There’s a general election on again here in Canada. There’s a lot of vitriol being hurled about. Social media has served to raise the volume of that vitriol. And, yet again, Alberta is the target of a lot of the nastiness. Certainly, all parties have nothing to lose and much to gain by bashing Alberta, which doesn’t have enough seats in the House to generally make a difference.
But the generalized Alberta bashing is not what I want to discuss here.
Today, I’d like to say something about the ease with which those who dislike our current Prime Minister blame Alberta for the “way” Harper is.
A Tale of Two Boomers
Mr. Harper and I were both born roughly fifty-five years ago, he in 1959, I in 1961, in Ontario, he in Toronto, I in Ottawa. We both went to Ontario public schools, he in Toronto, I in Sudbury and Windsor.
We both moved to Alberta while still young, he (after two failed months at the University of Toronto) to work in his father’s company, I as a teenager entering grade eight in the Alberta public school system. Mr. Harper went to Calgary, I went to a suburb of Edmonton.
We both attended university in Alberta, he in the University of Calgary (BA 1985, MA 1991), I at the University of Alberta, in Edmonton (BA 1983, MA 1984).
Mr. Harper lived longer in Ontario than I did. I have lived longer in Alberta than Mr. Harper has.
I have never voted for any conservative party in any election. I suspect Mr. Harper has, once or twice.
My point is that Mr. Harper and I are superficially similar fellows with superficially similar life histories, and yet, we are very different in almost every political way. If you blame Alberta for Mr. Harper’s politics, what’s my excuse? Why not blame Ontario, or Toronto, where Mr. Harper spent so much more of his formative years than I did? Mr. Harper and I both went to Alberta universities and worked in Alberta. How did I end up a left winger, if Alberta made Mr. Harper what he is?
My real point
Stop blaming Alberta! Finding some facile single explanation for a human’s character is as intellectually weak as the idea (I’ve heard it seriously suggested) that the Holocaust happened because young Hitler caught syphilis from a Jewish prostitute.
No. Mr. Harper is cutting the arts neither because he failed the audition for a High School production of Oliver nor because he happened to live in Alberta for a while.
Stop blaming Alberta for Harper.