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Friday, January 12, 2007

More Commentary on Alberta in Canada

I see Paul Boothe from the U of A has weighed in on the runaway rhetoric of Boutilier and has added a dash of Dr. Morton to boot in his Edmonton Journal Op Ed opinion piece today.

It is good to see some good old fashioned free speech coupled with some facts, sound analysis and an authoritative opinion emerging from the halls of academe. We need more of those informed voices in the public conversations of the day. Thanks for doing this Paul.

I have one bone to pick with Paul in his piece though. He states: “It seems like the new Stelmach cabinet bent on picking a fight with the rest of Canada.” I think that is an over generalization. We have only two Ministers in that mode. True, Stelmach made a comment in his first news conference about the concept of the Quebec nation saying, to the effect; that it should not take anything away from other provinces. And why should it and why would it? That is the sum total of cabinet commentary and it doesn’t add up to the entire “new Stelmach cabinet.”

For years, I, like so many other Progressive conservatives, just sat back and let the far right have their say and never really responded. I believed they were so obvious in their marginal ideology that it was unnecessary to rebut debate or challenge them. As a result of such inaction the rhetoric of the far right has become the voice of Alberta to the rest of Canada in the "minds" of the CBC in particular.

The recent CBC radio show “The Current” that Boothe refers to regarding Dr. Morton’s comments is a good case in point. I have not heard it yet so I will not comment on the content. However seeing Dr. Morton being slated as a guest to be a voice for Alberta discussing our provincial role in confederation rankles me both as a Progressive conservative and as an Albertan.

He would not come even close to representing any dominant Alberta perspective on the topic. He is entitled to his POV and has a right to express it. I just wonder who else they had on that program would represent a more inclusive and integrated Alberta perspective within Canada. I will be checking the program archives to give it a listen and hope they had a Progressive perspective included as well.

My business partner, Satya Das, does a lot of CBC French radio and television commentary on Alberta events and perspectives. He recently wrote a book called “The Best Country – Why Canada Will Lead the Future” which is an Albertan speaking about what makes Canada great. {which you can buy at Tix on the Square in Edmonton now}

For regular readers of this Blog you will know we co-write a regular monthly column for the LaPresse newspaper in Montreal on Alberta issues and topics too. Das would have made an excellent Edmonton counterpoint to the Morton position for the Calgary-centric CBC show segment on The Current.

When I saw Dr. Morton as a panelist I contacted the Calgary and Toronto producers of The Current by email to offer Satya’s services to provide another perspective on the subject of Alberta's role in Canada. No reply at all. Proving to me once again that the central Canadian idea of what an Albertan is has been forfeited to the far right and fundamentalists diatribes.

That mistaken caricature of the character and consciousness of Alberta has to be rebutted. I am working on it, including through this Blog. I see Paul Boothe is obviously engaged and like minded. It is sure nice to have such informed and effective allies.