It's sad. Too few Canadians actually know the meaning of their national and provincial symbols. Take the hoopla over Alberta's new licence plates. Talk over whether or not to put the provincial motto on the plates is causing a controversy.
Some quarters of our population think that putting 'Strong and Free', the English version of the Province's Latin Motto, Fortis and Liber, on licence plates represents Americanization of Alberta politics. Some Anti-Ottawa politicians and pundits think creating a distinction between Alberta and the rest of Canada is a great.(One gets the idea that they are more loyal to the land of their birth than the country that accepted them as immigrants.) Most Albertans do not.
But all sides in this discussion are way off base. It is ridiculous to suggest that ideas of strength and freedom are not linked to Canada's place within the British Empire. It lessens Alberta's place in the world to suggest the province does not share in that tradition. Or that the founders of the province were not loyal to those institutions.
'Strong and Free', in the Albertan context, has nothing to do with the United States of America. And while the ideas of creating and federating new Canadian provinces were radical in their day, the motto itself has little to do with political reform. It is a motto, handed to us by the Crown, indicating that our province's strength and freedom are tied to parliamentary democracy.
'Strong and Free' symbolizes Alberta's links to the Canadian Crown and pays tribute to the fortitude of Canadians who settled the NWT in the days before The District of Alberta, NWT, became a province. 'Strong and Free' is proudly Canadian. And Albertans remain deeply loyal Canadians.