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What is 'an Albertan', anyway?


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I assume the other posters on this site have been too polite to point out how much of a pompous hypocrite and intolerant buffoon you really are.

It is against the site rules to attack a member. Rather it is intended that members attack arguments. I, for one, would appreciate it if you attacked only the argument not the person.

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Guest eureka

You have given me no out and I do not need one. I am quite interested in continuing the debate with any who wish to debate. I am not too concerned about your likely efforts since you would be the proverbial child who loses his candy.

You really are a card, Jerry. You burst onto the scene with a wild rant and expect to be taken seriously. You lie and present a mythology on the formation of nations and say you are presenting "facts."

You present the victims version of the NEP as fact while pretending that the reasons for the policy - which I have given - do not exist.

You came claiming that Alberta was not subsidized by the Central government from Eastern taxes at its incorporation as a province. You quote, apropos of nothing, sections of the Constitution but do not know that simple Constitutional reality.

You claim that Alberta was devastated by the neglect of the central government during the Depression - a particularly idiotic claim.

You toss around words like buffoon from the safety of wherever you are. And you insult intelligent people by saying they are too polite to join you in your name calling.

I do back up what I say but I do not cite some rabid separatist as authority. I also try to take people further into this in considering why diversity is not protected by or expressed through, too great political power and separation: why the diversity in a nation of shared values requires only limited powers to allow diversity to flourish.

But that is all quite beyond you, is it not. It requires intelligence and not simply the rote learned misinformation that you regurgitate.

You are a coward and a typical separatist "whiner." There is no substance to you at all. But, if you think you may be capable of absorbing something, then go back to lurking for a while and allow those who have something to say to do so.

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It is against the site rules to attack a member. Rather it is intended that members attack arguments. I, for one, would appreciate it if you attacked only the argument not the person.

eureka is not intersted in attacking the argument, therefore I speak to him on the only level he understands.

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You present the victims version of the NEP as fact while pretending that the reasons for the policy - which I have given - do not exist.

You have presented no facts, just opinion. It would be nice if you had any facts whatsoever to back up your ramblings.

You came claiming that Alberta was not subsidized by the Central government from Eastern taxes at its incorporation as a province.

Oh really?

Why don't you show me where I said this?

You quote, apropos of nothing, sections of the Constitution but do not know that simple Constitutional reality.

Ah, I see. There is some super secret hidden meaning to Section 92A and 109 that no one other than yourself seems to know.

Perhaps you could back up your contentions with some analysis from a credible source?

You claim that Alberta was devastated by the neglect of the central government during the Depression - a particularly idiotic claim.

Why don't you show me where I said this?

I do back up what I say

When? Where?

but I do not cite some rabid separatist as authority.

I see, you just listen to the voices in your head.

Why don't you show me this "rabid separatist " that you claim I am quoting.

Keep digging that hole eureka.

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I think I will let Tawaskasm respond to the Australian geographic issue. It seems to me that you did not use a map. There are several more major population centres in Canada than in Australia and they are almost all in a narrow band.

In Australia, the band would would be desert or tropical jungle; or around a coastline.

On isolation of population centers in Australia vs isolation of population centers in Canada...

I did indeed look at a map, and it's quite apparent that the bulk of Australia's population is not isolated at all. Australia's population is quite concentrated in comparison to Canada's, a high proportion of it being along the eastern coast, and in particularly the southeast coast between Brisbane and Melbourne.

I suggested a trip from Brisbane to Melbourne would be comparable to Winnipeg to Edmonton. I was a fair bit off; Brisbane to Melbourne would be 2020km; Winnipeg to Edmonton is only 1360km.

However, I'd point out that a trip from Newcastle to Melbourne is only 1120km, and would pass through 4 (Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Wollongong) of Australia's largest 10 cities and pass by over 8 million of Australia's 20 million people.

An equivalent trip in Western Canada might be Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, taking 1330km, passing through 3 of Canada's 10 largest cities, and passing through about 5 million of Canada's 32 million people... but coming nowhere near Canada's major population center.

