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What is 'an Albertan', anyway?


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I must say that  don't grasp why you feel it would be useful for me to enumerate who and what ought to be proud of things.

I'm more interested in the idea of identity than pride, Sweal; that seems to be where the source of our disagreement is.

What, to your way of thinking, makes "Canadian" and "Quebecer" identities? Why doesn't "Albertan" cut it, in your view?

eureka now mentions that the people of Yorkshire county in England have intense pride as an identity within England; it's a miniscule piece of land by Canadian standards, there's no geological isolation worth mentioning, they're all of common stock, and they've been English for centuries upon centuries... so why would there be a Yorkshire identity at all? Why would there be pride of county, as eureka testifies to? Surely there is more to this business of identity than you're acknowledging.

Let me try to clarify my point a little  better, taking you as the example.  You are an Albertan and a Canadian.  Alberta is a province of Canada.  You express a divergent level of pride as between the two.  I merely wonder at the rationale for this divergence.

I'm lots of things... Albertan, Canadian, high-school graduate, one-time elementary school spelling-bee winner, fair-haired person, licenced motor vehicle operator, and many others. And while they're all part of who I am to some degree, they're not of equal importance to what I feel when I think about who I am.

Believe it or not I do take some pride in being Canadian; for all its flaws it's still a much better country than most. If I was called upon or needed to serve Canada in some way I'd certainly do so, as a proud Albertan should. Caring for the health of the whole organism is the most important thing for the liver and spleen and kidneys alike.

So, I look at your reasons, and I wonder these things:  are you unaware that many other parts of Canada were settled by diverse groups?  do you not realize that the whole country was empty and remote when people settled here?  are you unware that your ancestors got there by building on the very same accomplishments of many who came before them? 

Of course people in other parts of Canada can take pride in the same kinds of things. But what's my connection to them? What's their connection to me? Only that all of us exist within a larger administrative district called Canada. As you mentioned earlier, an administrative district is a pretty lousy basis for an identity.

Also, I don't understand why time of arrival is prideworthy.

Not prideworthy, but further to the point of identity. What is there for me to connect with in fighting the Americans in 1812, for instance; that was long before any of my ancestors ever set foot in North America. Likewise; why would residents of Newfoundland or La Belle Province take any pride in the settlement of northern Alberta; aside from contributing tax dollars to the fledgling province, they had nothing to do with it and I doubt it's of any personal consequence to them.

As a nation, Canada doesn't really have a whole lot of common history to bind us together. A lot of what perhaps older Canada views as "our history" is to me not the basis of an identity that I feel part of. It's the history of an administrative district, which later expanded to encompass the land on which I reside.

But I also don't understand how you can take something prideworthy about Alberta away from the country it is part of.  The good things about Alberta equally  accrue to Canada's credit.

See above.

... Silly me; I'm sure that anybody would have known you meant to say 'nostrum'. Can't imagine what I was thinking.

That's such complete sullshit.

<_<

Seriously, it never occured to me that you meant "nostrum". I had only the foggiest recollection of nostrum being a word; until this thread I had probably only heard it used in "Mare Nostrum". "Rostrum", on the other hand, I've encountered just this winter in the neuroanatomy course I'm attending: the rostrum is an area of the corpus callosum, named for a visual resemblence to a beak. (rostrum- latin: beak.) "Empty rostrums" ... "empty beaks"? Shut your beak? "Empty mouthings"? It sounds almost like it makes sense. Intrigued, I researched further. A rostrum is also a pulpit or dais: the ancient Romans decorated speaking platforms with the rostrums (prows or beaks) of captured enemy warships. "Empty rostrums" ... empty beaks? empty pulpits? I assumed you meant rostrum to mean something that would come from a pulpit-- "empty rostrums" ... "empty preachings". As typos go, it's an interesting one.

Always interested in learning new things, I turn my attention to "nostrum". From Mare Nostrum-- "Our Sea", I'd have assumed nostrum to be used in a sense of possessiveness... "empty nostrums" -- empty claims of ownership? ...or in the sense of "nos" -- "we"? "Empty nostrums" ...empty sense of belonging? But a quick check of the dictionary indicates that in current usage a "nostrum" is a home remedy or quack medicine. I gather that quack medicine is closer to what you intended?

I actually kind of liked "rostrums" better. :)

-kimmy

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In England, there is a an intenxe competiition and pride of county in certain things. Yorkshire women abroad and close to giving birth, would often return home to Yorkshire just in case the offspring was a boy who would be a talented cricketer. He had to be born in Yorkshire to play for his county.

