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What is 'an Albertan', anyway?


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Eureka,

You seem to have interpreted my message as an attack on Ontario, where as I was trying to express in human terms the distance from the center, and lack of identification with the supposed “Canadian identity”. Confronted with the claim that many Canadians outside Ontario identify with their provinces rather than with Canada, and some reasons why that might be, your response seems to be anger and accusation. The poll I saw indicates that about half of Canadians outside Quebec and Ontario feel about the same as me (far more in Quebec, a bit fewer in Ontario.) Is it your view that we’re all just dense? Or would you agree that maybe there’s some reasons why people just don’t feel very connected to Canada?

Perhaps living in Ontario gives me a wider perspective and less incentive to believe the rantings of the local demagogues and parochial media outlets. The view of Ontario controlling the country politically is far from correct. From the Bennett government down to Chretien, Ontario never had a plurality of seats in Parliament. Indeed, there was some resentment in Ontario for most of that time over the lack of say in national affairs as Ontario played the "honest broker" to Confederation.

Ontario may not have a plurality of seats in the commons, but since the advent of the BQ, Ontario MPs have made up the bulk of the caucus of the ruling party…

2004: 75 of 135

2000: 100 of 172

1997: 101 of 155

1993: 98 of 177

…and prior to the BQ it appears that in most cases a party formed a government by winning Quebec and Ontario; the rest of the country being rather inconsequential. Ontarians really think they lack a say in national affairs? I guess that just reinforces the point of how much perception plays into this and how deep federalism’s image problem runs.

But even if Ontarians don’t feel the federal government represents them, it doesn’t challenge the statement that people in other provinces don’t feel the federal government represents them.

Media, too, has never been dominated by Ontario: at least since other provinces matured - a doubtful proposition in some cases. Conrad Black was a Quebecker: Asper is a Manitoban. Until these two came on the scene, newspapers had free reign and TV and Radio were regionally autonomous.

Regionally autonomous, of course. But do regionally autonomous newspapers and stations build this “national identity” we’re talking about? Or does it just encourage people to continue to identify with their region first and with the nation second?

Note that I didn’t say “Ontario owned” or “Ontario controlled.” I said “dominated.” And I think that’s quite obvious, for reasons of simple mathematics. That’s where the audience is, so that’s who the programming and reportage is designed to appeal to. For obvious reasons the national media outlets are headquartered in Toronto. For obvious reasons, when they want analysts and experts, they get people who live close-by. If I’m watching a western Canadian giving an opinion on a national broadcast, it’s almost certainly because the west has wound up on the losing side of some issue. (and if I’m watching an Atlantic Canadian giving an opinion on a national broadcast, it’s almost certainly because they’re talking about fish.)

The federal government requires Canadian networks to produce an amount of Canadian programming, supposedly to promote a national identity as well as promoting Canadian artists and producers. So how is that national identity coming along? A quick survey of my TV guide and my recollection of recent efforts turns up the following dramas and comedies:

-Toronto cops

-a Toronto newsroom drama

-Toronto lawyers

-Ottawa parliament hill staffers

-Toronto troubled teens

-small-town Saskatchewan

-a Vancouver coroner

-Toronto commuters

-a Toronto pop singer

Promoting a national identity? Or just producing programming aimed at the huge southern-Ontario audience? (Intriguing, though: of those shows, the small-town Saskatchewan one is the huge hit.)

In the many years that I spent away from Ontario; in Quebec, B.C., and Alberta, with shorter sojourns in a couple of others, I never experienced the distance from national affairs and news that you seem to find. Coverage was quite adequate unless one listened only to certain talk show hosts or confined one's reading to the Alberta Report or Le Devoir.

The coverage of national affairs is adequate. It is my connection to them that I find lacking. Other peoples’ representatives, arguing over other peoples’ issues. National stories I find compelling tend to be issues like the Sponsorship program… which while stimulating my interest in national affairs, do not make me feel closer to the federation. (Quite the opposite, really, when one considers the reasons behind the sponsorship program and the manner in which it became corrupted.)

And again, the media’s determination of what’s a national issue seems to be skewed. Sometimes snowfall in the GTA or a sensationalistic trial in the GTA are leading stories on the national evening news.

