There’s a concerning tagline that is popping up in discourse among the right wing movement in Alberta the past week; Ordinary Albertans.
We all remember the federal election campaign of the CPC in 2015 that went terribly off the tracks with talk of barbaric cultural practices, and appeals to Old Stock Canadians.
This talk of Ordinary Albertans of course is emanating out of the camp of one of those ex federal cabinet ministers in his bid to “Unite Alberta”.
But the use of a phrase like Ordinary Albertans is anything but a unifying term.
What exactly is an Ordinary Albertan?
Do I qualify, as a transplant from BC who escaped as an economic refugee from an NDP led Province? (That’s a sarcastic reference to Jason Kenney’s spurious claim of his immigration to Alberta, btw). What about the tens of thousands of transplanted Maritimers who came here in the last oil boom to find a better life for their families? Or the Syrian refugees that were resettled in our major cities? How about the Indigenous people who have called these lands home for thousands of years?
Make no mistake that Ordinary Albertans aren’t the people you might think. It’s a dog whistle term meant to resonate with the people who subscribe to the beliefs that Alberta is better when it’s ran by a conservative government, that will fight against the “evil waves of socialism” that are sweeping our province today.
It is a contemptible term, meant to signal a divide between an us and them. And, it might work.
Every time a tactic like this is employed, the wording and rhetoric becomes more refined and people become more and more desensitized to it. When you hear a catchy hook like Ordinary Albertan, take the time to critically evaluate – what does that really mean? If the answer isn’t clear, what should be is the motivations of those employing it.