Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Annoying easterners

It is now official; Albertans have taken over from Torontonians and Quebecois as the most annoying Canadians and let’s be honest, the competition was pretty stiff. In a poll commissioned by the Canadian Broadcasting Company and the US Republican Party, Canadians from across the country were asked which of their fellow Canadians were the most annoying and Albertans scored highest in most categories (excluding the ‘ramming French down everybody’s throats’ category) and even setting new records for high scores in the ‘smugness’ and ‘self-righteous’ areas of the poll. Congratulations Alberta!

We in the west have to wonder though; what is it about easterners that makes them so prone to being annoying, and why does it not seem to affect the Maritime Provinces? Albertans have at times claimed to be part of the west. In Calgary they even hold a stampede every year where the locals spend their time running around wearing huge foam rubber cowboy hats and eating free pancakes (or do they call them flap-jakes? You know, just to be "western"). We in the real west find that sort of behavior laughable but generally it can be safely ignored, just like that annoying yet harmless relative that keeps showing up at family dinners.

Albertans appear to be trying to portray their province like the Texas of Canada, and just like Texas they are painting themselves with a wild-west sort of ambiance that bears no resemblance to reality (imagine a western starring Roy Rogers; it’s that sort of “reality”). Here is the Albertan version of being tough on crime; considering the recently issued resource debate checks, $400 free dollars per Albertan to spend as they see fit (AKA: Prosperity Cheques) (more on that later) some of the eligibility criteria were that one had lived in Alberta since Sept 1, 2005 and that one was not in prison on Sept 1, 2005. So in theory some guy could have moved to Alberta in August of 2005 to be, say, the CEO of some mega-huge corporation and to live the good life. Unfortunately the high cost of living makes the good life not a real great life so to supplement his legitimate income, Ken Lay-like he turns to a life of crime. Not being very good at this crime thing he is caught before he has the opportunity to steal too many millions and ruin too many lives and is tossed into prison in October of 2005. Does this guy get a prosperity cheque? According to the rules soft-on-crime Albertans say, yes he does. That’ll larn him.

Also playing along with the Texas “connection” are the so-called Resource Rebate cheques, or as real people call it, “the bribes”. Of course the bribe is a time-honoured tactic in politics in both Canada and the US. A hundred years ago it wasn’t uncommon (like air isn’t uncommon) to find political folk standing outside polling stations (or ‘saloons’) with free booze and these folk would even be so kind as to walk the voter in and even to vote for him! It was a different time then and things were a little more forthright than they are today. “We’ll give you this bottle of cheap whiskey and you vote for the candidate of our choice.”

Today in Alberta that bottle of cheap whiskey costs $400 and the total cost for the province is between 1.3 and 1.4 billion (with a ‘b’), which must be the going rate for purchased elections in Alberta even if they’re not sure to within $100 million how much it’s all going to cost. When you think about it, that $100 million is a lot of $400 cheques and I have to wonder how they know that the administrative costs will be under $10 million. Just my curious nature I guess.

Of course Albertans don’t like the whole ‘bribe’ line of reasoning. According to their own line of reasoning Albertans are such a hard working bunch that they are entitled to these cheques. Why, in Alberta even the homeless are harder working than the homeless in any other part of Canada, which is kind of funny when you consider that it was Alberta’s own Premier, Ralph Klein, who spent an evening a few years ago staggering around a homeless shelter waving a sucked-dry vodka bottle and calling the residents ‘bums’. Now he’s giving those selfsame bums $400 each to do with what they will. Now that’s a change of heart, or is it just recognition of the fact that an Albertan is an Albertan no matter what? After all, to the Albertan mind Albertans don’t just work, they WORK. Something that the rest of us will never understand, apparently.

So here’s to you, Alberta, and congratulations of taking annoyance honours away from Toronto and Quebec, and here’s an idea I’ll toss in for free. Why don’t we move Alberta from its current location and put it over right next to Ontario? That way the top three most annoying Provinces could all be together. Since Albertans are such harder workers than the rest of we Canadians they don’t need the oil that just happens to accidentally be underneath their Province to be prosperous so then they could be righteously annoying. Something to consider. Good on you, Alberta. Keep up the good work!

Anyway… Humouroceros

PS: All facts from the official Albertan Government website at You also might want to consider: or or Enjoy.


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