Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Back home

Back from an extended trip to Saskatchewan necessitated by a family emergency. We now return to our regularly scheduled ranting.

I was born in Saskatchewan but have never lived there - the hospital was on the Saskatchewan side of town, our house was on the Alberta side - over the course of a sleep deprived but rewarding visit with my lady's family we spent a lot of time driving through beautiful countryside encountering just really nice people and enjoying some pretty spectacular weather for mid-September.

We had a six hour layover in Regina on the way back and spent it wandering downtown and in the big mall. After Calgary, Regina mostly impresses me with its smaller population; the whole province only has twice the population of my city which brought back memories of the more relaxed and spacious feel of Calgary when I first moved here in the early nineties. There is also very clearly a much higher percentage of Saskatchewan's population that is first nations than Alberta.

The mall was small to middling sized but with a large and zealous security detachment. They were Mall Ninjas, no doubt about it. Over the course of a few hours we watched them perform their duties, which apparently is to zero in on any native, particularly any native teen who enters the building and follow them in packs, scribbling furiously into notepads, self importantly muttering into shoulder mounted radios and generally making their native visitors feel welcome.

After watching them tailgate their fifth or sixth perfectly harmless looking pair of kids out of the mall and right off the grounds, even standing outside surveiling them until they had crossed the streets, I told my girlfriend that if I was a native kid in Regina I think I'd be absolutely furious all the time. I mean overturning cars and setting them on fire furious, and I was impressed that they didn't. I'm sure that natives in Alberta experience the same kind of crap on a daily basis, it's just been quite a while since I've seen it be so blatant.

'Welcome to Saskatchewan.' she said.

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