Canada: The land of freedom and opportunity for more than thirty-three million people and growing. With ten provinces and three territories, and boasting almost 8,000 kilometers from Vancouver, BC, to St. John’s, Newfoundland, we are lucky to live in such a vast and wonderful country. Each province within this great land is made up of unique populations, resources, and occupations. Though Canada is vast and limitless, our nationality unites us.
However, for decades, the West, specifically Alberta, has been plagued with feelings of abandonment or mistreatment by other provinces, political leaders et al. Both the Liberal and New Democrat parties have perpetuated this segregation and alienation, especially more recently, with attacks against Alberta and its resources by leaders and prospective leaders of both parties. Though Alberta is one of the most successful and generous provinces in Canada, there is a general consensus, in provinces like Ontario and Quebec, that it is filled with gun-toting, oil-bathing farmers – the Texas of the North.
What people fail to remember about Alberta is that is has a long history of being progressive and housing innovative thinkers that have contributed to the province becoming so successful. Alberta has pioneered Canadian wind power development, has one of the preeminent public school systems in North America, is the birthplace of some of the leading original feminist thinkers of the 20th century, and has a long, proud history of immigration and multiculturalism.
And, while people may incorrectly think that that Alberta has a history of homogenous voting patterns one issue and one party, it is important to remember that Alberta is also the birthplace of many political parties and ideals. Preston Manning once remarked that, “there is something in the ‘juices’ of Western Canadians that gives them the predilection for launching and supporting populist-style, leader-centric political movements.” Manning was correct, as influential groups like the Progressive Party of Canada, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, Social Credit Party and the Reform Party were all created in Western Canada. Though the “right” was eventually reunited, Alberta has remained a significant political region.
Furthermore, the Alberta oil sands are also misunderstood — not only by many Canadians, but internationally as well. Alberta’s oil sands are a growing contributor to the world oil supply and a stable energy source for domestic and international markets. The second largest in the world, the oil sands are lowering the environmental impact as a result of new technologies and their development contributes about one-tenth of 1% of global emissions. The oil sands have quickly become one of Canada’s most vibrant job creators, benefitting people from British Columbia to the Atlantic Provinces. They assist all regions of Canada and economically challenged countries worldwide.
As Canadians, we should take pride in all provinces, as each area positively contributes to the unique make-up of Canada. It is crucial that, as citizens of our country, we are knowledgeable about Canada’s landscape. This knowledge will enable us to accurately debunk the myths and ignorance surrounding various Canadian issues starting with those about Canada’s ‘Wild West’.