5.27.2009

in which parents try to close their children's minds, canadian edition

I haven't been blogging about the epic battle between Knowledge and Ignorance currently being waged in Alberta. (It was mentioned in comments in this post about schools still fearing Harvey Milk.)

Never having lived in or yet visited the province, anything I could write would be merely the obvious. But be assured I've been reading about this madness, and mentally holding my breath.

I recommend this post from the four strong winds blog:

In the battle over evolution in the classrooms, Alberta's Minister Lindsay Blackett claims to represent the silent majority (whatever that is).

20 comments:

L-girl said...

Dunkler, if you come by, "we move to canada" is all lower-case, just like daveberta.ca on your blogroll. And maybe just like you!

Dharma Seeker said...

Alberta scares me. I'm sorry to any Albertan wmtc readers! But it really does. Alta seems to be all about beef guns and god. And it spat out the likes of Stockwell Day and Stephen Harper. Maybe I am sterotyping Alta the way they stereotype Ontario and Toronto?

L-girl said...

"Maybe I am sterotyping Alta the way they stereotype Ontario and Toronto?"

Maybe??? :)

I'm sure there's a lot of reality to your image, but there are too many progressives out there fighting the good fight for them all to be painted with the same brush. Plus there's IP, and Linda Duncan, and these great folks! Minorities, for sure, but they're out there.

Dharma Seeker said...

Thanks for the perspective L, great to know!

L-girl said...

Which is not to say Alberta isn't scary. :>)

John F said...

I've been away for Alberta for a little over 14 years now. I guess I should move back and set things right before the place falls apart completely!

Seriously though, this was never an issue when I went to public school. The kids whose parents objected strenuously to evolution put them in the separate (Catholic) school system or one of the religious charter schools. In junior high, sex ed (euphemistically called "Dimensions For Living") had certain parts where parents could opt out their children. I think three kids out of a class of 30 had to go sit in the library.

As to the Alberta stereotype: the truth is, as usual, rather complex. I lived in Lethbridge, which is certainly a conservative town, but not monolithic. Even Calgary has a downtown sorta-bohemian scene.

Dunkler said...

"Alta seems to be all about beef guns and god."

Sigh.

Here's the thing - There are two Albertas. Urban areas like Edmonton and (increasingly) Calgary, or communities like Banff and Canmore, which are fairly cosmopolitan, have vibrant arts communities, and are fairly "progressive". Seriously. Check out the Fringe Festival in Edmonton.

Then there's rural Alberta, which is somewhat different. Sadly, the urban areas are under represented in the Legislature, and in some cases "Rur-ban" ridings have been created which combine dense urban areas like SW Edmonton with rural areas, which dilutes the NDP/Liberal vote.

And L-girl; Fixed! Sorry 'bout that!

Jen said...

I have to say (as the only born-and-bred Albertan in my family) that all Albertans are not beef-guns-god. The most frequently heard phrase post election by friends, colleagues, etc. was "who is voting for these people *I* voted Liberal/NDP). Granted, my parents were considered pretty lefty for putting red campaign signs on their lawn, but look at the context: Ralph Klien AND Preston Manning/Stephen Harper's riding! Is it different than Ontario? Definitely*. It's also different than Newfoundland and British Columbia.

*Leah and I were never heckled for holding hands in the street until we came to Ottawa (from Calgary and Vancouver) and our 2 most insulting, loud, vulgar hecklers were lil ol granny types. So, talk about shattering stereotypes there...

JakeNCC said...

The Conservatives took 65% of the popular vote in Alberta in the 2008 federal election. I understand the qualifiers when talking about stereotypes but there in no place in Canada that is as rightwing and you dont get 65% of the vote without carrying huge chunks of edmonton and calgary. I'm sure there are many out there fighting the good fight but I will never understand how Alberta can be so out of touch with Canadian values. What drives their backwardness? Religion?

L-girl said...

Dunkler, no problem, thank you for changing it - and for linking to me in general.

Thanks for all the Alberta perspective, folks (although that's not what the post was about).

It's interesting that people are using "beef guns god" and not mentioning Alberta's most famous and notorious industry. What about OIL?!

L-girl said...

"I'm sure there are many out there fighting the good fight but I will never understand how Alberta can be so out of touch with Canadian values."