You have an odd perception of Canadian history as taught in schools. BTW, did you know that, unless there has been a recent change, it is taught in only four provinces. Of course it will be heavily slanted to the centre. Most of our history has been confined to there. Most of the rest of the country is too new to have much to contribute other than the explorations of men from the centre (some of those are not taught in quebec where the preference is to pretend that English had little part in the exploration and settlement of Canada).The history of the West in particular, has been until recently no more than an extension of the centre.

I reject that the west is just an extension of the center, for reasons I’ve already described at great lengths in this thread. This whole concept of Canada as “Quebec” and “the rest” … the “Two Founding Peoples”, is irrelevant out here and is dismissive of the fact of how much of the prairies was built by people like my ancestors who had nothing to do with “the center” and are neither French nor British in origin. Cabot, de Champlain, Wolfe, Montcalm, Plains of Abraham, Lord Elgin, Cartier, MacDonald, Charlottetown. Wonderful stuff, I’m sure… but again, nothing for me to connect with.

Your resentment of election night coverage I find interesting. I find it somewhat different. It is tiresome listening to the complaints of Westerners and the discussion of how it is playing out in Western Canada. That, too, is a straw man of the Western politicians.

Perhaps it’s a difference of perception, just as mystifying to me as your claim that Ontarians feel they don’t have a say in national affairs. I have not seen a great number of elections in my lifetime, but most election night analysis seems heavily focused on the Quebec aspects. Last summer’s election was a bit of an exception when BC provided a bit of drama as to whether Jack Layton might hold the balance of power. But even that was framed in terms of determining how much of a role the Bloc Quebecois would have in the new minority parliament.

You were not around during the flag debates, I believe. That "Red Blotch" was not Ontario's choice: not the choice of any that I know of. It was merely a compromise that, it was thought, would not offend too many. It did offend possibly the majority of Ontarians. However, the West was satisfied and French Quebec did not have the hated British symbols so it was imposed on Ontario which did not have the political clout proportionate to its weight, to reject the tree.

You’re right, I wasn’t around, not by a long-shot. I have read, however. I gather that the Maple Leaf was rammed through parliament by a coalition of Pearson’s (central Canada dominated) Liberal caucus and Quebec Progressive Conservatives. Diefenbaker’s western caucus were bitterly opposed, for whatever reason. Nowhere did I gather that acceptible to the West was a concern or even consideration; it appears to have been all about Quebec.

Which is somewhat beside the point. I don’t offer the flag as evidence of central Canada imposing its will on the whole country (although that appears to have been the case) but simply as an example of why people in the west might not identify with the supposed national identity.

The maple leaf as nature doesn’t appear west of the Great Lakes in any significant way.

The Maple Leaf as a symbol has historical significance only in Quebec and Ontario.

Either way, what about it is supposed to make me feel represented or attached to it?

Australia has a constellation which can be seen from everywhere in the country. Wales has a dragon which (I assume) is hard to find anywhere within their borders. Most countries have abstract designs representing broad themes that are important to their country. Us? We’ve got a plant that’s of significance only to a select group in a select portion of the country.

What has to be done to make Alberta feel a "partner in Confederation." Would making Ralph a king in fact as well as in his mind do it? Alberta has jurisdictional authority -as does every province - such as no regional government in the world has. It has exclusive ownership of its resources to the detriment of the national interest.

You cite provincial powers as a reason for Albertans to feel like partners in Confederation, yet you also blame these same provincial powers for regionalism. And sure, we’re equal with other provinces. But that doesn’t address the main issue we have been discussing: attachment to the whole of the country.

You have it right when you say:

I am not surprised at the various identificatios of the citizens of some provinces. (…) It is not unnatural to identify with a regional government when that government has authority over all those things that are close to a citizens' daily existence.

I agree with the point.

However, in the big picture, I doubt that a federal government with greatly expanded powers would be as responsive to local needs as a provincial government.

Supposing the provincial governments were completely disbanded, then who is accountable to me? A federal government that really doesn’t need a single vote from outside the Windsor-Ottawa-Montreal region to maintain a grip on power. Why would I expect a government like that would have at heart the interests of us way out in the hinterlands? What could you say to reassure me that it would?

Do you feel that concentrating more power in the hands of a government heavily represented by such a small geographic portion of the country would be to the benefit of us outsiders? Personally I highly doubt it; I think it could only serve to heighten dissatisfaction with the federal government.

I am in complete agreement with you that Canada, as a nation, has image problems in most of Canada - including Ontario. That is because it is not a nation in its governance: it is a country of disparate and aquabbling regions.

