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Saturday, July 20 2024 @ 07:25 MDT

Canada Day Thoughts

Alberta PoliticsI type this from my hotel room as I am on vacation. One of the reasons I like the hotel in which I'm staying (other than the jacuzzi tub in the room) is that I get a free newspaper in the morning. In this morning's Globe and Mail is a story on the annual Dominion Institute's Canadian History Quiz. Sadly to say, as a country, we suck at our history.

That's not a big surprise to me. As a nation we spend much of our time discounting our history. Add to this, most people are first exposed to our nation's history during Junior High/Middle School, when most people couldn't care less about history (as a side note, here in Alberta most of the Canadian History occurs in grade 8, which after teaching that grade I've come to the conclusion if anyone learns anything in that grade, it's purely accidental).

What did surprise me was how few Albertans remember the National Energy Policy. According to the Globe and Mail less than 15% of Albertans knew the answer to the NEP question on the quiz (though where the G&M got this number I'm not sure, the Dominion Institute put the number at 21%). Either way that's way less than half the people in the province. This means that Alberta has entered a phase that the Palestinians/Israelis or the various peoples of the Balkans have been in for decades/centuries. What these people all have in common is that they hate someone else, but no longer remember the original reason why.

The Liberals have rarely done well in Alberta, but the NEP was their undoing in the province. People in Alberta hated the Liberals for the policy. This hate lives on, but now apparently, no one remembers why. People in Alberta just hate Liberals, period. They can't remember why anymore. Sure if you ask you'll get answers like, “they take too much of my money in taxes” or “they spend too much money”, but this is true of any level of government, and the current Federal Liberals have actually lowered taxes in the past few years (something the previous Conservative government failed to do). In fact, there's not much difference between the federal Liberals in government and the Ralph Klein Tories in Edmonton. Albertans now hate the Liberals with a passion, they just don't know why.

This means that Albertans are, at least when it comes to anti-Liberal feelings, being bigots. Their hatred of people is no longer based on something logical. It's like hating someone because they have blue eyes, or dark skin. The people who hate based on these physical attributes can probably give reasons, none of them rational and the same is true of Albertans and the Liberals now. Before the hatred was logical, the NEP did have a negative effect on the province (not as much as the general global recession that hit at the same time, but that is another fact conveniently forgotten by Albertans). But now, since Albertans don't seem to remember the NEP, the hatred has moved into the sphere of hating someone because their eyes are blue, they just hate because it is what they have always done.

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Canada Day Thoughts
Authored by: Anonymous onSaturday, July 02 2005 @ 09:23 MDT
As far as the NEP goes, you have to remember that the people who would remember its impact the most sharply are now in their mid-late forties and older.

Alberta's a young province in population, and we've had a huge amount of immigration in the last decade. The NEP didn't really mean anything to people in Ontario for example.

I'd love to see the age distribution of respondents that got that question right.

- Grog