — are out of jobs because of it. Well, no more! We will renegotiate the trade agreement, and if it isn’t a better deal for Vesamp — us — if it isn’t a better deal for us, I am prepared to walk away from it!”

The crowd cheered. Actually, it was a recording of a crowd because he was talking into the mirror as he shaved the morning before he gave the speech, but it had the same effect.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Tymeerutiendoh cheerfully responded, “Well, gee, any trade agreement could be improved on, I guess. I welcome this opportunity to strengthen some of the weaker aspects of NVFTA. But, I gotta tell ya, if Canada is expected to make all of the concessions, we’re prepared — with regrets — to walk away from the bargaining table.”

“The Canadians said what?!” President McDruhitmumpf roared into his mirror, nicking himself as he shaved. “Listen, they can’t walk away from the bargaining table if we’re walking away from the bargaining table! If it looks like they’re gonna walk away, we’ll walk away first! That may not have been what we intended when we started using the slogan ‘Vesampucceri first,’ but it is now. Who says I’m not flexible?”

“With all due respect to the President of the United States,” Prime Minister Tymeerutiendoh countered, “if we are greatly disadvantaged by the talks, we will have no choice but to reluctantly walk away from them ourselves. That would mean — and, I’m sorry, but there’s no other way to put this — we could walk away from the negotiations first.”

“Well...well...well,” President McDruhitmumpf sputtered, ignoring a small sluice of blood that was making its way down his chin, “if we don’t like the way negotiations are going, we’ll walk from them away faster than the Canadians!”

“Oh, I don’t know,” Prime Minister Tymeerutiendoh politely insisted. “I mean, I hate to contradict such an esteemed world leader, but anybody who has seen a Canadian lunge for the last waffle with maple syrup on the plate would know that we can move pretty quickly when we’re properly motivated.”

“Run,” President McDruhitmumpf darkly stated. “If we’re getting cheated in another bad, bad deal, we will run away from the NVFTA negotiations! Run as fast as we can! Run faster than any...Canadians!” (The “mere” was implied.) The crowd recording cheered loudly enough to put a crack in the mirror in which the president was ignoring the blood dribble off his chin.

“Oh, this is so much ridiculous posturing,” assessed token smart person Amy Sheshutshotshitbam as she tried to find a comfortable position in her hospital bed. “I can’t speak for the Canadian Prime Minister — although he looks dreamy on magazine covers, doesn’t he? His boyish grin...and the fact that he is hardly ever depicted giving the Nasty salute — but I feel pretty confident that the President has never read a word of the trade agreement.”

President McDruhitmumpf could have rejoindered the token smart person, sharply answering her allegation, but he was too busy gazing lovingly at his image in the mirror as blood dripped into the sink and the crowd recording cheered him on.

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