We are all real Albertans

Danielle Smith has decided to rant where she could reason.

Danielle Smith has decided to rant where she could reason.

She’s decided to draw a line in the sand, suggesting that anyone who doesn’t think the way she does is not truly an Albertan.

On one level, it’s just the nonsense that politicians spout in the heat of the battle. But it also smacks of the kind of intolerant and blinkered approach to political discourse that you are more likely to see south of the border. It’s mean-spirited scare-mongering.

Smith’s diatribe about Alison Redford, suggesting the premier isn’t fit to call herself an Albertan, is both offensive and more than a little disturbing, regardless of which party you support or where you fall on the political spectrum.

This isn’t about the premier, it’s about your perspective on progress and your willingness to compromise for the greater good.

“I think Ms. Redford doesn’t like Alberta all that much,” Smith said on Wednesday. “She doesn’t like who we are. She doesn’t like our character. She wants to change it.

“That is what people are going to have to ask in the next election: Do we need to be changed? Do we need Ms. Redford to change us? Do we have anything to be embarrassed about?”

It’s not about politics. It’s personal, and her words are damning enough to swipe across generations, socio-economic strata and sexes.

If you believe that change in Alberta is good and necessary, if you believe that evolution is part of the political and social process, then you apparently don’t belong in Smith’s Alberta.

She may not even like you much.

So much for progress. So much for honest debate. So much for inclusion.

No wonder so many people in other parts of the nation look at Alberta like we are a pouty, spoiled little rich kid, always wanting our own way.

Smith’s outburst taints us all, whether we like it or not.

So much for the notion that Alberta is no longer hellbent on alienating itself from the rest of Canada.

So much for the notion that politics isn’t just about polarization.

Just how dysfunctional would a minority government be, in the wake of the April 23 election, if Smith marched in with these particular spurs on?

For the record, I am an Albertan. I was born here, educated here, have roots in the agriculture and oil industries, lived in the province’s three largest cities. My parents were born here. My grandparents homesteaded here. My wife was born here. Her parents, too. My children were born here.

We are Albertans, and we aren’t interested in affecting the Alberta strut as fashioned by Smith. We are interested in progress, fueled by constant and honest evaluation of our province, both in its social and economic workings.

We aren’t interested in jamming our heads in the sand.

And we aren’t embarrassed about it.

What Alberta the Good is Smith shooting for? The uninspired, sluggish Socred rule of Harry Strom? That would not be helpful.

Surely the era of Peter Lougheed, in which aggressive change was seen as both good and necessary, doesn’t appeal to her either.

If she’s focusing in on the Ralph Klein era and his apparent mandate of de-evolution, Albertans should be shying away from her message in droves.

The latest polls show that Smith and the Wildrose Party have between 34 and 41 per cent of the popular support. If those numbers are anywhere near accurate, that still means that the overwhelming majority of Albertans aren’t interested in a stand-pat Alberta.

Let’s hope that an even greater number of Albertans are in favour of an election campaign that examines issues and solutions in a fulsome, fair and progressive fashion.

John Stewart is the Advocate’s managing editor.

Just Posted

Kinky campground turned down in Red Deer County

County’s municipal planning commission said campground didn’t meet regulations

City aims to improve transit efficiency

Citizen input survey is available until Aug. 6 on city’s website

Crops looking good halfway to harvest

Coming off a lousy 2018, farmers having a much better year

Adriana LaGrange tops Alberta ministers’ office costs in May

The costs accumulated by three central Alberta MLAs serving as cabinet ministers… Continue reading

Opinion: RCMP and military legal settlements ignore accountability

If you asked Canadians which institutions stand at the heart of our… Continue reading

Transat co-founder could make more than $17 million from sale to Air Canada

MONTREAL — Transat A.T. Inc. chief executive Jean-Marc Eustache stands to make… Continue reading

‘Joker’ and Fred Rogers drama among galas set for Toronto film festival

TORONTO — A standalone Joker film starring Joaquin Phoenix, a drama featuring… Continue reading

These mannequins aren’t for fashion. They’re for medical training

Lying on the table, surrounded by two nurses, a woman shrieks in… Continue reading

Lamoureux twins start foundation to help disadvantaged kids

BISMARCK, N.D. — Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson and Monique Lamoureux-Morando, stars of the United… Continue reading

Canadian swimmer Kylie Masse wins second gold at world aquatics championship

GWANGJU, Korea, Republic Of — Canadian swimmer Kylie Masse has defended her… Continue reading

Pitt, DiCaprio and Robbie reconcile a changing Hollywood

LOS ANGELES — Once upon a time, not too far from Hollywood,… Continue reading

Toronto-raised sexologist Shan Boodram on winning ‘The Game of Desire’

Toronto-raised sex educator Shan Boodram wants to bring a more “human approach”… Continue reading

Most Read