That image problem will not be remedied until that political clique that seeks to profit from discontent is buried for all time and Canada returns to nationhood. That means spreading the truth and removing from the provinces the authority over those national jurisdictions that the Constitution never intended them to have.

You keep saying “the Constitution never intended…” but I’m skeptical. In discussing provincial administration of resources, the exact same wording was used over and over again in Constitutional Acts from 1867 all the way until 1930. If it was an error they had 63 years to spot it; surely they had enough tries to get it right. Alberta and Saskatchewan weren’t even granted those powers at the time they became provinces; it didn’t happen for 25 years later. Again, surely they would not have added those powers in 1930 if it hadn’t been intended?

There is a difference between an error and a mistake. When you make an error, you say “oops.” When you make a mistake, you say “It seemed like a good idea at the time, but it didn’t turn out very well.” I doubt the wording in the Constitution was an error, but I can listen to the argument that it has proven to be a mistake.

As for removing powers from the provinces, or burying the demagogues, how do you propose to perform these Herculean feats?

-kimmy

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Not in my opinion. Alberta "bashing" comes in part from Klein's outbursts and attempts to weaken our Health Care system in Canada. The rest comes from Albertans who cry for separation. Like Quebeckers who whine to separate whenever they don't get their little butts kissed; Albertans who do the same are a hinderance to our becoming a strong viable country with an influence on the world stage. Like the little boys who own the bat and ball running home with his bat and ball whenever he doesn't get his own way. poor sports and whiners stop the rest from performing.

Please inform us, then, caesar, what Albertans are holding this country back from accomplishing. What energy is the federal government spending appeasing Albertans that could be spent elsewhere? Please expand on this, it sounds like you've got a lot to say.

-kimmy

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Please inform us, then, caesar, what Albertans are holding this country back from accomplishing. What energy is the federal government spending appeasing Albertans that could be spent elsewhere? Please expand on this, it sounds like you've got a lot to say.

And it sounds like you have nothing to say.

Why do the feds have to spend time or energy appeasing Albertans????? Klein does like to mouth off without thinking and then back out of his remarks but his swipes at our healthcare are the worst. The majority of Canadians do not want private healthcare like the USA style. An American girl without healthcare was in a car accident. They had to remove part of her skull to relieve the pressure on her brain. She was told they would replace the section of her skull when she had the money to pay for it. Normally this section of skull ( quite large) is not left off for more than 2 weeks as it could shrink. She was released from hospital without a large portion of her skull as she could not pay. Fortunately her mother put her on her health insurance and that company compassionately agreed to back date the coverage to pay her bills from the accident and allow her to have her skull section replaced.

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And it sounds like you have nothing to say.

oooh! Ouch! Zing!

Why do the feds have to spend time or energy appeasing Albertans?????

I didn't say the feds have to. You seem to be saying they are, however:

Albertans who do the same are a hinderance to our becoming a strong viable country with an influence on the world stage. Like the little boys who own the bat and ball running home with his bat and ball whenever he doesn't get his own way. poor sports and whiners stop the rest from performing.

I am simply challenging you to provide one example of how Albertans are a "hinderance" or "stopping the rest from performing".

And instead of an answer, you start talking about "US Style healthcare."

Klein does like to mouth off without thinking and then back out of his remarks but his swipes at our healthcare are the worst.  The majority of Canadians do not want private healthcare like the USA style.

This is a "straw man" argument. (ask eureka what that means.) Portraying any change to the delivery of healthcare in Canada as "US-style healthcare" is simple scaremongering. Portraying Klein as an advocate of "US-style healthcare" is simply not accurate.

Klein characterized the US health system as the most expensive in the world, and flatly says he has no intention of adopting it. Klein is interested in countries like France and Sweden where both public and private services co-exist very successfully.

Of course "France-style healthcare!" or "Sweden-style healthcare!" don't have the same scare-value, do they.

Thanks for contributing, caesar. Don't forget to shout "We want to be Proud Canadians, not USA butt kissers!" a few times before you go.

-kimmy

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Alberta has jurisdictional authority -as does every province - such as no regional government in the world has. It has exclusive ownership of its resources to the detriment of the national interest. It was financially supported by Central Canada until it was able to stand on its own feet. The rebellious child act does not cut it any longer: it needs to grow up.

So Alberta has ownership of resources.... you sure couldn't tell from Trudeau and his NEP policy. I would like to see any federal party treat Ontario or Quebec the same way.

