We love to hate Albertans, don't we?

Last week I meet with a couple of out-of-towners who lease lakefront property on the Little Shuswap.

Several years ago they opted to rebuild their ramshackle cabin and replace it with a new, stunning home in which to spend their summers.

To do this required the assistance of a few local tradespeople. Finally, in the midst of a building boom, they tracked one down and asked if he'd come out to their property and have a look.

His response?

"What colour is your licence plate?"

Confused, the homeowners responded, "blue and white." At which point, the tradesperson laughed: "Good. Because if it was red and white you'd be on your own."

We love to hate Albertans, don't we?

I lived in Alberta for a while right out of college - heck, who hasn't moved to Alberta for work at some point? And while I hated the province - loathed the grasshoppers, the tornado warnings, the never-ending, rumble strip-sporting highways - I didn't hate Albertans.

I felt sorry for them. Sorry that they didn't know how crummy their province was, and how much better pretty much everywhere else is. When I told Albertans where I was from they looked at me with wonder in their eyes and asked: "Why did you leave?"

So, sure, I felt sorry for Albertans, but I didn't hate them. As it happens, however, I'm one of the few.

Why do British Columbians hate our neighbours so? Is it just because they're terrible drivers, or is there more?

While surveys confirm it, British Columbians don't need actual facts to prove Albertans are terrible drivers. There's a Facebook group out there called Calgary, Alberta√Ę Home of the Worst Drivers Ever. So far, there are only 74 members, but it's a start.

Four years ago, a reader wrote in to the Pincher Creek Echo, offering some advice for his community's terrible drivers. Here is a brief excerpt:

"Give your daddy his truck back: There are few things cooler than people who gun their truck engine to 10,000 rpms off a four-way stop on Main Street, shaving half a second off their trip time and reaching a whopping 55 km/h before they have to stop again. It's especially cool if the truck has no muffler."

Sage advice from the writer, who prefaces his letter by admitting that he is "from Calgary," and acknowledges that Pincher Creek is not the only place with "idiot drivers."

So, do we hate Albertans for their lack of driving skills, or do we hate them for having more and better paying jobs than we have in B.C.? Do we hate that they come here with their wads of cash (flush from not having to pay a provincial sales tax) and buy up all our prime real estate?

Or do we hate them because they elect stupid people? I only suggest this because there's a Facebook page entitled Albertans Only Elect Stupid People.

"Ralph Klein, Ed Stalmach (stet)? I think that pretty much says it all. Join this group if you want to see someone with a damn degree in office. For the love of God, even Fine Art is a step up," writes the group's administrator.

So far, there are four members.

Maybe we hate Albertans because of the tar sands, which are said to be responsible for generating four per cent of the nation's emissions.

But I'd wager that it's not their driving we hate, nor is it their money or their environmental gamble. Rather, we hate Albertans because we can. Because we're better than them, smarter than them, our winters are shorter than theirs, and warmer.

And come summer, we'll shake our fists as they drive ahead of us on the highway, speeding up with every straight stretch and hammering on the brakes at every turn.

And while we might take their money when they come here on vacation, we'll do so with the knowledge that eventually they'll leave, go back to crashing into one another on the Deerfoot Trail, while we get to stay here year round, munching on granola and feeling good about ourselves.

Follow Danna Bach on Twitter, @DannaBach.

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