POLITICS

Tony Abbott, Australian PM, Mocked After 'Canadia' Gaffe

06/09/2014 11:06 EDT | Updated 06/16/2017 01:07 EDT

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott is facing ridicule after he kicked off his official visit to Canada with a small verbal slip.

At a press conference in Ottawa Sunday, Abbott was asked to weigh in on Prime Minister Stephen Harper's condemnation of Russian President Vladimir Putin in light of the Ukraine crisis. Harper called Putin an "extreme nationalist" and "imperialist" who is threatening global peace.

Abbott said Harper's comments were both forthright and fair.

"I think that they're perfectly appropriate remarks for the Canadian prime minister to make. Canadia… Canada, probably has more involvement in the affairs of Europe than Australia often does."

And there you have it. "Canadia."

While Abbott corrected himself right away, it wasn't enough to save him from the Twittersphere. In no time, "Canadia" began trending in Australia.

The Australian PM was also accused of nodding off during D-Day commemorations in France last week, which might explain why he's taking so much heat over this little gaffe.

Abbott, who has been described as Harper's protégé, said Sunday he hopes to get pointers from the prime minister on fiscal management and whittling down the deficit during his two-day visit.

Abbott called Harper a "beacon" to conservative leaders around the world.

"I have regarded Stephen Harper as an exemplar of a contemporary, centre-right prime minister," he said.

With a file from The Canadian Press