I seem to recall a few months ago someone pointed out the statement was made "we made you... you owe us"

It was the US that made the investments at a critical time early on in oil development and we have been paying Ottawa ever since 61. In the dirty 30's there was help from the Maritimes but Alberta was just a low priority province to Ottawa.

Kimmy is right about how elections are a waste of time watching in the west except for the last election where Layton might end up being a king player from Vancouver support.

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there would still be only two provinces contributing to equalization. It has only to do with equalizing standards.

There is no cow and no milking and, for the rest of your "centralizing," only an egregious ignorance of every aspect of political life could be so duped.

I would like to see Canada try to maintain Trudeaus' social engineering project if Ontario was the only have province and picking up all the costs.

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Given Alberta and Canada both as political and geographic entities... I find that Alberta is the one that is more real to me, the one I more strongly identify with. The Canada I see in the national media doesn't really respond very closely to my day to day life; I don't identify with it that strongly at all.

Does that answer your question?

I'm afraid not. It merely rephrases the incomprehensible. What is there in the concept of "Albertan" to identify with? I don't see what you can distinguish as "Albertan" other than the coincidental inhabitation of a geographic area.

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As for not bashing Albertans, this site does just that.  Have you seen any site asking why anyone would be pround to be from Manitoba?  Or Ontario?

Horse-pucky. You don't see Manitobans or Ontarians braying such empty rostrums as to be "proud" of their geographic associations in the first place. You don't see it because appeals to meaningless, imaginary tribalism is not part of their attitude the way it seems to be for (some) Albertans.

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I don't see why "Proud to be an Albertan!" would be taken as a slight against other Canadians. Has anything in my writing given you reason to think that by "Proud to be an Albertan!" I mean "I'm better than you"?

Crap. Your tagline sets up that opposition quite cleary: proud to be Albertan, "moderately pleased" to be Canadian.

You express a clear preference for "Albertanism" and a sly disdain for Canadianism. What I find difficult to understand is how you can purport to place so much value on a mere administrative division of a larger something for which your feelings are so tepid.

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Or would you agree that maybe there’s some reasons why people just don’t feel very connected to Canada?

Oh sure, there are "reasons", but those reasons have little merit, are based on imagined (or carefully cultivated) resentments, ignore historical and political substance, and reflect an unwarranted parochial self-importance and self-satisfaction.

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I don't see why "Proud to be an Albertan!" would be taken as a slight against other Canadians. Has anything in my writing given you reason to think that by "Proud to be an Albertan!" I mean "I'm better than you"? 

Crap. Your tagline sets up that opposition quite cleary: proud to be Albertan, "moderately pleased" to be Canadian.

You express a clear preference for "Albertanism" and a sly disdain for Canadianism. What I find difficult to understand is how you can purport to place so much value on a mere administrative division of a larger something for which your feelings are so tepid.

TS, Canada itself is "a mere administrative division of a larger something" so I gather you find it difficult to understand anyone's pride in anything.

Taking pride in the success of others strikes me as eminently human. Is this what you find hard to understand?

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And btw, a general point of information: the provinces do not "own" the resources in their borders. The have administrative authority over them, under the Constitution of Canada.

Wrong, the people of alberta own the resources within the province. In fact, in 1930 all interests in natural resources were transfered from the fed to the provinces of AB. BC. SK. MB.

http://www.solon.org/Constitutions/Canada/...sh/ca_1930.html

The feds now try to control natural resources within the provinces using the environment as a guise and means to control. Even though the environment its self is a provincial matter. Constituting more lawless government.

We want nothing to do with the crackpot and corrupt ideas they sign onto at the cesspool of corruption known as the UN.

As far as albertans are concerned, the east needs to keep their federal government on a leash, like any vicious dog would be restrained.

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Wrong, the people of alberta own the resources within the province.
TS is technically correct. The Crown (presumably the Queen) owns the resources. The provincial governments administer the resources on their behalf. To wit:
the interest of the Crown in all Crown lands, mines, minerals (precious and base) and royalties derived therefrom within the Provinces, and all sums due or payable for such lands, mines, minerals or royalties, shall, from and after the coming into force of this agreement, and subject as therein otherwise provided, belong to the Province

This in fact was the case in the 1867 BNA Act and so the new western provinces were simply receiving the same treatment as the older provinces.

