Western pride

Hall of Fame major league baseball executive and player Branch Rickey, who is best known for breaking the colour barrier by signing super stars Jackie Robinson and drafting Roberto Clemente; the first Black and Hispanic players in the major leagues. He was also credited with the development of baseballs minor league system and also for introducing the batting helmet. His success as a player was limited, but as an Executive for the St. Louis Cardinals and the Brooklyn Dodgers, his teams won eight pennants and three World Series.

Rickey the innovative and trail blazer was known for his intellect and some timeless quotes that some still refer to as “Rickeyisms”. One of his more notable quips recognized the importance of what we contribute rather than what we take away;

It is not the honour that you take with you, but the heritage you leave behind.

As Albertans we are very proud of our unique western heritage and culture and across the province we celebrate the heritage that makes this Alberta. The Calgary Stampede is most certainly one of the greatest shows on earth, but it also serves as an example of Albertans celebrating our proud heritage with the world.

While at some of the celebrations in Calgary celebrating the spirit of the Stampede, a good friend in town for the Stampede, took notice of that pride that Albertans have in our home and in our heritage. Visiting from Ontario, my friend couldn’t help but notice how Albertans tend to wear their heritage on their sleeves with pride. The closest event Ontario has to the Stampede is the Canadian National Exhibition, that is more of a reflection of the growth in diversity and innovation though agriculture and technology.

At the recent Oyen BullaRama, Alberta’s rural pride was on full display in a celebration of our heritage that was left behind by those who built Alberta. Albertans generally are not boastful but steadfast in their acknowledgement of the provinces historical development. Agriculture and its contributions to the province’s heritage is the foundation for a lot of the culture that exists to this day.

One of my duties as your MLA is to attend celebrations like the BMO Family Farm awards that recognize the legacy left behind by those who came before us. We’ve come a long way in methods of agricultural production and amounts produced, at times under adverse conditions, but the selfless commitment lives on. As the names are read at the Farm Awards, it’s hard not to think about the contributions to our heritage that many of the early settlers made, whose names we may never know.

Although not everyone that contributed to Alberta’s heritage is honoured, they left a legacy behind that is still a part of our identity and our heritage that is every bit as important as those made by people we mention by name.

Often times I’m tempted to communicate the pride rural folks have in Alberta, but I usually end up with a lump in my throat. It is with great pleasure that we congratulate our Family Farm Awards recipients: the Hutchings Family, the Sharpe Family, and the Duque Family, on their milestones.

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