In 1988, in the midst of the often acrimonious debates about the North American Free Trade Agreement, a button began to appear on Canadian lapels. It featured a section of the Stars and Stripes with a red maple leaf in the place of one star, and a caption read, “No, eh.” Through this image, the anti-free-trade side offered parodic resistance to what it saw as the assimilation—not to say wholesale economic engulfing—of Canada by the United States. Typically self-deprecatory, Canadian humor demanded that the rejection be couched in a gentle mocking of the national verbal tic: eh? is the terser but less elegant Canadian version of the French n'est-ce pas? and the German nicht wahr? In some ways the intellectual equivalent of NAFTA, the MLA is much older than the economic institution and somewhat less controversial. Nevertheless, it too is not unproblematic for Canadians, and to see why and how, one needs to understand something of the political and cultural relations between a very small and a very large nation when they adjoin.