1A. Saturday Morning Panel, 10:30 AM MST
Myths as Reality: Alberta Politics, Society, and Democracy at a Crossroads?
With Jared Wesley, Michelle Maroto and Feodor Snagovsky
Over the course of the pandemic, our Common Ground research has engaged thousands of Albertans, learning about their backgrounds, perspectives, and struggles. Through our surveys and focus groups one thing has become abundantly clear – a gulf has emerged between who Albertans are as individuals, and who they see themselves to be as a community. When asked which values animate provincial politics, most Albertans continue to describe the dominance of “wild west” notions like populism, wester alienation, bootstrap individualism, and prosperity. When asked about their own political preferences, however, the average Albertan is far less conservative than this image portrays. In this panel, we discuss the tensions between myth and reality as they apply to Albertans’ economic future, the Freedom Convoy movement, and the place of Alberta in Canada.
Jared Wesley is a professor of political science at the University of Alberta. He studies provincial politics and political culture in Western Canada.
Michelle Maroto is an associate professor of sociology at the University of Alberta. She studies social stratification and inequality.
Feodor Snagovsky is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Alberta. He specializes in the comparative analysis of elections and political behaviour.
1B. Saturday Morning Panel, 10:30 AM MST
Rural/Urban Divide and its Impacts on Politics and Democracy
With Jack Lucas and Clark Banack
The Urban-Rural Divide in Alberta: Attitudes, Identities, Voting
Urban-rural divides in policy attitudes and voting preferences have been growing in Canada in recent decades. Using data from recent large-scale surveys of the Canadian public, this presentation will describe patterns of urban-rural identity and place-based resentment, along with an analysis of the policy issues on which urban and rural Canadians are most divided. The presentation will focus particular attention on Alberta residents.
Jack Lucas is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Calgary, and a Board Member of the Parkland Institute. His research is focused on democracy and representation in Canadian local governments as well as urban-rural divides in Canadian politics.
Political Resentment in Rural Alberta
Drawing on his ongoing academic work in rural communities, and especially his recent “political ethnography” work across rural Alberta, Dr. Banack will provide his perspective on the growing tide of political alienation and resentment in Alberta, its unique roots, and its broader implications. The presentation will conclude with some thoughts on the rural-urban divide in Alberta politics and how such a divide is often depicted.
Clark Banack is a Political Scientist and the Director of the Alberta Centre for Sustainable Rural Communities at the Augustana Campus of the University of Alberta. He is the co-editor of the forthcoming book Building Inclusive Communities in Rural Canada (University of Alberta Press). Read more »