Note that oil was discovered in Ontario in the early 1860s and was exploited for sale to the US during the Civil War. At the time of Confederation, Protestant Upper Canada did not want to share this largesse with Catholic Lower Canada.

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The feds now try to control natural resources within the provinces using the environment as a guise and means to control. Even though the environment its self is a provincial matter. Constituting more lawless government.

The environment is not a Provincial matter. Your dirty air and practices do not stay within your province. Why should the rest of Canada and/or the world suffer for your money hungry irresponsibility towards an environment that extend to outside your jurisdiction.

.. These agreements have not been implemented in national or provincial law. Provincial and federal governments share jurisdiction over environmental issues. ...

www.evangelicalfellowship.ca/ social/issue_viewer.asp?Issue_Summary_ID=15 - 11k - Cached - Similar pages

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TS, Canada itself is "a mere administrative division of a larger something" so I gather you find it difficult to understand anyone's pride in anything.

Taking pride in the success of others strikes me as eminently human. Is this what you find hard to understand?

Being proud (for good reasons) of a collective entity such as Canada, or Quebec, or the Atlanta Braves or whatever, makes sense to me if there is some distinction particular to that collective.

As far as I have been able to detect, Alberta qua Alberta lacks such distinction, however strong the merits of individual Albertans may be.

To say one is more proud to be Albertan than Canadian is confounding to me because any merits Alberta may claim are equally integral to Canada as they are to Alberta.

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And btw, a general point of information: the provinces do not "own" the resources in their borders.  The have administrative authority over them, under the Constitution of Canada.

Wrong, the people of alberta own the resources within the province. In fact, in 1930 all interests in natural resources were transfered from the fed to the provinces of AB. BC. SK. MB.

http://www.solon.org/Constitutions/Canada/...sh/ca_1930.html

No, I am sorry, but ut is yu who is wrong. You'll find nothing anywhere that says the people of a province own the resources. What you fnd is that the provincil crowns have administrative authority over them. Look it up.

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And btw, a general point of information: the provinces do not "own" the resources in their borders.  The have administrative authority over them, under the Constitution of Canada.

Wrong, the people of alberta own the resources within the province. In fact, in 1930 all interests in natural resources were transfered from the fed to the provinces of AB. BC. SK. MB.

http://www.solon.org/Constitutions/Canada/...sh/ca_1930.html

No, I am sorry, but but is yu who is wrong. You'll find nothing anywhere that says the people of a province own the resources. What you find is that the provincil crowns have administrative authority over them. The act you cited, in particular says NOTHING AT ALL, like "ownwership" of the resources. All it did was equalize provincial jurisdictions. Look it up. If see anywhere anything granting ownership of resources let me know where, specifically.

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As for not bashing Albertans, this site does just that.  Have you seen any site asking why anyone would be pround to be from Manitoba?  Or Ontario?

Horse-pucky. You don't see Manitobans or Ontarians braying such empty rostrums as to be "proud" of their geographic associations in the first place. You don't see it because appeals to meaningless, imaginary tribalism is not part of their attitude the way it seems to be for (some) Albertans.

Horse pucky. I just googled "proud Manitobans" and "proud Ontarians" and got zillions of hits. Lots of braying out there about how proud they are that they come from (insert province here). Pages and pages of emotional tributes to prairies and mountains and fine fine people.

So, why this thread and not one entitled "Proud BC'er...Whats' all that about Anyway?".

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Results 1 - 10 of about 4,820 for proud newfoundlander. (0.11 seconds}

Results 1 - 10 of about 1,590 for proud prince edward islander. (0.06 seconds

Results 1 - 10 of about 5,130 for proud ontarian. (0.16 seconds)

Results 1 - 10 of about 23,600 for proud british columbian. (0.06 seconds)

Results 1 - 10 of about 37,300 for proud quebecois. (0.04 seconds)

Yes, I can see now how feeling pride in your geographic association is strictly an Alberta thing.

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Let's have some fun:

Google Hits

"Proud Albertan" 320

"Proud Newfoundlander" 611

"Proud Ontarian" 24

"Proud British Columbian" 71

"Proud Nova Scotian" 179

"fier d'être Québécois" 1010

"fier d'être Canadien" 700

Population

Alberta 3202000

Newfoundland 517000

Ontario 12393000

BC 4196000

NS 937000

Hits per 100000 population

Alberta 10.0

Newfoundland 118.2

Ontario 0.2

BC 1.7

NS 19.1

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