If one wanted to make a longer trip in Canada, one could see capitals of all 4 western provinces by going through Victoria, Edmonton, Regina, and Winnipeg... 2541 kilometers. In Australia, one could travel an extra 2 hours-- 2740km, and visit 4 capitals (Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide) plus squeeze in the national capital Canberra en-route, passing by well over 10 million people in the trip, over half of Australia's populace.

But of course, this is somewhat apples and oranges. We're comparing Canada's remote west to Australia's densest region. Checking the maps again, I find that Perth, Australia's western capital, is about 3500km from the center of Australia's populous center. Coincidentally, this is about the same distance Edmonton is from Canada's populous center.

At any rate, I dispute the claim that Australia is either more diverse or more separated by distance than Canada's. And as I mentioned, Australia additionally has 2 factors going for it on the unity front that Canada simply doesn't.

-Australians do not have the divisive "French fact" to contend with.

-Australians might be isolated from each other, but they're far more isolated from everything else. Surrounded by a sea of Muslim nations who don't speak english, it goes without saying that the Aussies feel inclined to stick together.

-kimmy

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Donuts, beer, hockey, and road-trips are not, as far as I can tell, a basis for a national identity,

Just curious... what sorts of things would you consider a basis for a national identity?

Really, I think that any national identity would appear absurd if the elements comprising it were stated explicitly.

That's an interesting question, You Miss Trudeau.

Clipped from one of my posts to Eureka, here are some of my thoughts, and why I believe these things fail to do so in Canada's case.

-government? ongoing corruption issues, fractured on regional lines. Should be a uniting factor, but is actually a divisive factor.

-national identity? the 2 founding nations rhetoric that dominates substantive (ie, non-Tim Horton's) discussion of Canadian identity is a divisive issue, not a unifying one.

-language? we've got two of them, and the status of the languages in the areas of the country is a source of fiery divisive debate.

-culture? I'm not even sure we have a culture. (edit: and please don't mention deep-fried pastries or a leisure activity as a culture. The very notion. :rolleyes: )

-our Constitution? has been another divisive issue since 1982, and especially during the Meech Lake and Charlottetown accords. Not only is the Constitution not a unifying factor in Canada, but the only way Canada can remain unified is to Not Talk About It.

Feel welcome to comment.

-kimmy

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Well culture seems to mean alot of different things to alot of different people. It is difficult to debate without some accepted definition. I suggest everybody may wish to debate around this definition.

1. The totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought.

  2. These patterns, traits, and products considered as the expression of a particular period, class, community, or population: Edwardian culture; Japanese culture; the culture of poverty.

  3. These patterns, traits, and products considered with respect to a particular category, such as a field, subject, or mode of expression: religious culture in the Middle Ages; musical culture; oral culture.

  4. The predominating attitudes and behavior that characterize the functioning of a group or organization.

If only for the sake of simplicity.

Also in regards to the points on Australian geography. I think Kimmy is correct in concluding that that is not as important as other factors. I agree that Canada is more diverse. Australia does not include within its borders any subsect with a different official language and a distinct culture (notwithstanding Aboriginal people). Additionally, as both Kimmy and I have pointed out, Australia is the only nation on this continent. We are isolated from our neighbours. Although they aren't all muslim as Kimmy suggests - New Zealand is not to name one. Canada, on the other hand, shares an immediate border with a super power. From my perspective this greatly influences many Canadian issues and perpectives. I've seen many arguments about the 'threat' of US culture coming to dominate Canadian culture. I believe this view, of seeing other identities as a 'threat' to national identity and sovereignty is important. Which I will get into more in a few moments. It is also true that a very good portion of our population is spread along the east coast. I am unable to compare to Canada though since I have no real idea of population distributions there. I do know that Perth (my home) is considered to be the most isolated city in the world.

