Tomorrow isn’t supposed to be just another Thursday, although it might well feel that way.
Instead, tomorrow is the first opportunity to celebrate Alberta Day, the start of what’s intended to be a new annual tradition. Now, there’s nothing wrong with acknowledging the fact the Alberta Act came into effect, formally establishing the province of Alberta, on Sept. 1, 1905, but the idea of setting aside another day to recognize all that is Alberta seems like it’s overkill.
It was just four weeks ago that we observed Heritage Day, a civic holiday that’s dedicated to the cultural heritage of Alberta. We also have Alberta Culture Days, which run for the entire month of September, giving people, according to the province, 30 days to discover, experience and celebrate arts and culture through local events and activities.
So, is there really a need for a third spot on the calendar, within a span of two months no less, for Albertans, in the words of the province, to come together in a spirit of celebration and express their pride in all things that are uniquely Albertan? We’re not sure too many people were calling for it, but that apparently didn’t stop outgoing Premier Jason Kenney from declaring the new non-holiday earlier this year.
Whether it’s Kenney wanting to leave a legacy or it’s another way to point out Alberta’s uniqueness to those in Ottawa, the impetus for Alberta Day seems a little suspect. Falling on a Thursday that’s not a holiday means pretty much all Alberta Day celebrations during its inaugural year, including those being hosted by the Town of Okotoks, won’t take place until the weekend, which loses the connection to that Sept. 1 date when the province was established all those years ago, and the very reason why Alberta Day was created.
If we’re going to be doing that celebrating on Sept. 3, or other days early in the month in the years ahead, aren’t we essentially duplicating Alberta Culture Days?