North American Math

The JEOPARDY! Final question for April 23, 2013 was: North America’s 3 mainland countries have a total of 91 states & provinces; Mexico has this many states.

You have 30 seconds.

I should note that only one of the contestants got this right.

Scores at the end of the Double Jeopardy! Round: Michael $21,800 , Laurel $22,400, Bill $8,700. But Michael and Laurel both bet big ($19,598 and $21,600, respectively), and guess incorrectly, while Bill bet it all, and got it right. (BTW, Michael’s bet was totally irrational.)

Alas, I also got it wrong, because even though the question clearly said provinces, I added the territories (Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut) to my Canadian count, which made it 13, rather than the 10 provinces. So the correct response was 91 -50 US states -10 Canadian provinces=31 Mexican states.

Rank-Name-Total area (km2)-Percentage of national total area

1 Nunavut 2,093,190 (21.0%)*
2 Quebec 1,542,056 (15.4%)
3 Northwest Territories 1,346,106 (13.5%)*
4 Ontario 1,076,395 (10.8%)
5 British Columbia 944,735 (9.5%)
6 Alberta 661,848 (6.6%)
7 Saskatchewan 651,036 (6.5%)
8 Manitoba 647,797 (6.5%)
9 Yukon 482,443 (4.8%)*
10 Newfoundland and Labrador 405,212 (4.1%)
11 New Brunswick 72,908 (0.7%)
12 Nova Scotia 55,284 (0.6%)
13 Prince Edward Island 5,660 (0.1%)
Total: Canada 9,984,670 (100.0%)

What I realized is that I was thinking like someone from the United States. The places called territories of the US are small, islands, most of which (Guam, e. g.) are very far away. Even the commonwealth of Puerto Rico is larger only than the states of Delaware and Rhode Island.

Whereas the three territories of Canada compromise nearly 40% of the land, and is attached to the provinces.

And “territory” means something else in Canadian parlance: “The major difference between a Canadian province and a territory is that provinces are jurisdictions that receive their power and authority directly from the Constitution Act, 1867, whereas territories derive their mandates and powers from the federal government. In modern Canadian constitutional theory, the provinces are considered to be co-sovereign divisions, and each province has its own “Crown” represented by the lieutenant-governor, whereas the territories are not sovereign, but simply parts of the federal realm, and have a commissioner.” I don’t EXACTLY know what that means, although it vaguely reminds me of Washington, DC, which has a mayor and local government, but no full member of Congress.

Anyway, Happy Canada Day, and here’s to the very crooked border between the US and Canada.

4 thoughts on “North American Math”

  1. Given 60 seconds, I could MAYBE come up with the Canadian provinces and territories, as I don’t know that number offhand, and then do the arithmetic for Mexico. But doubtful!

    (Wow, am I behind on my blog reading!)

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  2. I think that’s a very tough Jeopardy question. I took a semester-long class on Mexico and did not remember how many states there are. Nor could I recall how many territories vs. provinces Canada has.

    I was actually on Jeopardy, about six years ago now. I lost.

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  3. You are right Canada refers to its political boundaries as provinces per the constitution act of 1867 your teacher usage of the term state is wrong The major difference between a Canadian province and a territory is that provinces are jurisdictions that receive their power and authority directly from the Constitution Act, 1867, whereas territories derive their mandates and powers from the federal government. Similarly, in modern Canadian constitutional theory the provinces are considered to be co-sovereign divisions of the monarchy, and each province has its own “Crown” represented by the lieutenant-governor, whereas the territories are not sovereign and are simply parts of the federal realm, and have a commissioner. The ten provinces are Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, and Saskatchewan, while the three territories are Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Yukon.

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