What interests me in this thread is that there seems to be almost a moral tone to much of the debate. There almost seems to be an argument that it is wrong to have an 'Albertan identity' because it takes away from the 'Canadian identity'. It is interesting to me that the one appears to threaten the other. This would imply to me that the Canadian identity is weak. This, I believe, is influencing the debate. It seems that a defence of national identity means denying Albertan identity. Consequently the debate does not seem to be centring around the concept of identity but rather around the apparent need for national cohesion. The one concept is hijacking the other.

Basically what I'm attempting to suggest is that if all the respondents debate the issue of identity for a time without reference to national cohesion there may be more insights gained.

And after that is done perhaps some follow up questions. Should debating the issue of a provincial identity even require a defence of national identity? What are the implications?

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Guest eureka

You express that well, Tawasakm. Unfortunately, it misses the difficulties.

It is not "identity" in those ways that need to be assessed: it is the values that are shared between the regions. That is not necessarily the same thing as culture but is , in itself, a subset of culture.

There can be an Albertan "identity" or an "identity" for the citizens of any other province. You would be hard pressed to find a descriptive for any, though. What is wrong, and dangerous, is that there is a growing sub-culture - politically - that is trying to create separate identities founded in separate political powers that have no relation to provincial needs.

There is a political element that wishes to make of Canada a defensive alliance and no more - a conception of federalism that died with the alliances of the Middle Ages. And it is the product of the corruption that has come with already too great powers and has allied itself to economic greed.

This has been the problem with Quebec for a long time and is now becoming so with Alberta though there, the vast majority of Albertans have only bought part of the message. The rising Quebec separatism is a function of the wrongful interpretations of the Constitution in the past century and a quarter.

Quebec does not have the power to legislate the English language out of existence as it has tried to do. The United Nations has agreed to that and has soundly criticized Canada for not intervening. However, the other provinces are also jealous of their new found jurisdictions and would not hear of disallowance of Quebec's laws. The reality is that English was the only official language in Quebec at one time. French was granted equal official status only at Confederation. Quebec is not, and never was, a bilingual province: it is a dual language society, constitutionally.

What I have been trying to propose here is that diversity, the supposed chief objective of federalism, can only thrive with limited regional powers. The great powers that Canadian Provinces have bring separation not unity through diversity. Potts was a little bit right in talking of the formation of nations in that it is what some would have for the Canadian Provinces - not diversity at all. Examples of that can be found in all modern federations. Only Canada is stifling diversity through the corruption of power.

Not to belabour the Australian/Canada comparison, but it is possible to drive past half the Canadian population on a 850 km. drive.

Canadians do have common values. They are being forced to deny them or to submerge them.

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Dear kimmy,

What is 'culture'? Is it defined by where and how you work the 9-5? or is it how you spend your leisure time? Or is it what you spend your disposable income on? Or what you fight to have your tax dollars directed towards?

Dear Fleabag,

I'm a 21 year old from Alberta. I'm sure that there could not be a less qualified person on the entire forum to define culture. I shall leave it to more Mature Residents of Civilized Regions to address your questions. I am sure that even at this moment, a team of Ottawa academics is hard at work trying to formulate a definition of culture that doesn't disprove Canada having such a thing.

-kimmy

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What interests me in this thread is that there seems to be almost a moral tone to much of the debate. There almost seems to be an argument that it is wrong to have an 'Albertan identity' because it takes away from the 'Canadian identity'. It is interesting to me that the one appears to threaten the other. This would imply to me that the Canadian identity is weak. This, I believe, is influencing the debate. It seems that a defence of national identity means denying Albertan identity. Consequently the debate does not seem to be centring around the concept of identity but rather around the apparent need for national cohesion. The one concept is hijacking the other.

This is a superb analysis of the discussion. I really appreciate your effort to provide an objective look at this. I really can't think of anything to add to it.

-kimmy

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What interests me in this thread is that there seems to be almost a moral tone to much of the debate. There almost seems to be an argument that it is wrong to have an 'Albertan identity' because it takes away from the 'Canadian identity'. It is interesting to me that the one appears to threaten the other.

Likely because that is precisely what an albertan identity has been designed to do.

