Dozens of people in Calgary went to the Don Hartman North East Sportsplex on Sunday to celebrate a birthday many don’t even know about.
Sept. 1 marks the 114th anniversary of the day Alberta joined Confederation in 1905.
“I was surprised that people didn’t know that Sept. 1 was our birthday because we are so pro-Alberta yet we don’t know when our birthday is,” said Craig Chandler, executive director with Alberta Verified.
Chandler is using the birthday as a chance to kick off Alberta Verified, a buy local idea, at events across the province. He said businesses will pay $50 per location and they can display the Alberta Verified logo after their establishment gets the green light from the inspectors looking for Alberta-sourced products.
“We’re just encouraging people to think about buying local. And if they don’t know, we’re talking to the Cattlemen’s Association and we are talking to growers and we are talking to Red Hat in Medicine Hat, saying if you don’t know about these guys, we will introduce you to them. So that’s what we are going to do as well, just try to broker people together,” Chandler said.
Chandler said Alberta Verified is a non-partisan idea that is not intended to boycott other products. He said the group will have a full-time inspector that will go around to businesses. It will also include discount cards for restaurants.
The birthday barbecue at the Sportplex was hosted by Devinder Toor, the MLA for Calgary-Falconridge, who said supporting Alberta products is fine, but he doesn’t like the idea of excluding other Canadian products.
“Made in Alberta is always good. Made in Canada is always good. We should be proud but we should keep a balance so we don’t want to take away products from the other provinces though,” Toor said.
Organizers of Alberta Verified said they plan to have up to 400 businesses signed up in Calgary shortly and dozens more around the province. Chandler said an Alberta Verified website will be completed by mid-September.