Wednesday, July 27, 2005 

What To Do With Too Much Of A Good Thing

If the Alberta Advantage continues unabated, the Highway 2 Corridor will explode. Is anybody giving any thought to the consequences of this kind of urbanisation?

How will Alberta's policies and culture be formed when the farms are all piecemealed and gridlock on the roadways becomes our defining characteristic?

Alberta is emerging from adolescence. We must start thinking about 'real life' out from under the care of the Mother(land).

Sunday, July 24, 2005 

In Search of Leaders

Who will provide leadership for an Alberta leading or leaving Canada? Which voices will rise above the bitterness to offer concrete suggestions? Many people speak of their dissatisfaction with Alberta's place in Confederation, but who has a realistic plan for change? Is it not time for Albertan's to think seriously about who will provide the leadership they need now and will demand later? Where is such leadership to be found?

Westerners have repeatedly turned to the federal Opposition for leadership. There are many authentic and able leaders among the Conservatives, yet they are unable to exercise their abilities in real policy-making. Since Ontario and Quebec will never permit a Western-based party to remain in power for any length of time (one term maximum), the leadership from the West must sit as window-dressing around the facade of a non-democracy.

Albertans may look to the provincial PC party for leadership. Certainly, if the 'firewall agenda' is implemented then some concrete progress will be achieved through a traditional rubric. But what if the PC's in Alberta (with some exceptions) morph into fully Red Tories? Can Albertan's expect the momentous changes in Confederation that they hope for? Albertans should not be fooled into thinking that future regimes of Tories in this province will not be tempted by pools of money at their disposal. The allure of 'maintaining power' can tempt Albertan politicians as well as those in Ottawa.

There are other places to look to for leadership. The discussions raised by The Western Standard are helpful in establishing the necessary infrastructure for a Free Alberta. The regular contributions there build on the Report magazine's influence. Having a high quality media outlet that addresses the flashpoints of dissatisfaction keeps the Albertan consensus informed and engaged. This type of leadership nurtures the pre-requisites for vibrant democracy.

Still, there is a need in Alberta for an Institute or Reseach Center that would examine potential scenarios in the process of Alberta leading or leaving Canada. Such an Institute may examine:
1) Implications of the 'firewall agenda'
2) Beyond Firewalls: Can we cut all ties to Ottawa? If so, then how? Suggestions and Implications.
3) Democratic Structures: What model could be set up that transitions from an Alberta in Confederation to an Alberta outside of it.
4) Foundational Principles Codified: What type of Constitutional document should be made?
5) What are the foundational Albertan principles and values?

Albertans should be thinking about where their leaders will come from and how they can be prepared. There is no time to lose. Now is the time for leaders to be trained. Their day may come soon enough.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005 

Worldview Clash at the Calgary Stampede

Last Saturday, Albertanicus visited the Calgary Stampede. Staying for the Grandstand show, he was curious to see how this year's theme would be developed---the theme being Alberta's Centennial. As the show continued, it became quite evident that few of the things which have made Alberta distinct and prosperous were mentioned, let alone celebrated. Instead the show was dominated by Circe de Soleil (sp?) style contortionists, New Age mysticism, and too many men in body suits.
The abilities of these performers could not be doubted. But what did these things have to do with a Centennial celebration? It seemed like a bait-and-switch. Advertise 'heritage' to the rodeo crowd, then substitute an avant-garde, transexual fantasy.

It lead Albertanicus to ask whether the arts in Alberta must succumb to the worldviews of other regions by default? Can Alberta sustain a worldview that is distinct, in order to produce artistic works of its own?

The Calgary Stampede Grandstand Show was a small, but vivid example of the cultural tensions which are pressing Albertans in unnoticed ways.


Unrest in the Colonies

Does Alberta have a different strategy prepared for when "the West Wants In" is greeted by "Life Doesn't Exist West of Missisauga"?

For all of the exports of common sense which the Motherland has recieved from the West (Cf. Preston Manning through to Stephen Harper), little has changed.All of those Albertans who believe that things will change in the next election have a hope founded on the thinnest of realities.