It seems that a defence of national identity means denying Albertan identity.

Or at least denying an Albertan identity predicated on the supposed atrocities committed against it by the rest of Canada.

For my part, I find the idea of a national (or provincial) identity rather absurd to begin with, let alone the neat little lists that nations come up with to supposedly define those identities.

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Some very interesting points made here... Having spent less time around here lately, I'm heartened by the amount of substance in this thread.

If I may comment on some points...

Sweal:

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.

You go to right up to the point of recognizing the pointlessness of nationalism, but stop short at the provincial border. Let's go all the way, Sweal. I won't tell anyone.

I agree that these identities equate to meaningless, imaginary tribalism but I would include national identities of almost every sort.

Taking us almost all the way, Auguste points out that:

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

Good point.

And... just because something is meaningless and imaginary, it doesn't mean that it isn't important to us as human beings. We're biologically programmed to take pride in the success of the tribe, I suppose. I think this is what you meant here...

A bunch of quotes from Kimmy:

But most of all what got me about the message I've quoted was the phrase "meaningless, imaginary tribalism."

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

For the sake of argument, couldn't Canada be considered an artificial union?

I had hoped there might be some discussion of my suggestion that the issue is of fundamental human psychology, as people crave, seek out, and build, their own distinct identities.

However, when it comes to Canada, nobody seems willing or able to actually articulate what the majestic dream is actually supposed to be.

I agree that our current national identity is weak, and I actually don't think that national identity is necessary.

But...

If there is to be a national identity, wouldn't it make sense for somebody to articulate it ? Perhaps a political party might take a chance on something like this. It would require something a little more concrete than platitudes, though, I think. Something that articulates what we believe our rights and our responsibilities should be as Canadians.

Our latent tribalism is always there for politicians to tap into for their own gains, but some kind of agreed-upon idea of what it means to be Canadian might be a starting point. It would be something we could use as reference when considering policy, for example.

I know there's no point in trying to legislate an idea, or a concept of Canada but since we already have a document that describes the basis of our laws, couldn't someone present one that documents our goals ? Our hopes for the future ?

The Bay (HBC) has a mission statement:

"our management team has a vision for growth and is committed to bringing Canadians the products and services they want. "

Shouldn't Canada have one ?

Then what is a Canadian other than an Earthling who is being told he is Canadian? All borders are artificial.

I wouldn't expect anything less than the purest ideology from Hugo, and I agree with you.

I read in McLuhan that nations only really came into being after the printing press standardized national languages in Europe. Though the idea of nations seem very natural to us, it's really the tribe that is the elemental building block of human organization.

Being a proud ****ian seems to ring truest in individuals who see a long lineage of ancestors tying them to that spot. Is that really pride in where you live, or pride in your lineage ? If I move to Alberta tomorrow, can I be a proud Albertan too ?

National identities are, in my opinion, a deterrant to growth and human progress. These ideas are too easily exploited by politicians in order to manipulate people into accepting policies that are bad for the world as a whole.

Of course, we still have national governments and they still are ostensibly our representatives in working for the interest of the country as a whole, although less so.

If we're still going to have a country, we might as well put some kind of intelligent reason to it existing rather than relying on our bio-programmed pride in the clan.

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I Miss Trudeau

Likely because that is precisely what an albertan identity has been designed to do.

Do you really believe that everything that Albertans identify themselves to be is only to deny Canadian identity? Surely there is alot more to it then that. I will also note that your premise is one I often read in connection to Canada - that Canada is a part of the US and their identity is nothing but a denial of that. That premise holds no water for me when associated to either Canada or Alberta - although I admit I know alot less about each then those who are native.

Or at least denying an Albertan identity predicated on the supposed atrocities committed against it by the rest of Canada.

Is this a case of binocular vision? Are you focusing one part of the Albertan identity to the exclusion of the rest?

Michael Hardner,

You responded to the entire thread and didn't quote me! My oversized ego has been severely punctured and is bleeding arrogance all over my floor.

