Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Outsiders Find Albertans Smug, Condescending and Uncaring: Government Poll: Albertans Too Arrogant, Says Toronto

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Outsiders Find Albertans Smug, Condescending and Uncaring: Government Poll: Albertans Too Arrogant, Says Toronto

Article excerpt

EDMONTON - The city that likes to consider itself the Centre of the Universe now thinks that Calgary and Edmonton are the ones getting too big for their britches.

At least, that's the conclusion of extensive polling done for the Alberta government into how its citizens are seen elsewhere in Canada.

"In Toronto, we found clear evidence of frustration that Alberta was becoming a stronger pillar and a more central agent in terms of Canada's economy, eclipsing Ontario in some respects," said a report on the Harris Decima poll, released in 2009 but unpublicized until now.

"In Toronto and Vancouver, there were also considerable perceptions that Alberta was a fairly right-wing or conservative place, and that compassion, open-mindedness and tolerance was not always what it could or should be."

The poll was conducted in the fall of 2008 in Toronto and Vancouver as well as several Alberta communities. It used both surveys and focus groups and has a 2.8 per cent margin of error.

It found that Albertans are generally considered hard-working, entrepreneurial and optimistic people who live in a place of outstanding natural beauty. But that view, said the poll, has "negative edges."

It found 40 per cent of non-Albertan respondents felt Albertans didn't care much about the rest of Canada. More than a quarter described Albertans as greedy and another quarter found them arrogant.

A total of 42 per cent felt the statements Alberta "cares about the environment" and "is working to ease environmental impacts" carried little, if any, truth.

While the words "confident," "bold," "generous," and "prosperous" were associated with Albertans, so were "smug," "condescending," "uncaring" and "narrow."

Albertans felt it, too.

"Many Albertans also felt that the province had, somewhat unfairly, acquired a reputation for being less tolerant, less compassionate and less environmentally careful than ideal," the report said. "While some argued that the problem was one of perception, some also felt the reality was that Alberta had had some room to improve in all three respects."

While the data is old, political scientist Chaldeans Mensah from MacEwan University in Edmonton said it's probably even more relevant now. …

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