Yet, in the nearly two years that I lived there, I never heard a Yorkshireman who was not English first and foremost. That would also be true of other counties. Their peoples would be bemused more than I am by what happens here.

Well, to borrow a page from Sweal's book, I must first ask what makes "Yorkshireman" an identity? Isn't he just an Englishman? Why does he think he's any different from somebody from Manchester? Are there rostrums involved? Why would these people take pride in being from Yorkshire?

Not that I have any doubt that what you say is true; I'm certain that it is: I'm just interested in your opinion of *why* there's a Yorkshire identity.

And of course they view themselves as English most of all. They have centuries upon centuries of common history and they're geographically close. They've got great national institutions like the Royal Family, military conquest, and football riots to build this sense of a collective whole. How could they not feel a tremendous sense of nationhood?

We in Canada... don't have those things going for us to nearly the same extent. Our collective history is decades old and contains little to inspire the heart. We're spread across geographical distances so vast that most Canadians have little opportunity to experience other parts of the country. And our national institutions often seem to do more to divide us than unite us.

-kimmy

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It would take a lot of English history and culture study to deal with that, Kimmy.

Suffice it to say that, there was as great a divide between regions of England as in Canada and, possibly, no more intercourse and travel by the "common folk" between the regions until the twentieth century.

Yet, English people have always been English first. That is common in mankind where local "administrative units" build up their myths in identity as opposed to another unit.

Canada seems to be an exception in that it is fragmenting into smaller units still. And that, I believe, is a consequence of our misguided jurisdictional divisions that enable those like Klein to primp and preen and parade their nostrums on jerry built rostrums.

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In England, there is a an intenxe competiition and pride of county in certain things. Yorkshire women abroad and close to giving birth, would often return home to Yorkshire just in case the offspring was a boy who would be a talented cricketer. He had to be born in Yorkshire to play for his county.

Yes the spirit of cricket is alive and well in Australia so I do understand what you are talking about. I don't think non-cricket nations really get 'it'. The most truely cricket mad nation, however, is not England or Australia - its India.

As an addedum perhaps I can draw the attention of TS back to this thread.

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I'm more interested in the idea of identity than pride, Sweal; that seems to be where the source of our disagreement is.

What, to your way of thinking, makes "Canadian" and "Quebecer" identities? Why doesn't "Albertan" cut it, in your view?

That is an easy one to answer. If Alberta starts voting left then TS will say Alberta qualifies to be on the list ;)

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Canada seems to be an exception in that it is fragmenting into smaller units still. And that, I believe, is a consequence of our misguided jurisdictional divisions that enable those like Klein to primp and preen and parade their nostrums on jerry built rostrums.

Canada's an exception? Looking around the world, I see the opposite... Czecheslovakia is now Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Yugoslavia used to be one nation, now it's ... several. The Soviet Union used to be one nation, now it's a score of them. I've read that Wales has within the past few years been given its own National Assembly; more people speak Welsh today than did 50 years ago. I don't see Canada being an exception to what happens in other countries where diverse regions have been united out of convenience.

That all Canada's regional friction is due to "demogogues" like Klein is another thing I doubt. Regionalism in Canada goes back further than Klein, the NEP, Rene Levesque, or any other convenient scapegoat that might be offered up. Nor, I believe, does resource revenue and division of powers play as large a role as you wish to believe. Before Alberta was the richest province, Alberta was the poorest; there was still intense resentment and mistrust of "the East"... particularly eastern politicians and eastern bankers.

Consider the recent conflict between Newfoundland and the federal government for a fresher example. I have read in Toronto newspapers the opinion that Williams was grandstanding to improve his political support at home. That might be true in part, but why does this work? Imagine how it would have played out had their been no provinces at all. Suppose this person "Williams" is not premier but just a local "demogogue." Think his message will still resonate with the people in his region? It sure will. There's still a "we" and a "they". Here's Danny's new speech:

"They" have closed "our" fisheries and put "us" out of work; now "we" have the resources off "our" shores to create prosperity in "our" region and build a future for "our" kids, but instead of investing that money in "our" communities, "they", them darned federal politicians, are taking all that money to Ottawa to put it into general revenues to squander on the vote-rich region between Windsor and Montreal.

No provinces, yet still a "we" and a "they". It's unavoidable in a country like Canada where there's such vast distances and such a huge disparity in political representation. People outside the center will always suspect that the federal government is focused on the vote-rich triangle. Leaving aside the other factors, regionalism in Canada is still an unavoidable consequence of simple geographic and demographic factors.

-kimmy

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Kimmy!

