I've lived throughout Canada, and many places in the world, but I have seen few places as homogeneously conservative as Alberta (Texas may compare). Alberta does have a conservative "heritage", but it is truly frightening to see the masses vote unashamedly Conservative for so many years. The lunacy of it all is that even groups who typically would/should never vote conservative DO here in the good 'ol AB. Union workers, the working poor, immigrants and minorities, even teachers and nurses seem to support the Cons more than any other one party.
This political "one-think" is extremely bizarre... something of a real-life "Stepford Province". It is so frighteningly conservative that, while conservative Albertans and their national sounding-boards (National "Pest", Global) have bashed Ontarians for the past 10 years or so (for voting Liberal federally), they deny their own 40-plus year inbred marriage to conservatism - both federal and provincial. Yup, I used the word "inbred", and inbred is really what Alberta politics is all about. It's not about building bridges, accepting newcomers, and new ideas... rather, it is about "you're either with us, or "agin'" us".
What will it take to change the Albertan outlook? Probably the next 10/15 yrs. - enough time for alternative fuels to come to the forefront - or for oil supplies to diminish enough to cause this to occur quicker. Change may also come with the influx of Canadians and foreigners bringing modern political outlooks to Alberta (although to count on that may be folly in most cases, since many of the most conservative-minded people in neighboring provinces have run to Alberta, and praise it as a gleaming bastion of conservativeness).
In reality, Albertans (some of the richer ones anyway) have benefited from that "black gold" shooting out of the ground. Anyone could govern the province through the excesses of riches it has Bacchanally bathed in over the past decades. Heck, make it a kindergarten class project. The crazy riches shooting out of the ground have led to the open-armed welcome of foreign-owned oil companies, American-based venture capitalists, and even the Enrons of the world. Adam Smith would have been proud to watch this new blameless, conscience-less, angry capitalism run rampant over the leeward plains of the rockies. The Albertan "success story" (at the cost of medicare, seniors, children in schools, infrastructure maintenance, minorities, and social justice) has created a bit of a beacon for a lot of Canada - of promised riches (don't mention the fact that the real-world salaries are not much higher, if at all, and come in the face of rampant inflation and cost-of-living increases). The beacon shone brightly enough for Canadians (less than 1/2 of us) to actually vote into power an Alberta-based neoCon government... just barely.
This winter it is time for us to throw out the Stepford government... It may all start with one of Harper's robot servants breaking down and freaking out at a public event (ie: speak in public, without Shrub's "coles-notes"). One can only hope...