Sunday, October 16, 2005

Plenty to laugh at

Speaking of Alberta:
"Before the Progressive Conservatives, there was Social Credit and before Social Credit, the United Farmers of Alberta and before them, the Liberals and before the Liberals, assorted Aboriginal tribes and before them, the dinosaurs . . . we've come full circle."
- Michael Kerr, What's So Funny About Alberta?

OK, it's an obvious cheapshot. But Michael Kerr's book really is full of comical satire and wit about the province-that-takes-itself-too seriously, aka Alberta.

Kerr pokes fun at such sacred (Grade A Alberta, don't forget) cows as western alienation, our claim of being a rat free province, and even those giant sculptures our small towns seem so strangely proud of. One of my favourite bits is Kerr's top 10 ways to become an Albertan. Some excerpts:

- Publicly denounce the province/nation of your birth.
- Write a letter to the editor denouncing the Liberals' National Energy Program of the 1980s.
- Visit Banff, but don't be too happy about it.
- Replace all your vehicles with pickup trucks.

And so forth.

Had Kerr written the book after Premier Klein's announcement this fall that every man, woman and child in Alberta will receive a $400 rebate cheque from this year's surplus, I think he would have amended the list. So in honour of the Alberta 2005 Resource Rebate, I would like to propose the 11th way to become an Albertan:

- Complain that newcomers and children don't deserve rebates while claiming you "built this province" and "paid taxes all your life." Suggest a residency requirement equivalent to one year less than you've been in Alberta. For instance, if you've lived here six years, the requirement is five.


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