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Sweal:

You go to right up to the point of recognizing the pointlessness of nationalism, but stop short at the provincial border. Let's go all the way, Sweal. I won't tell anyone.

I agree that these identities equate to meaningless, imaginary tribalism but I would include national identities of almost every sort.

I won't go there with you, Michael. However, you comments have helped distill what I've been trying to get at, and I think I've got it pinned down now.

I think there are such things as warranted and unwarranted varieties of pride.

If we agree it is possible for people to hold an honest/reasonable recognition of the meritorious conduct of another, then it seems plausible that an individual might hold an honest/reasonable recognition of him or herself. Warranted pride in oneself, then, is plausible.

Further, an individual holding may hold warranted pride toward a group, provided (1) the merit is genuine, and (2) is properly identified with the proposed group.

To take kimmy as our specimen, she cites valid enough meritorious elements to justify pride in an individual: endurance, industriousness, etc. But I think there is a problem in claiming those merits as distinctively characteristic of an Alberta vs. a Canadian identity, because:

1) endurance and industry are characteristics Canada can claim justifiably as well as Alberta;

2) Canadian industry and endurance has contributed substantially to accumulating the material evidence cited for Albertan industry and endurance;

In short, the 'Albertan' identity-group cannot establish a distinctive claim to these acknowledged merits.

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What interests me in this thread is that there seems to be almost a moral tone to much of the debate. There almost seems to be an argument that it is wrong to have an 'Albertan identity' because it takes away from the 'Canadian identity'. It is interesting to me that the one appears to threaten the other. This would imply to me that the Canadian identity is weak. This, I believe, is influencing the debate. It seems that a defence of national identity means denying Albertan identity. Consequently the debate does not seem to be centring around the concept of identity but rather around the apparent need for national cohesion. The one concept is hijacking the other.

I think Tawasakm has summed up this debate quite nicely.

What it has degenerated to now is nit-picking about every finite detail of the Albertan identity.

The fact is it doesn't matter the lengths one goes to expound upon their affinity for their province, there is a group on this site who will attempt to deconstruct their beliefs.

There are reasons for this, mostly ideological. I don't think it's a coincidence that most of those who question the existence of "Albertans" are on the left side of the political spectrum. Alberta has consistently represented the right-wing bogeyman of the Canadian political community. The beliefs that are often attributed to the people of this province BY THE LEFT (you know, "right-wing, redneck, bible-thumper") are a threat to the socialist reconstructionists of Canada, who of course are none of the forementioned.

Nor do I think it's a coincidence that a great deal of these people are hyper-nationalistic Canadians whose tolerance extends only to those who parrot their own particular set of beliefs.

The fact that the liberal-socialist crowd has wrapped themselves in the Canadian flag and trumpet themselves as the defenders of "Canadian values", is what has really forced a great number of Albertans to develop an affinity with their province.

It's amazing how the critics of Alberta are able to define the province based on their own prejudices and pre-conceived notions, but scoff at the idea that Albertans may be able to draw a distinction between themselves and Canadians, and have nothing but scorn and derision for those who do.

Rather arrogant, myopic, small-minded and hypocritical, in my opinion.

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don't think it's a coincidence that most of those who question the existence of "Albertans" are on the left side of the political spectrum. Alberta has consistently represented the right-wing bogeyman of the Canadian political community. The beliefs that are often attributed to the people of this province BY THE LEFT (you know, "right-wing, redneck, bible-thumper") are a threat to the socialist reconstructionists of Canada, who of course are none of the forementioned.

This framing convieniently glosses over the "redneck" stereotype is the mere flip side of the "maverick, rugged indivdualist" identity some Albertans deploy to demonstrate their distinctness from the R.o.C.. Neither is the complete picture.

The fact that the liberal-socialist crowd has wrapped themselves in the Canadian flag and trumpet themselves as the defenders of "Canadian values", is what has really forced a great number of Albertans to develop an affinity with their province.

Nationalism of any stripe is the product of primitive sectarian tendencies and shouldn't be encouraged.

