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Ten reasons to wish Alberta a happy birthday Print E-mail
Written by Link Byfield   
Monday, 29 August 2005

This weekend Saskatchewan and Alberta hold their big Centennial whoop-ups.

As an Albertan, and meaning no slight to Saskatchewan, I got to thinking about why I love this province.

We're supposed to love the place we live. Sir Walter Scott wrote, "Breathes there the man with soul so dead, who never to himself hath said, 'This is my own, my native land!'"

Alberta is my "native land," even though I came here thirty years ago from Manitoba.

1. More popular songs are written about this province than any other -- by Corb Lund, Paul Brant, K.D. Lang, and Ian Tyson to name the most famous.

2. I love Alberta's work ethic. A few years ago at a Rocky Mountain House gas station, I noticed a white Styrofoam cup for loose change by the till. Someone had written on it in ballpoint pen, "Need a penny, take penny. Need a nickel, get a job."

More than anywhere else in Canada, there's an expectation that everyone can contribute something, and should.

3. Albertans value nature, especially human nature. We share with our two fellow prairie provinces the distinction of the highest fertility rates in the country (except for the northern territories). We believe in the natural family.

And speaking of nature, we're also serious environmentalists too. We've got some of the finest real estate in the world, and we look after it.

4. Albertans think for themselves. For example, a poll this summer showed that despite two years of court decisions and government lectures, Albertans -- alone in the country -- remain as opposed to gay marriage today as we were in 2003.

No we're not "homophobic". Live as you choose. But words mean what they mean, and kids need a mom and a dad.

5. We uphold law and order. Fairly often we read about ordinary citizens tackling or driving off armed criminals. While this happens in other provinces too, Albertans seem to take particular joy in it, so much so that police have almost stopped bothering to warn people not to risk it.

6. God bless the oil industry -- which Tommy Douglas famously drove out of Regina and into Calgary, to save Saskatchewan from corporate exploitation.

My first job in Alberta was on an oil rig in 1973 -- Precision Drilling #9, south of Oyen. I hated every minute of it, and have looked back fondly on the experience ever since. There's romance in the roaring motors and clanging steel. Our companies have sent muscle, machinery and skill to every petroleum region on the face of the earth. We can hold our own with the best.

7. Albertans were always patriotic, and still are, contributing more than their fair share to defending freedom.

8. We share with Saskatchewan a part of North America's wild west legacy. We really were the "last, best West." In many ways we still are.

9. We help other regions. Even if the feds didn't force us to do it, we'd help anyway. We'd just be a whole lot more practical about how and why.

10. We stand as a bright beacon of hope and opportunity in a once-great country now paralyzed by rights-mania, bad government and a spirit of petulance and negativity.

So happy one-hundredth, Alberta! You're just getting started.

- Link Byfield

Link Byfield is chairman of the Edmonton-based Citizens Centre for Freedom and Democracy, and an Alberta senator-elect.
"Just Between Us" is a feature service of the Citizens Centre for Freedom and Democracy. The purpose of the Citizens Centre is to enhance freedom and democracy by enabling ordinary citizens to become active and effective on important issues outside the normal processes of party politics.

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