Alberta, you magnificent douchebag

Share us!

Albertans woke up to some disturbing news on Sunday morning: other Canadians don’t really like us. They think we’re, smug, condescending and intolerant. This is according to a poll conducted in 2008, and released in 2009 that went unpublished until very recently.

From the Toronto Star:

It found 40 per cent of non-Albertan respondents felt Albertans didn’t care much about the rest of Canada. More than a quarter described Albertans as greedy and another quarter found them arrogant. A total of 42 per cent felt the statements Alberta “cares about the environment” and “is working to ease environmental impacts” carried little, if any, truth. While the words “confident,” “bold,” “generous,” and “prosperous” were associated with Albertans, so were “smug,” “condescending,” “uncaring” and “narrow.”

The article goes on to say that, yeah, actually, Albertans feel kinda like they’re perceived that way by the rest of Canada. And some people even in Alberta believe we actually are that way.

I wasn’t entirely surprised by this news. Nor was I terribly bothered about. When I realized how I was behaving, it occurred to me I was being smug. So I stopped that immediately (though not before I looked “smug” up, just to be sure I understood it, and the redneck in me wasn’t coming out).

As for condescending and intolerant… Honestly, is anyone shocked by this? We’re talking about Alberta, which as recently as the year 2000 amended its Marriage Act to make sure only members of the opposite sex could get married — and only really changing that in 2005 when the federal government essentially forced the province to change.

Intolerant? Yeah, I can see where that might come from.

And condescending? Hell yes, I can see that. Again, consider how the province has handled the environmental file: basically constantly insisting that everything’s fine and we can handle it, when evidence to the contrary keeps being placed in front of everyone.

But both of these examples are about the provincial government, not all the people of Alberta. And while you could argue that the government is a reflection of the people in a lot of ways, I would suggest that the schism caused by Bill 44 is a small (and admittedly anecdotal) example of the fact that the government isn’t always showing the Alberta we’d like them to — I know people who left the PC party as a result of this event as well as other issues.

Still, is this new/old report something we should be worried about? I think it probably is, a little. It means that each of us as individuals needs to do a better job of showing the rest of Canada that we aren’t just a bunch of slack-jawed, oilsands-exploiting, douchebaggy monsters. As mentioned in the article (though with poor examples provided), there’s much more to the people here than smug condescension and intolerance. But we can’t just state that, provide a few examples, and pat ourselves on the back (smugly!).

We need to prove it — to ourselves and the rest of Canada — by showing that we care deeply about our environment, that success and prosperity for Alberta means the same for the rest of Canada, and that we really don’t need to hang fake bull testicles from the hitches of our pick-up trucks.

Photo by Danny McL on Flickr

, , , , ,

10 Responses to “Alberta, you magnificent douchebag”

  1. Sarah
    March 19, 2012 at 1:54 pm #

    There’s a lot of great things about Alberta that don’t have a damn thing to do about synthetic bovine anatomy or oil sands! So much about the community in Edmonton defies labels such as “smug,” “condescending,” “uncaring” and “narrow.”

    But you’re right – it’s time we prove it! Great post. 🙂

    • Adam Rozenhart
      March 19, 2012 at 1:56 pm #

      Thanks for the comment Sarah. I agree with you, my Alberta is certainly different from the one many Canadians perceive. But we can’t just say it. We have to show it!

  2. Steve Kubien
    March 19, 2012 at 2:20 pm #

    Off the top I feel it is only right to mention that a), I am from Ontario, b), a suburb of Toronto no less!!!, and c), I have never even flown over Alberta, nevermind visited any part of it. So, what are my thoughts on Alberta?

    Thanks for the beef. Seriously, I’m a pretty dedicated carnivore so I’m really happy you folks know something about raising cows and cutting them up. I’m also VERY happy you guys like to share this with the rest of us. Let’s have a BBQ. You bring the steaks, we’ll bring the beer and salads. 🙂

    Intolerant? This may be true, though I don’t think so. Ok, the Christian right is strong in Alberta. We know this. I consider that to be a merely pimple on the ass of humanity; easily dealt with if we could just reach it. That aside, I believe Alberta to be quite tolerant. After all, you have more Canadians moving there than any other province. You must be a rather welcoming lot, unless you are luring them there with the promise of jobs and that all-beef hotdog I have for lunch wasn’t actually beef. Got any fava beans and a nice Chianti? 😉

    Despite all of this, I have two major issues with Alberta. #1, the tarsands. Seriously guys, shut this disaster down before it is too late. Think of all of the energy you could export across Canada if you simply turned all those spill waters into wind and solar farms. You don’t need to destroy the groundwater or the Boreal forest. What you need are some hippies. Call your neighbour to the west. They might have a few to spare.

