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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A commercial building, housing two businesses, in Stettler was completed destroyed by a fire Thursday. (Photo courtesy Stettler Regional Fire Department)
Fire destroys commercial building in Stettler

A commercial building just outside of Stettler was destroyed by a fire… Continue reading

Almost half of Alberta's population should have at least one shot by the end of May said Premier Jason Kenney Monday morning.
Alberta poised for economic ‘renaissance’ after pandemic, says premier

Economic recovery is Alberta’s “next big challenge,” says the province’s premier. “It’s… Continue reading

Red Deer has a new welcome sign at the south end at the new entrance from Hwy 2. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)
Red Deer ranks 241st on MacLean’s Best Communities list

The list features 415 Canadian communities

Dr. Wayne John Edwards, 66, died Tuesday at Chinook Regional Hospital. (Cornerstone Funeral Home)
Lethbridge doctor becomes 7th Alberta health-care worker to die from COVID-19

Dr. Wayne John Edwards, who was 66, died Tuesday at the Chinook Regional Hospital in the southern Alberta city

A FedEx worker loads the 255,600 doses of the Moderna COVID‑19 vaccine which came from Europe into a freezer trailer to be transported during the COVID-19 pandemic at Pearson International Airport in Toronto on Wednesday, March 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canada’s incoming supply of Moderna vaccine slashed in half through end of April

Procurement Minister Anita Anand says Canada’s incoming vaccine supply from Moderna will… Continue reading

Red Deer Public Schools will not pilot the new draft curriculum at its elementary schools. (File photo contributed by Red Deer Public Schools)
UPDATED: Red Deer Public Schools says no to piloting new curriculum

Alberta Teachers’ Association support school boards

Have an opinion you'd like to share? Submit letters to the editor through our website, via email or the postal service. (Heather Colpitts/Black Press Media)
Letter: MLAs who are against tougher restrictions have no plan for consequences

The group of UCP MLAs pushing to end lockdowns are exacerbating what… Continue reading

Former Parti Quebecois leader Andre Boisclair leaves the police station after being charged with two counts of sexual assault dating back to 2014, Friday, May 29, 2020, in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Preliminary inquiry in September for ex-PQ leader Boisclair charged with sex assault

MONTREAL — Former Parti Quebecois leader Andre Boisclair will have a preliminary… Continue reading

Three vials of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine are pictured in a new coronavirus, COVID-19, vaccination center at the Velodrome-Stadium in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Michael Sohn, pool
Trudeau sending help to Ontario as Pfizer vaccine supply bolstered by 8 million doses

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says more doses of COVID-19 vaccines are coming… Continue reading

Teachers demonstrate outside a school during a morning walk out in Longueuil, Que., Wednesday, April 14, 2021. Around 73,000 Quebec teachers say they will walk off the job for several hours on April 27. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
73,000 Quebec teachers plan to walk off the job for more than two hours April 27

MONTREAL — Around 73,000 Quebec teachers say they will walk off the… Continue reading

People line up in the rain for a COVID-19 vaccine at a pop-up clinic at the Masjid Darus Salaam in the Thorncliffe Park neighbourhood in Toronto on Sunday, April 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ontario science advisers urge six-week stay-home order as province pleads for help

TORONTO — Ontario’s science advisers called for a six-week stay-at-home order and… Continue reading

Dr. Wayne John Edwards, 66, died Tuesday at Chinook Regional Hospital. (Cornerstone Funeral Home)
Lethbridge doctor becomes 7th Alberta health-care worker to die from COVID-19

Dr. Wayne John Edwards, who was 66, died Tuesday at the Chinook Regional Hospital in the southern Alberta city

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney updates media on measures taken to help with COVID-19, in Edmonton on Friday, March 20, 2020. Alberta is set to join three other provinces in exploring the feasibility of small modular reactors as a clean energy option. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Students in Alberta town ready to return to school after quarantining

ATHABASCA, Alta. — A superintendent of schools in northern Alberta says the… Continue reading

Britain’s Prince Charles, with Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, visits the gardens of Marlborough House, London, Thursday April 15, 2021, to look at the flowers and messages left by members of the public outside Buckingham Palace, following the death of Prince Philip. (Jeremy Selwyn/Pool via AP)
Princes William, Harry won’t walk side-by-side at funeral

LONDON — Prince William and Prince Harry won’t walk side-by-side Saturday as… Continue reading

Most Read