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Mystique and Perception

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It is an unfortunate reality but generalizations and misconceptions can accompany and shade many of our own perceptions of people and/or places. Alberta and Albertans are no exception and overtime many misconceptions about the province and its inhabitants have emerged, and continue to resonate. For example . . .  
  • The province of Alberta has, at times, gained the reputation for being a squeaky wheel—opinionated, outspoken, more "American" and even selfish. While Albertans strongly disagree with this generalization, most also continue to differentiate themselves from other Canadians. In fact, the perception of Albertans by other Canadians has to some degree developed as a result of Albertans voicing sentiments of Western Alienation. Additionally, in federal elections Albertans generally do not vote in favour of the party that becomes the government. Regardless of the reputation, it is likely that Albertans will continue to loudly voice their opinions as the province finds its place in the "New West" of Canada.
  • The notion of the Canadian "Wild West." Facets of American history and mythology are frequently mistaken as symbols of the Canadian experience. Although there were similarities in the development of the Canadian and The Wild WestAmerican West, there were also significant differences. Cowboys toting six-shooters, robbing trains and going to war with the "Indians" almost never happened in western Canada. By the time large numbers of settlers began to arrive in Alberta, most First Nations had signed treaties and were living on reserves, and the Northwest Mounted Police was solidly in place to deal with would-be lawbreakers.
  • Despite population growth and urbanization, Albertans still have to contend with stereotypesAd for beer on a plane leftover from the frontier and settlement eras. The notion of Alberta as singularly rough and rural is no longer relevant considering the fact that over 80 percent of Albertans now live and work in the province's increasingly multicultural towns and cities.

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