When former Wildrose Party leader Brian Jean posted a message to Facebook on Monday, January 14, he painted the picture of a province filled with angry residents, a bleak future, and failing leadership.
Much of the message highlighted the problems Alberta has been facing over the past few months, including the indefinite suspension of the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion, the difficulty in getting Albertan oil to new markets, and the impact that prioritizing train cars for oil transport might have on the agriculture industry.
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“All Canadians should be angry. Albertans are furious,” Jean stated in the message.
While he saw a significant amount of praise in his Facebook comments — with many calling for him to start what he called a “Mad as Hell” Party, even amid other supporters worrying that would split the vote on the right during the next provincial election — another group of Albertans rose up in response to speak to the state their province.
Started by blogger, author, Calgarian, and conference-creator Mike Morrison, the hashtag #NotAngryAB sprouted up on social media, quickly gaining traction as Albertans detailed the joys of living in the Wild Rose Country.
“Conservatives keep saying Albertans are furious. But I’m not,” Morrison wrote in a January 14 tweet.
“It’s never been safer for me and my boyfriend to be together. I get same-day doctors appointments. I don’t pay a sales tax. My business is successful and I’m hiring. And look at my cat. She’s so cute.”
Conservatives keep saying Albertans are furious. But I’m not.
It’s never been safer for me and my boyfriend to be together.
I get same-day doctors appointments.
I don’t pay a sales tax.
My business is successful and I’m hiring.
And look at my cat. She’s so cute. #NotAngryAB pic.twitter.com/KPRFuVjC1Z
— Mike Morrison 🏳️🌈 (@mikesbloggity) January 14, 2019
The tweet prompted other Albertans to write about the positives that come with their lives in Alberta and why they aren’t quite as “furious” as they may be depicted to be.
I moved to Alberta for work and love living here. With the ability to work and earn a living that allows me to travel is amazing. Moving to Alberta was one of the greatest decisions I made. So I’m definitely not angry. #NotAngryAB
— KattZM (@KattMi2) January 16, 2019
It warms my heart and confirms for me what I know about my fellow Albertans. We are #notangryAB , we are hopeful, we are resourceful, entrepreneurial, creative, kind and progressive. This hashtag rises above the noise and rhetoric. Thank you!!!
— Canaca (@CanacaGuanaca) January 16, 2019
I have access to health care and I receive subsidized medication and dental care. My children go to schools with GSAs. I live an hour away from the mountains and every so often I spend time there. I am certainly #NotAngryAB
— Andi Linquent (@andilea265) January 16, 2019
— Mike Hanlon (@HanlonMike) January 16, 2019
Many of the people posting to social media took a further cue from Morrison, including a photo of their pets in their post.
I’m #notangryAB. Thankful for health care experience, maternity leave and ability to spend days using public transit or beautiful river pathways to explore playgrounds, library, zoo, & science centre. Oh, and new breweries! And, watching my husband’s artistic career supported! pic.twitter.com/aP7uY1gKke
— Teri Buckley (@BuckleyTeri) January 16, 2019
Thanks to the NDP restoring funding for STEP, I’ve been able to work full time the past two summers and save money for school. The program has given me valuable experience and my employer keeps me on part time during the school year. Oh, and this cutie! I’m #notangryAB! pic.twitter.com/WXwg5hQetN
— Monica Lockett (@MonicaLockett_) January 16, 2019
— michelle verhey (@MichelleVerhey) January 16, 2019
#NotAngryAB I’m not angry. My wife and twins and I are welcome here. We are supported in homeschooling our kids. The government gives us back the carbon tax. My cat is angry because I won’t let her sleep on my head. pic.twitter.com/7dpXfts0zt
— Liz Carter-Morgan (@RevLizCM) January 15, 2019
Some pushback to the hashtag had called #NotAngryAB illegitimate, seeing as Morrison himself was not born in the province, though he quickly made a point against that argument:
Some have said that #NotAngryAB is not legitimate, because I wasn’t born here, thus making me “not a real Albertan.”
You know who else wasn’t born in Alberta?
You know who was?
— Mike Morrison 🏳️🌈 (@mikesbloggity) January 16, 2019
By January 15 the hashtag had become the third most trending topic in Canada, with thousands of contributors in the first 24 hours.
Thanks to everyone who shares why they’re not #NotAngryAB. We made it to number three on Twitter. Plus, I love seeing all your pets and hearing all these reasons we are lucky to live in an amazing province like Alberta. Keep ’em coming. pic.twitter.com/FMJV1ZvjHx
— Mike Morrison 🏳️🌈 (@mikesbloggity) January 15, 2019
Two days after the initial post, and the hashtag is still going strong.