It's amazing how the critics of Alberta are able to define the province based on their own prejudices and pre-conceived notions, but scoff at the idea that Albertans may be able to draw a distinction between themselves and Canadians, and have nothing but scorn and derision for those who do.

By the same token, what of those Albertans that do not fit the "real" Albertan mold (there are thousands of us)? For example, I'm an Albertan. Born and raised here, a second generation son of the prairie soil. Yet, on this very forum, a poster felt free to denigrate my Albertan credentials by virtue of my political beliefs and geographic location, which says to me that there's people out there who equate "Albertan" with "conservative, rural/Calgary-dweller" and have nothing but scorn for those Albertans who don't fit their narrow bill. This whole fostering of the "Alberta vs. the East" mentality ignores the myriad differences in our own midst.

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This framing convieniently glosses over the "redneck" stereotype is the mere flip side of the "maverick, rugged indivdualist" identity some Albertans deploy to demonstrate their distinctness from the R.o.C.. Neither is the complete picture.

In this case, redneck is a catch-all that insinuates one is somehow culturally or morally inferior or degenerate. Redneck in this context is used to mean narrow-mindedness (on the flip-side "conservative"), lacking in intelligence ("Alberta did nothing to desrve their present prosperity") or flat-out intolerant ("bunch of redneck bible-thumpers want to ram religion down my throat.")

There are no doubt many who agree with the above on this site.

Nationalism of any stripe is the product of primitive sectarian tendencies and shouldn't be encouraged.

I think nationalism has it's place, but there has to be a national will for a nation to be born. Fabricating one doesn't make it valid.

By the same token, what of those Albertans that do not fit the "real" Albertan mold (there are thousands of us)? For example, I'm an Albertan. Born and raised here, a second generation son of the prairie soil. Yet, on this very forum, a poster felt free to denigrate my Albertan credentials by virtue of my political beliefs and geographic location, which says to me that there's people out there who equate "Albertan" with "conservative, rural/Calgary-dweller" and have nothing but scorn for those Albertans who don't fit their narrow bill. This whole fostering of the "Alberta vs. the East" mentality ignores the myriad differences in our own midst.

I can't argue with you here. You are correct that there are divisions among Albertans, never mind Canadians. I grew up in the south, and lived in Edmonton for a year. You never would have known we were in the same country, never mind province sometimes.

Too me it is just further proof that trying to fit all our communities under one umbrella is a grievous error.

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I think nationalism has it's place, but there has to be a national will for a nation to be born. Fabricating one doesn't make it valid.

Which is the case with Alberta and Canada as a whole: there's too much diversity of values, beliefs, backgrounds for a broad national identity to exist in any meaningful way.

Too me it is just further proof that trying to fit all our communities under one umbrella is a grievous error.

Actually, I think it's proof that trying to compartmentalize everybody into narrow silos based on such flimsy criterea as geographic location is futile. People need to think of themselves as part of a broader whole.

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In this case, redneck is a catch-all that insinuates one is somehow culturally or morally inferior or degenerate. Redneck in this context is used to mean narrow-mindedness (on the flip-side "conservative"), lacking in intelligence ("Alberta did nothing to desrve their present prosperity") or flat-out intolerant ("bunch of redneck bible-thumpers want to ram religion down my throat.")

There are no doubt many who agree with the above on this site.

Are they wrong to believe such things?

Obviously, they are wrong if they believe Albertan are a monolithic group.

But with that qualification, are they wrong to see the self-consciously 'proud Albertan's' as a paleolithic group?

Certainly there ARE rednecks in Alberta. And you can't deny that rednecks are narrowminded ... that's one of the defining characteristics!

And are you disputing that religious conservatives proliferate in Alberta, or that religious conservatives want to push their agenda on others? Either would be a hard case to make, I think.

  I grew up in the south, and lived in Edmonton for a year.  You never would have known we were in the same country, never mind province sometimes.

Pardon me if I point out that this certainly supports the idea that identifying an Albertan identity to take pride in is a bit difficult.

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