Turning Albertan

If you live in Alberta and you have a pulse, it’s hard not to reflect this morning on the stunning loss (and victory) that took place in our provincial election last night.

The polls released in the days and hours leading up to the last vote cast turned out to be exactly right, even though pollsters were reluctant to trust their own overwhelming numbers predicting a New Democratic Party sweeping majority.

But they were right, and Alberta has a new governing party for the first time in over 40 years. Any political junkie in the country (including yours truly) was likely glued to their TV, phone and computer screens last night watching provincial history unfold. It was incredible to witness, and it will be interesting to see what happens next in big-C Conservative, oil-rich, cow country.

If it sounds like I’m discussing this dramatic change in governance in my own province with a slight detachment, it’s because I am. That’s not because I don’t care what happens. I consider myself a very engaged Alberta resident. I’ve voted in every Alberta election – municipal, provincial and federal – since moving here in 2008. Our kids were born here, we pay tax on our home and income here, and my weight is even cruelly displayed on a shiny blue Alberta driver’s license.

I care very much. I’m anxious to learn if the construction of our new community school, badly needed due to the population boom in southeast Calgary, will be delayed once again simply due to the transition of a new government. Like most people whose families work in the energy sector, I’m anxious to learn what will happen to that community. My husband’s commute to the downtown core has already become eerily empty due to corporate lay-offs. Are more changes coming? We’ll have to wait and see.

For the most part, though, I’ve resisted a complete immersion into the crazy world of Alberta politics because of my complete aversion to becoming an Albertan (and a slight aversion to partisan politics). As a spectator, it’s been a crazy ride, but as a citizen, I’ve remained slightly detached. I love Alberta. Our life is incredible here, and I’m grateful for everything it’s afforded us. But it’s just not home.

My husband and I talk all the time about a return to Nova Scotia. Sometimes our hearts ache so badly we think, What are we doing here? I’m sure most of our memories are romanticized, but it’s strange to think that our kids won’t have the same small-town, oceanside childhood that shaped everything about us.

When we visit Nova Scotia in the summer, we’re ceaselessly asked if we actually like living in Calgary. The reluctant truth is yes, we do. We love it. This is where we’ve chosen to live. This is where our kids attend school, where my husband works, where I hone my superpowers and where our family is totally thriving.

So does that make me an Albertan? It’s really not a terrifying thought, other than the fact that I miss Nova Scotia terribly.

Maybe I can be both Albertan and Nova Scotian (Although more Nova Scotian than Albertan. When it comes to Nova Scotia, I’m very partisan.)

I can probably live with that for now.

Author’s note: This post acknowledges the fact that my children are Albertans by birth. Also and unrelated, does there happen to be a black market for Nova Scotian birth certificates?

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