The Vancouver Pride Festival is coming up soon (in case anyone was wondering why I am writing about Gay Pride now). A much different event, the Calgary Stampede, ended almost two weeks ago. Aside from the festive nature of both events, the contrast could not be more different. The Calgary Stampede, the world's largest rodeo, is a celebration of Calgary's western heritage. The Calgary Stampede started in 1886 as the Calgary and District Agricultural Society Exhibition. The Stampede is closely tied with Calgary's identity.
Alberta is sometimes referred to "The Texas of Canada" (at least by me), and, indeed, Alberta is well known in Canada for its conservative politics. Alberta gave the Conservatives the highest percentage of its popular vote (67%) in 2011. The Conservative Party has won very seat in Alberta outside of Edmonton for the past four federal elections (every election since the foundation of the Conservative Party), as well as every seat in Edmonton in one of those. Rural Alberta ridings gave anywhere between 84 and 75 percent of their votes to the Conservative Party in 2011. Alberta's Progressive Conservative Association (definitely not progressive) has formed the provincial government since 1971. Alberta is also Canada's wealthiest province, due to its oil sands (which I will defend to the death, metaphorically). In addition, Calgary, Alberta's largest city, is arguably one of North America's most conservative cities (which I consider to be metropolitan areas with over one million people).
During the Stampede, western wear is visible around the city. So tied to Calgary's identity is the Stampede and its western heritage, a cowboy hat appears on the city's flag (see below).
Originally, this post was going to be about something else entirely. However, as I was writing it, it turned into a post about Alberta politics. The introduction, which I decided not to change (for a sense of contemporary relevance), is indicative of such. I could go on and on about how much I love Alberta and I can't wait to move there (I was raised and currently live in British Columbia); incidentally, I am really starting to embrace my inner redneck. At the same time, Calgary is sadly evolving (or devolving, if you ask me) into a PC hell, seemingly just like every other place in the Western world, which I guess is inevitable for a rapidly growing major city. Fortunately, this process seems to be quite slow. The Calgary Stampede (an event that showcases toughness and masculinity, and one that p*sses off animal rights groups) and the pride in which Calgary's residents show during said event, leave me optimistic.