    #2, you gave us The Great Canadian Jackass. Stephen Harper is the worst thing to happen to Canada since we didn’t shoot and kill George Washington in 1812. Please, for the sake of all that is pure and beautiful, take Stephen Harper back and keep him. Bury him in bitumen or one of the spill waters.

    Do this and we might forget how annoying those bloody hats of your are.

    • Adam Rozenhart
      March 19, 2012 at 2:29 pm #

      Thanks for the comment, Steve. I would love to have a national BBQ — love Ontario beers!

      I worry that people perceive Albertans as “welcoming” as a means to fueling our economy and not sharing with the rest of Canada. Having said that, yes there’s opportunity to work here for everyone in the country. I, personally, would love it if that meant more people stuck around and helped to make this province even more diverse than it already is.

      On behalf of other centrist and left-leaning Albertans, I’m sorry about Harper. Just convince your eastern brethren to stop voting for him and we can all move on.

      I’ll let my Calgary pals know about the hat problem — that’s not really an Edmonton (where I’m from) thing. 😉

  3. Tanis Miller
    March 19, 2012 at 3:41 pm #

    Well drat. Now I am going to have to put my fake plastic bull testicles off my truck and hang them in the garage.

    Great read Adam. Even if you did just kill my balls.

    • Adam Rozenhart
      March 19, 2012 at 3:49 pm #

      Tanis, you’re the kind of righteous gal who would have REAL bull testicles that you acquired yourself!

      Glad you enjoyed reading!

  4. Bort Christopheson
    March 20, 2012 at 7:07 am #

    Oh Alberta, they are a pretty interesting bunch. Not many other places in the world where their trucks have a higher IQ than the driver. Thanks dirty oil money.

  5. numindan
    March 20, 2012 at 10:11 am #

    I’ve lived all over the country before landing in Edmonton and this is what I’ve learned…

    Maritimer’s are as friendly as they’re made out to be. Hopeful but sometimes bitter about political decisions that impact their lives. Sometimes I think we try to hard. **Caveat: I’m from the Maritimes**

    Ontario is very much an “us vs them” world and it’s not just limited to people from outside of the province. Hubs is from southern Ontario and when we lived in sections of the province we encountered a lot of “you’re not like us” attitude. It’s a tad disconcerting speaking to relatives who can’t understand that not all of the country is the same as the large Southern Ontario cities. Hell, there are parts of their own province that are often dismissed ;(

    “Friendly Manitoba” is a lot like the Maritimes. Only, not so friendly. The nicest people we met there were Maritime transplants. Weird.

    Albertans are genuinely nice people. Perhaps it’s because there are so many transplants here from other locales. I spent 2 years in the province before I’d met someone born and bred here.

    Having lived all over the country, I have to admin we were a little shocked to realized that we CHOOSE to retire here. There is ample opportunity to become involved in community activism, arts, sports, and general cameraderie. I’m sure those things exist in other parts of the country, but Alberta is the first place that’s felt like “home” to us in a long time.

    • Adam Rozenhart
      March 20, 2012 at 10:28 am #

      I’ve noticed a lot of transplants in Alberta too… And I love it! I love the diversity of views, I love learning about different places from different people.

      I’ve admittedly only really been in K-W, Toronto and Ottawa in Ontario, and I really didn’t feel that negative vibe — but again, I was mostly hanging out with former Albertans.

  6. numindan
    March 20, 2012 at 5:35 pm #

    Re: our experiences in Ontario

    It’s very likely our experiences had much to do with time and place. When we lived there it was long before the recent outpouring of support for military members. At the time people went out of their way to ensure we knew they were embarrassed by our military and didn’t believe hubs job was worth while. Those experiences have definitely coloured our opinions of the province.