Editorial Pages


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BC VIS-Ã?-VIS SASKATCHEWAN- Wayne’s really started something this week. I’ve already responded in this week’s editorial, now it’s your turn!

SUDS CONFERENCE COVERAGE – Part 3 – AUSU’s contribution

BC ON FIRE – Rebecca Flann lives near the fire zones, and has watched the evacuees flee their homes. To really understand the devastation, you need a first-hand point of view.

INTERNET ADDICTS – New criteria for determining if internet use is a problem for you.


This week’s editorial is in response to Wayne Benedict’s article this week, BC vis-a-vis Saskatchewan, so you might want to read his first.

Wayne – who is quickly becoming the poster-boy for adult learning by being the first person I have ever heard of to be enrolled simultaneously in both a full time undergrad program and a full time masters program at different schools – has just moved to Saskatchewan after a lifetime spent in BC. He has noted some of the cultural and legal differences between the two provinces, and compiled them into a very entertaining list. He’s asked for others to follow suit and compile lists of the cultural quirks in their own regions.

I had such fun putting together my list on Alberta that at Wayne’s suggestion, I’ve made it this week’s editorial. Now it’s your turn: send your lists, or even just individual quirks, to me at voice@ausu.org and I’ll print them in an upcoming Sounding Off column. Or, if you don’t want to be printed, just send your lists to Wayne as he requested.

I can’t wait to read about the idiosyncrasies of the places where you all live. Only at AU could we even have such a discussion! And hey, if anyone reading lives in Nunavut, I’d especially love to hear from you. I know far too little about our newest territory.

Anyway, here is my list. Oh, and if you live in Alberta and totally disagree with anything I said, remember, this is how I see it. Feel free to send in your own list. It would be interesting to see how perspectives differ. And really, read Wayne’s list first, because mine refers to it quite a bit. You can find it here: http://www.ausu.org/voice/articles/articledisplay.php?ART=1994

What it’s like in Alberta….

“¢ Liquor stores are individually owned – the provincial ones shut down years ago. Prices are the same all day. You can’t buy liquor anywhere but a liquor store. Many deliver.

“¢ We used to have two part drivers licenses, but they were good for 5 years. Now they are plastic. They have a bar code on them, but no one has ever witness it being used for anything and it does not correspond to your actual license number.

“¢ Your license fee does not include any insurance. There is no provincial auto insurance and rates are really high.

“¢ Alberta drivers suck [this may correlate to the really high insurance rates…]

“¢ Everyone eats perogies, whether they are Ukrainian or not.

“¢ Restaurants are smoke-free or smokers are in separate sections. They are phasing in laws to ban smoking in all public places. You can’t smoke in a mall, any store, or an airport.

“¢ You can legally turn right on a red light, after you stop.

“¢ No one understands how to proceed through flashing yellow or flashing red lights, but all street lights go to this format when there is a fault in the system. Mayhem ensues.

“¢ In Calgary, all streets are numbered and have a quadrant designation [i.e., 17th Avenue SE]. Streets go north-south and Avenues go east-west. There is a centre street and a centre avenue. From there, street and avenue numbers start at 1 and go up toward the outskirts of the city. Without a map, you can find any numbered street in Calgary. Once you have driven in Calgary, every other city is mystifying.

“¢ Alberta is mountainous in places, flat in places, and heavily wooded in other places. The southern Alberta region around Drumheller is much like the terrain of Arizona, and the land is dotted with bizarre rock formations called HooDoos (http://www.virtuallydrumheller.com/tour/hoodoos.htm). It’s like driving through the land that time forgot.

“¢ Vulcan Alberta is the Trekkie mecca. Vulcan T-Shirts only come in red (http://www.town.vulcan.ab.ca/).

“¢ Just about everyone loves professional wrestling, or, even if they hate it, they can at least can name several wrestlers.

“¢ We get hail the size of baseballs and flash blizzards in August. Average duration: 5 to 10 mins. Summer then resumes. You always take a jacket. We have hot summer days in December.

“¢ The standard deposit when buying a house is 5% of the purchase price [10% recommended]. If you don’t qualify for a mortgage, no problem – you can ‘assume’ the mortgage from someone else and the bank has no say.

“¢ You are allowed to pay back any loan faster than your schedule by making extra payments any time you want. This law overrides conflicting loans terms of national companies.

“¢ We have no provincial sales tax, but our prices are quite high on most things – especially food! [Compared to Quebec, anyway]. You constantly hear disparaging comments about how unfair it is that you don’t have to pay taxes, and how it’s because you don’t pay sales tax that your health care system is crumbling. People get angry with you because you don’t have sales tax.

“¢ Everything is becoming deregulated. Gas and electricity costs have soared and are wildly unstable. Gas prices went so high 2 winters ago that our $90 a month bill soared to $275. Electricity is quickly following suit.

“¢ If you go to the doctor, you will probably have to pay an out-of-pocket extra billing fee. $20 – $40 is average.

“¢ You’ll have to wait about a year to have a non-vital surgery. You have to pay for eye exams.

“¢ If you get student loans from the Alberta government, you are eligible to have some of it [or even all of it] paid back by the government at the end of your study. It’s called ‘remission’. Remission is based on how much you borrowed each term. Remission rules!

“¢ Many people are friendly, some are not.

“¢ We have some of the hardest water in the world. Great to drink, but soap won’t lather. Forget making shampoo horns. Our water has fluoride added.

“¢ Alberta used to be mosquito free, but since they stopped spraying the borders, we have plenty. Alberta is virtually rat free and has been since 1950. It is illegal to own a pet rat in Alberta.

“¢ I have never in my life seen a raccoon or a badger, but if you live on the outskirts of Calgary you can get red foxes, rabbits, squirrels [black, grey, red, or mixed] and deer in your yard. Oh, and skunks!

“¢ Gophers are everywhere. Gopher killing is an organized sport. When you run over a gopher, other gophers run out to try to help him. Carnage ensues. You would be hard pressed to find someone who has not sprained an ankle by stepping in a gopher hole while running. Gophers love to eat petunias and pansies. Don’t buy these if you live anywhere near a field.

“¢ The tourists are the ones wearing bolo-ties.

“¢ You can get punched in the mouth [or just get banned from the radio and record stores] for suggesting that people should not eat beef….

Tamra Ross Low
Editor in Chief

Read the AUSU This Month column in this issue for information on how to join council, or see the posting for the Executive Director job, also in this issue.


The response so far to the first Voice writing contest has been wonderful. Most of our entries, however, are in the fiction category! This is unexpected since the fiction category was added at the last minute and was not even part of the original contest plan.

I’m sure that the non-fiction entries are lagging behind because it takes time to formulate a reply to an essay question, but if you are interested in a shot at the $300 in scholarship money, then trying out for the non-fiction category is a good bet!

C’mon, how hard can it be? Just tell me, in 1500 words or less, what you would do as President of AU? I know we have a lot of readers with strong opinions on this subject, so lets start hearing them!


The Voice fiction feature has become popular, but submissions have been slow. Send us your best fiction today, and it might become our next feature.


The Voice needs some new Voices! We know you have plenty to say, so why not get paid for it. Send us a writing sample or article for submission and you might be published in an upcoming issue. It’s fun, it’s easy, and it pays. Contact voice@ausu.org for more details.