Sunday, 2 November 2014

9 Years too Late?

In 2005 I had the opportunity to attend the 100th birthday party for Alberta with my colleague on Crowsnest Pass municipal council, Gail Sygutek. That day was the start of what was to be a good friendship. Noting that, it is not the intent of this post to elaborate on our relationship. The event held at Commonwealth Stadium, in the pouring rain, was graced by Queen Elizabeth. Of course the show piece of the ceremonies was a video history of Alberta's 100 years displayed on a very large screen.

I watched with anticipation as the video moved from one geographic location to another showing us all what the province deemed important enough to be showcased. My anticipation turned to hopefulness and then to utter disappointment as we watched the history of agriculture, oil, then tourism and the communities that built up around those industries. There was no mention of any of our Crowsnest Pass towns, Coleman, Blairmore, Frank, Hillcrest, nor Bellevue. Neither was there any mention of Lethbridge, Drumheller, Canmore, nor Nordegg. No mention of the fact that coal and coal mining towns were a major contributor to Alberta's economy from the turn of the century up until the 60's.

Not one coal mining town was mentioned in that version of our history save for Edmonton, (oil, and capital city) and Banff (noted for its bid to become the capital). What a horrible feeling to be the guest of our province  and to find our host was ashamed of its history in coal and all of us that were part of or grew out of that history.

We now have a premier that hails from Grande Cache, worked in the coal mines at Coleman, and was a member of the UMWA. I am hopeful that Jim Prentice will remember where he came from, institute policy to the benefit of working men and women, and insure that coal (not just its history) plays a role in Alberta's economy.

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