Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Most Albertans are not Rednecks

A great many myths arise from partisan politics, and one most recent is the attribution of 'redneck' to describe people from Alberta.

One satirist wrote recently: Alberta, also known as Saskatchewan's Iraq, is one of the largest oil and gas producing states in Jesus Land. God often conveniently places America's oil into friendly territory to give the US military a break from fighting for big oil in places like Iraq. Alberta is also the Canadian Red Neck Holy Land.

Alberta today is very much like Texas, except that it snows for a goodly portion of the year.... Alberta has secret plans to secede from Canada and form its own country, Redneckistan.

The Canadian Redneck Holy Land? How did this happen?

Perhaps it was with another partisan myth; 'Western Alienation', and the emergence of the Reform Party. This became one of their campaign slogans and helped to create the 'us' vs 'them' mentality that now defines Canadian politics. How sad.

Ironically, the Reform Party's priorities, were decentralizing and reducing the size, scope and cost of government. They were also the party of common sense and you couldn't help but like Preston Manning. He was a father figure, who may have embarrassed you in front of your friends, but who you wanted in your corner when you learned those friends did not have your best interests at heart.

The first Reform Party MP, Deborah Grey, was an amazing woman, who got into politics for all the right reasons. She was honest and trustworthy with an incredible work ethic. How would she have handled herself under Harper? She would never be like Rhona Ambrose, and allow herself to be silenced; unlike Helena Guergis, she was bright and quick-witted, and not at all spiteful like Cheryl Gallant. Grey got out before the party became so brutal, though they could sure use her today to get them back on track.

So what in the hell happened? How did this party attract the lunatic fringe and morph into a party of corruption, huge government, excessive spending and sanctimonious pre-judgement of 2/3 of the Canadian population?

I suppose in some ways, their early initiatives of cuts to social welfare, cultural support programs like bilingualism and multiculturalism, and opposition to Qu├ębec's demands for special status, made them a breeding ground for bigots, who now felt validated.

Their Evangelical base caused them to be feared by those of us who equated that with the anti-Christian Religious Right movement, and not just simply honest, clean living. In fact, the original Evangelical movement supported social programs. Evangelist Tommy Douglas gave us Medicare, and Evangelist Lester Pearson, the Peacekeepers.

They followed the prophet, Jesus of Nazareth, who stood for peace, love and helping your fellow man. This new so-called Religious Right movement is about guns, war and intolerance. It's about white supremacy and the annihilation of the Muslims. They follow doomsdayers like John Hagee and Charles McVety. It's no wonder we don't trust them.

However, as we shy away from this Party, we mistakenly believe that they represent all Albertans, and that is simply not the case. Yes, Alberta has always been a Conservative province, but much of that was based on centrist Conservative values. Things like fiscal responsibility and integrity in politics were what mattered. But that is not who the Conservative Party of Canada are today.

Now Alberta is on the verge of becoming known across Canada as the redneck province, so maybe it's time they chose a leader from outside the province, before they completely lose their integrity. According to the Globe and Mail:

Alberta leader fatigue is the federal Tories' next big test
Lawrence Martin
April 16, 2009

Over lunch the other day, a senior Conservative strategist from Calgary mentioned how his party was suffering from Alberta leader fatigue. There's no way, he said, the next Conservative leader can come from that province.

For two decades, he added, Alberta has had the run of the party. The Alberta-born Reform Party started driving the agenda in the late 1980s. Preston Manning was the leader of conservatives in the House of Commons after the 1993 election that saw the Tories reduced to two seats ....

1 comment:

  1. Love your rant. You're not Ron James are you?

    Every corner of Canada has it's unique culture. Alberta has been perhaps more influenced by Texas because of the oil and the American companies that swooped in to develop the industry.

    But we're all Canadian, eh?