Keeping Alberta Rat Free

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Keeping Alberta Rat Free

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Alberta has been historically known for two things, number one being the oil and gas industry, the second being Alberta’s lack of rats. Alberta historically prides itself on being a ‘rat free’ province through extermination campaigns throughout the whole province in order to maintain the mantle; and to protect Alberta’s agricultural sectors. Because of this legacy, Albertan pandemic skeptics on my home town’s Facebook page posted this meme in reference to people reporting large gatherings, and businesses which violate quarantine restrictions. Underneath this photo, many people who thought alike had a good chuckle and patted themselves on the back for keeping Alberta ‘rat free.’ However, these pandemic skeptics forget that Alberta became ‘rat free’ by people reporting sightings of rats, using the local 310-RATS hotline which alerted exterminators to the presence of rats throughout the province. This item matters to me in that it is how pandemic skeptics impose falsified history, and possibly Albertan nationalism to justify their own behaviour as somehow patriotic. I know I’m reading into this too deeply, but I find it somewhat funny how ignorant these people are to the true reality of our ‘rat free’ title, that we achieved it by reporting sightings of rats which posed a danger to our entire province; just how these people are posing a threat to the health of our entire province by opening businesses and getting together in large groups. This is mainly supposed to serve as a window into the Albertan experience of the Pandemic, with specific interest to the anti-masker’s opinions and thoughts on social media. I want to similarly point out, that I wasn’t the only person who noticed that Alberta was made ‘rat free’ by ratting on rats in this photo’s comment section.

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This item was submitted on January 30, 2021 by Padraic Cohen using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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