[Thread] So, let's have a little talk about the significance of Pierre Trudeau's "middle finger salute" and Alberta politics. /1
Except, when they do this, these people forget the context in which that infamous salute happened.

It was protests over official bilingualism, and protestors were hurling epithets at the PM's train as it went by that in today's language would be understood to be racism. /3
I won't bother too much with the details, but Western Canada did not respond constructively to the concepts of making Canada officially bilingual or multiculturalism back in the 70s. /4
Since then, conservatives in Alberta (especially) have made that single event into a long standing grievance, and have balled it up with the NEP as some kind of symbol of how "Liberals hate Alberta". /5
But, when you understand it as Pierre Trudeau responding to the epithets and protests that were being hurled at him (and very _PERSONALLY_), it's not so hard to see it in a more human light. /6
Yet, it is far from actually doing so. The Federal government offers many opportunities for its employees to develop the requisite skill with both languages.

The problem on this front is our own attitudes towards languages. /8
In Alberta especially, we largely ignored the idea of functional bilingualism. Sure, some school programs allowed for people to be educated in both languages, but even there, the government's approach to the topic was pretty minimal. /9
We took no real steps to make ourselves functionally bilingual. Learning French (or any other language besides English) remains largely an optional endeavour in schools, and the percentage of functionally bilingual people here is laughably small. /10
If Alberta is "excluded", it's literally because our own provincial governments have chosen to nurse a grievance for 40+ years rather than respond constructively to the issue. /11
Every time I see someone bring up Trudeau's one finger salute, I am reminded not of "the great slight", but of our own cultural intolerance for others. I am reminded of the province's willingness to hold petty grudges for decades. /12
I make no mistake in accusing our conservative politicians of cynically using these moments for political gain. Whether it is the NEP or "the salute", they have nursed these grievances and formed a mythology around them about how The Liberals _HATE_ the west. /13
Attempting to hang these same issues on Justin Trudeau is both disingenuous and mean-spirited. /14 ~fin~
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