What I was saying is that the jurisdictional tendency around the world is to centralise while in Canada we are moving in the opposite direction. Some of the examples you cite are of artificial unions that have split into more centralized units.

Canada is the only nation that I know of that does not have health and welfare and education controlled by the central government. Canada cannot even send representatives to international conferences on education because it is not within the jurisdiction of the federal government. None of the regions you think of have even a fraction of the powers of the Canadian Provinces.

Wales has hardly the powers that cities have in in most of the world. And I have intimate knowledge of Welsh affairs - it does not have any power over the language of use.

If the central government in Canada had the powers it should have, and was intended to have by Confederation, then there would be no need for the kind of equalization program we have. The areas that equalization is meant to equalize would be federally administered. They are this in even the most decentralized federations. Switzerland is somewhat decentralized in that way, but, even there, there is a joint responsibility and federal support.

Canada's troublesand decline as a national entity, began in 1889 when the Lords of the Privy Council made its first ruling to overthrow the decision of the SCC and enhance provincial power at the expense of federal. For the next forty some years that continued. This was the "Ship of State" interpretation of the Constitution as opposed to the "Living Tree" that I think Terrible Sweal brought up somewhere.

Canada is held together now by certain reserve powers of the federal government that only Trudeau has had the courage to exercise to a degree (the NEP being an example) and the spending power.

Canada was greatly endangered by the Mulroney cuts to transfers and the following Martin cuts. These put provinces further into the position of being the major providers of almost everything. The current mantra of "fiscal imbalance" is nothing more than a further attempt at a power grab by the provinces.

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Canada is held together now by certain reserve powers of the federal government that only Trudeau has had the courage to exercise to a degree (the NEP being an example) and the spending power.

Trudeau failed because the NEP mainly affected only one province, Alberta. The benefits were mainly felt by Quebec and it pissed a lot of people off.

Geographically, Canada is huge compared to many of the other countries around the world. We have basically 5 very distinct regions that revolve around very different ways of making money. The current central government focusses mainly on Ontario and Quebec when it comes to fiscal dealings. A lot of the other laws enacted also favour these 2 provinces. If the federal government was to have better regional representation, then we might hear a lot more people say they are a "proud Canadian".

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Kimmy!

(you're trying to get people to start saying "Eureka!", aren't you :) )

What I was saying is that the jurisdictional tendency around the world is to centralise while in Canada we are moving in the opposite direction. Some of the examples you cite are of artificial unions that have split into more centralized units.

For the sake of argument, couldn't Canada be considered an artificial union? After all, 2 of the 10 provinces (PEI and BC) joined the union expressly because they needed cash... it doesn't get much more artificial than that, does it? Is the acquisition of Quebec during a long-ago military conquest not also a somewhat artificial union? I have read the contention that among the prime motivating factors for confederation was the fear of American military aggression... a union more out of necessity or fear than anything positive. And later in your message, which I won't quote in its entirety, you say that Canada is held together only by the residual powers, which only Trudeau had the stones to use... does that not also sound like a somewhat artificial basis for a nation?

I do not necessarily claim that Canada IS an artificial union... but I ask: if it's not artificial, then what is it that makes it "real"? Aside from a shared need for cash, a shared fear of US aggression, and a rickety constitution, what are these common threads that are supposed to bind us together? I have never really heard a satisfactory answer to that question; even the most avid nationalists tend to start talking about social programs, hockey, natural spaces, and beer.

Wales has hardly the powers that cities have in in most of the world. And I have intimate knowledge of Welsh affairs - it does not have any power over the language of use.

My knowledge of Wales is not strong, I don't know what powers their new national assembly has. However, I think it is noteworthy that they now have a national assembly, after 700+ years of direct rule from England. And I think it is noteworthy that after the near abandonment of Cymraeg during the 20th century, 20% of Welsh can now speak it.

Just as with Yorkshire, I think it is evidence that people not only find local distinctions important, they actually desire them, they crave a unique identity. Again, sorry to keep repeating myself, I think there is much more to this than yourself and The Sweal wish to acknowledge. I think that while you two focus on legalism, the real issue is fundamental human psychology.

(constitutional talk)

And again, I contend that even without any provincial government at all, regionalism and resentment of the federal government's central power-base will exist; there will still be a "we" and a "they". See my previous message for details.

-kimmy

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Canada is held together now by certain reserve powers of the federal government that only Trudeau has had the courage to exercise to a degree (the NEP being an example) and the spending power.

Trudeau would never have the 'courage' to try pulling an NEP type policy in Ontario or Quebec. It is all a numbers game when it comes to getting elected.