Albertans are Canadian. Their values may be the minority, but they're still Canadian.

Just like Americans who share my values are still American. I think it's best to stay away from the patriotism card.

L-girl said...

Also, the rural/urban divide, with rural being more conservative than urban, is prevalent all over Canada. Think Toronto compared to rural Ontarians. Vancouver vs rural BC, Montreal vs rural Quebec - same patterns everywhere, I think. I don't know about Atlantic Canada.

JakeNCC said...

I don't think espousing tolerance, human rights, choice, science, knowledge and peace is playing the patriotism card. It simply is who we are.

L-girl said...

You're right, I'm not phrasing it correctly.

I would say rather than "who we are", it's "how we wish to see ourselves". It is the mainstream view.

But it's a very diverse country. "Canadian values" means different things to different people.

JakeNCC said...

Yep, agreed. I'm an unabashed Canadian nationalist but even I find it hard to love and appreciate Alberta at times.

Dunkler said...

True, the Rural/Urban split is only part of the picture. The distance thing is the second. The Reform (and then the CPC) picked up on the discontent and ran on a populist platform.

"even I find it hard to love and appreciate Alberta at times."

http://media-2.web.britannica.com/eb-media/57/85157-004-1BDC3E83.jpg

http://www.dwgt.net/morainelake.jpg

http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1345/1099377536_c4583beb38.jpg?v=0

http://www.fringetheatreadventures.ca/index.php/fta

http://culture.alberta.ca/museums/historicsiteslisting/headsmashedin/images/hsi_tipis_lrg.jpg

Yes, I know some people from Alberta tend to say and do stupid things from time to time. However we're not all like that, and the reason why populist groups like Reform do as well as they do is that they point east and say "they don't like you! they don't understand you! they can't represent you!", which makes it harder for those who stick around and try and change things.

Jen said...

"The Conservatives took 65% of the popular vote in Alberta in the 2008 federal election"

...but only 53-ish% of the population showed up on voting day. Something about being continually beaten keeps the centre/left voters away from the polling stns. I'm sure there is an evolutionary theory analogy in there somewhere...

Providing anecdotal evidence of voices of reason in AB is such a tempting tangent L-girl.

However, in keeping with the topic of the post, I suppose in fairness, I should mention that the only drop-your-gloves type fight with a co-worker occurred over evolution in AB and lasted the entire summer job.

Here's the short-short version:
me: I'm studying archaeology and I accept well reasoned, well obtained scientific evidence;
him: I'm a life long Christian and can't imagine any other worldview. Evolution??! I'm a "non-believer"!

He wasn't so much beef guns and god as golf clubs, oil and [amateurish] biblical rhetoric.

L-girl said...

"The Conservatives took 65% of the popular vote in Alberta in the 2008 federal election"

...but only 53-ish% of the population showed up on voting day. Something about being continually beaten keeps the centre/left voters away from the polling stns."

And there's our plug for proportional representation!

For the first couple of years of this blog - from its inception until just after Stephen Harper was elected - a conservative from Alberta was an active reader and commenter. He got into it (respectfully) with many other commenters, and I learned a lot from the exchanges.

However, he was what I call a "true conservative". He was pro-choice and pro-SSM, because he wanted less govt involvement in citizens' lives. He was pro-immigration too, although he would have agreed with Jason Kenney on the language requirements. He was very gung-ho military, which was interesting around here.

Anyway, his presence was a big, early lesson about Albertans for me.

SoSock said...

Dunkler
hecked out your site. Love the graph on Prop 8 :)
Very intuitive.
Our rabbi did his whole sermon on the prop 8 vote tonight and, as usual, was so incredibly eloquent as he pummelled any argument that anyone could possibly have against marriage between ANY 2 people.
I wish it was recorded somewhere.
Perhaps I could get him to give me his transcript.
And as to the subject of this post - it sounds like Alberta = Texas.
Yes, there are some great people and some very progressive outposts there, but as a whole scary is a pretty damn accurate term.

L-girl said...

SoSock, that's right on. Alberta = Texas is the way many Canadians think of it, too.

You might want to leave your comment at Dunkler's blog (if you haven't already), he probably won't see it here.