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March 20, 2012
CALGARY, AB, March 20, 2012/Troy Media/ – Spring in Alberta is – if not officially here – just around the corner. And it’s coming just in time, because Albertans have had their fill of dark days and long, cold nights.
Sure, it’s been an eerily merciful winter. Save one week of -30 C early in the season, it’s been strangely mild, almost balmy by prairie standards.
Blustery chinook days have kept the snow at bay. It may not quite feel like Victoria, but it’s a much different experience than we’ve grown accustomed to on the frigid plains over many bitter winters.
Even so, Albertans are a wily bunch; they know not to break out the shorts and T-shirts just yet. Alberta has this cruel habit of lulling its citizens into thinking it’s time to pack away the snow shovel and then – wham! – hit them with the snow storm of the season. It’s a great trick the province pulls on all those Eastern Canadians who are spending their first year here.
You can’t help but smile. And why not? Optimism is in the air. What could possibly prick this balloon of good humour?
‘The election writ is set to drop this week in Alberta and if the demonizing hyperbole from the two rightist heavyweight parties is to be believed, voters have a simple choice: Mommie Dearest or Psycho. The governing Progressive Conservatives and the upstart Wildrose party are running one-two in the polls as Premier Alison Redford prepares to call the campaign shortly after her caucus passes the budget on Wednesday.’ (Canadian Press)
Yup, Eastern Canadians who have settled in Alberta are a form of ongoing entertainment. They’re easy to spot. They’re the ones who take their snow tires off by the end of March. You can find them at the local Canadian Tires, Walmarts and Home Depots naively buying those globe cedars that are doomed to perish next winter in our unforgiving Zone 3 climate. Bonus: All those easterners get to buy a whole new bunch of cedars next year, when the current batch turns brown.
But enough about those easterners; the point is it’s hard not to feel just a little pinch of optimism as the days draw longer, the snow disappears and the morning frosts begin to fade into memory. Pretty soon, the car can sit out on the driveway overnight, instead of having to huddle from the cold inside the garage.
It’s a time when it just seems the whole world is turning out right. What could possibly bring us down?
‘Over the past few weeks Ms. Redford’s party has been mired in a series of controversies, including allegations by doctors of political bullying, questions about unethical fundraising and public outcry over unacceptable pay perks. Its opponents – chiefly, the right-wing Wildrose party – have held up the foibles as evidence of Tory corruption after 41 years in power. Former premier Ralph Klein’s long-time chief of staff called it ‘three weeks of hell.” (Globe and Mail)
Spring. I love it. Before you know it, the barbie will be getting dusted off, the deck sanded and re-stained, and soon enough the lawnmower will get the overdue tune-up. Summers can be hot and harsh here, too, but we savour every minute of them after enduring the interminable ordeal we euphemistically refer to as ‘ski season.’ (Sliding down a mountain on boards is cold comfort at the best of times; break out the golf clubs.)
Is there anything that can beat those long, lazy days on the back deck? Sipping a cool one, pawing through a 500-page novel, soaking in some Vitamin D. It truly doesn’t get better than this.
Winters are for business; summers are for living. And live it we will! Nothing can spoil our happy mood!
‘Alberta. The home of Canada’s only moribund political monoculture. The province where the new opposition to a conservative party is, wait for it, another conservative party. What a joke.’ (Comment on a news blog)
Alberta in summer. Cycling. Kayaking. Hiking through the mountains. Remember to breathe.
Oh, and to vote.
Doug Firby is Editor-in-Chief of Troy Media.