The cell phone buzzed and chirped.

The caller ID flashed a number and the word “Ontario.”

Ontario? I love Ontario. Thunder Bay is one of my favorite cities – don’t ask me why – but who exactly do I know in Ontario? I think that’s exactly one person.

My cousin. That must be it.

I hit “talk.”

Hello. This is the second notice that the warranty on your vehicle may be about to expire. If you wish to ...

I hit “end.”

OK, one, I got no first notice. Two, I own no cars currently under warranty. Three, they’re not supposed to junk call us on our precious, expensive cell phones, right?

Yeah, I know, there’s that persistent Internet hoax that they – probably the gubmint – are going to publish a “cell phone directory” and then it’s Katie bar the door because, I don’t know, we’d be able to use our phones to call each other. Horrors.

But someone got my number and gave it to a call center – probably two guys and a server – in or near Ontario, presumably beyond the reach of American no-call lists. What state’s attorney general wants to provoke an international incident over cheesy, low-yield cell-phone come-ons?

Look, I have a nice suit that was made in Canada. I once had a fine, heavy pool cue made in Canada. I love those little Canadian crackers with smoked salmon and cream cheese. In fact, Canada is my second-favorite country.

But there are things I want from Canada and things I don’t want. I want its cool air to flow over us in August, but it can keep that stuff in January. I like a couple of Canadian TV shows that cannot be found anywhere around here, but I think I’ll get over it.

I do not want junk calls from Canada. Or Mexico. Or Pago Pago.

I have worked for American newspapers for a long time, so I have no doubt contributed to the demise of many of Canada’s finest trees. You’re probably holding one in your hands right now. In fact, the last time I was in Thunder Bay, there were three highlights: a delightful dinner at a Finnish restaurant, a visit to a park full of flowers, and driving by the pulp mill and quietly saluting stacks of dead trees soon to be newsprint.

But did I give someone my cell phone number while I was there and say, “Hey, call me sometime just to pull my leg about a car warranty?” I did not.

I have been known to root for some Canadian teams in the National Hockey League playoffs under the righteous theory that no NHL franchise should be in a city that really doesn’t get snow, making the cut-off about St. Louis. So Anaheim or Nashville versus Montreal or Calgary is a pretty easy call. (No, I cannot bring myself to root for the Blues, no matter how hard the local cable company tries to jam that down our throats. They’re mediocre, and it’s St. Louis. Can’t do it.)

I like Canada’s hockey well enough, at least until the Olympics. But spare me the calls.

Yes, I can see that my own life is a microcosm of how we are bound to good neighbors. But really, did we sign the big trade agreement just so two guys and a server could make junk calls from far corners of the continent?