Do I loose 100 Ontario seats by bringing in high oil prices or do I loose 25 Alberta pushing the NEP on them. You don't need to be a rocket scientist to figure that one out.

As August mentioned how would OAW react if they were obligated to sell their services at 25% less then before or how would Quebec react if they were told they must sell hydro at less then world price.

I can just see the liberals getting a larger majority then martin was predicting before the scandal hit the liberals. :blink:

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Trudeau was a much stronger thinker and intellect than that. He never worried about the votes. He did what was best and fair for Canada. Albertans are peppered with former Americans who are attempting to Americanize Canada. We like our own version of a country. The majority of Canadians do not wish our country to be a carbon copy of the USA with alls its warts and lack of compassion.

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Trudeau was a much stronger thinker and intellect than that.
Gimme a break.
Watching a stunned Trudeau – and his equally stunned entourage – coping with this new and bitter reality, I said live on air: "Trudeau has gone from philosopher king to Mackenzie King in less than three hours." The line got a big laugh from Lloyd Robertson, our anchor man.

Larry Zolf

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Albertans are peppered with former Americans who are attempting to Americanize Canada.

Hmmmmmmmmmm, I have lived in Alberta most of my life and haven't come across too many Yanks living here. The ones I do know are pretty well Canucks aside from the fact that they have an accent. A lot of non-Alberta born people I know are from BC, the Maritimes and Ontario. The majority of them just want to make a decent living and not lose the majority of their earnigs to taxes.

I met a lot more Americans living in Canada when I lived in BC. They seemed to like the weather more than in Alberta.

The majority of Albertans I know come from all sorts of backgrounds. The one thing linking most of them that are over 40 is that they scratched an income from the dirt, didn't take any crap from anyone and weren't scared to take a chance. They don't like someone several thousand miles away telling them how their hard earned money (taxes) are going to be spent.

Trudeau was a much stronger thinker and intellect than that. He never worried about the votes.

That is a bunch of hooey as far as I am concerned. Trudeau was an arrogant ass who only did things that he felt was his vision of Canada, not what the populace wanted. Trudeau was a good talker, he knew how to orate in a way to impress people. Yeah, he didn't take any crap from anyone but the NEP was not a very well thought out program. It was a way to buy eastern votes, thats all.

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Trudeau was an Internationalist who had no time for petty nationalisms.

He was forced to become a Nationalist because of the smaller minds that were omnipresent in Canada and the strains on the national fabric they were creating. The NEP was a part of this and he was not terribly successful at unifying the country inother ways.

I think it was, in part, because he never could understand the thinking of his Lilliputian opponents in Quebec and Alberta. Lougheed was hardly of an intellect to broaden his vision and Levesque was a nasty little man consumed with hatred since childhood, for all things English. Sorry about that, August, but I had many dealings with Levesque and Levesquism.

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Kimmy, you may say Eureka one day and become a proud Canadian contributing to the enormous potential of a united Canada.

I will get back to you about your last post soon. I am just popping in for a short stay to keep the educational processes going on a few threads.

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Kimmy, you may say Eureka one day and become a proud Canadian contributing to the enormous potential of a united Canada.

You know what, eureka? It really doesn't matter. People will go on about their business contributing to the potential of the country regardless of whether they're an avid nationalist, an avid separatist, in between, or indifferent. People will work for their own betterment; that's how the country's potential is realized, and it will make no difference to the country's well being whether my signiture says "Proud to be an Albertan" or "Proud to be a Canadian."

I will get back to you about your last post soon. I am just popping in for a short stay to keep the educational processes going on a few threads.

I'll be watching for it.

-kimmy

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Lougheed was hardly of an intellect to broaden his vision

Lougheed was one of the few premiers to stand up to Trudeau and eventually win. Lougheed could not be bought and he stood his ground.

Face it, Canada is much too diversified culturally, ethnically and geographycally to fit neatly into a cute little perfect bottle. Lets accept that fact and then lets find ways of dealing with it. I took my oath to become a Canadian citizen and am a very proud Canadian firstly, I am a proud Albertan secondly.

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Trudeau was a much stronger thinker and intellect than that. He never worried about the votes.

Trudeau was an idealist. If he ever thought of a policy to attack Ontario or Quebec his advisors would be quick to tell him to return to earth because he will be sitting in opposition for the rest of his life.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Trudeau was a good talker, he knew how to orate in a way to impress people.

True... so did Hitler....

By the way, how much has bilingualism cost us? Can you imagine where we could be if Trudeau had not simply thrown out the many billions on his multilingual idiocy and his conversion of measurement systems. We sure as hell would be somewhere better than we are...

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