The simple fact is that Ontarians (for the most part) will continue to vote for centrist parties that are primarily governed by, and cater to, Ontario.As such, Ontario votes for the front-runner, just so long as the front-runner has an agenda of Ontario first.

A sustained government which upholds the regional colonies' concerns on a par with Ontario's will be quickly penalized by Ontario voters. Should we blame them? Maybe not. But we should definitely not rely on them.

Remember, Colonists are not allowed to govern the Motherland. This is the default setting of Central Canadian voters. It is also the principled bias of the cultured despisers looking over the ramparts of Fort York. The Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, and the MotherCorp will crank up their pamphleteering campaigns to engender fear of a Colonist takeover in the Motherland.

Let us not be surprised when the Motherland rebuffs our attempts to seat ourselves at their big table.

Monday, July 18, 2005 

Renaissance and Reformation in Alberta

Is there an Albertan culture? And if so, what is it? What are the profitable elements of this culture, and what of the destructive? (I do not subscribe to view that all cultures and cultural elements are equally 'valid').

Federalism in Canada has foundered years ago in its attempts to engineer a Canadian culture from the top down.

Are there those in Alberta who will do the 'heavy lifting' of creative leadership in all aspects of society? Currently, Alberta excels at economic ingenuity. This is the bulk of the Alberta Advantage. Yet dependence upon the Motherland has allowed us to be lazy in many other areas of life. Do people expect that a separated (or refederated) Alberta will be able to replace these dependencies ex nihilo (out of nothing)?

Alberta is changing with each passing month. New people arrive. New businesses are started. New jobs are assumed. But along with these new arrivals, many problems arise. If there is no cohesive and practical thought about Alberta's virtues, goals, taboos, and protocols, then many competing agendas will fill that void.

The governing party in Alberta is to be commended for their past convictions regarding short term pain for long term gain in the realm of fiscal responsibility. Albertans are enjoying those benefits today. It is now time for new initiative and leadership to be exercised in neglected areas.

One of the problems with the separatist movement in Alberta has been its short-sightedness. All the separatists can see is being free of Ottawa's leash. But what of this freedom. If there is no preparation, then Alberta will leave one tyrant for another. Instead, there needs to be a philosophical infrastructure furnished for the establishment of better government, and the encouragment of cultural, not merely political independence.


The Voice of Albertanicus

In the bustling crowd of separatists, refederationers and alienated complacents stirs a small, but striking voice. The voice speaks in tones familiar to the assemby, yet what it says pierces their jaded hearts. The voice summons them:
"Sons and Daughters of Alberta,
Look no more to the East for acceptance. Nor should you look to the East with repulsion. Alberta's infancy looked for the former, and her adolescence felt the latter. But it is time for Alberta's Sons and Daughters to leave childish and adolescent ways and move beyond gauging one's life by comparisons to another. It is time to be mature. And with growing wisdom, Alberta must build and create and serve and beautify and cultivate in ways that only Alberta can. Let us embark on a new course directed by clear thinking and tested conviction so that we may lead others onward to unseen horizons."
----This is the voice of Albertanicus.

Albertanicus is a 3rd person device which I wish to use in order to reflect on Alberta, what it means to be an Albertan, and what constitutes Alberta's identity. The purpose of these reflections is to solidify my own thinking, and possibly aid the reflections of others. These reflections, it is hoped, will awaken a new Albertanism which has a positive desire for truth, a cherishing of beauty and a celebration of goodness. This Albertanism will not merely pine away for separation from Canada, but seek to move forward in providing societal leadership for the varied regions of Canada. If Canada does not wish to follow Alberta, they need not be coerced.

And so begins the summons of Albertanicus.

About me

  • I'm Albertanicus
  • From Foothills, Alberta Rocky Mountains
  • I wish to serve my neighbors in a democratic society by reflecting on issues related to Albertans. I speak from the viewpoint of a Confessional Evangelical. I am also promoting what I call, "the New Albertanism".
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