Did a little birdie just chirp in my ear that the United Conservative Government has already picked out a name for the new provincial police force it claims it hasn’t yet decided whether or not to set up? 

Officers of the Royal Northwest Mounted Police in 1900 – slated along with the RCMP for historical erasure by the United Conservative Party brain trust (Photo: Library and Archives Canada).

It wasn’t a tweet, merely a chirp, but I must say it had the warble of truth. 

Brace yourselves for the Alberta Rangers.

This, presumably would be a bit of cowboy cosplay intended to extend the faux cultural distinctiveness of Wild Rose Country by making it seem less like a Canadian province and more like the state, formerly the republic, of Texas, a part of the United States that Alberta hardly resembles at all.

In reality, what Texas resembles is Canada. It has more than 30 million people without even having to count unauthorized immigrants, plenty of tidewater, a grownup economy that involves more than resource extraction, and a rough split between progressive-minded and conservative folk (Republican for the time being but with demographics inexorably marching toward a Democratic Party majority).

The U.S. state that Alberta actually resembles is Oklahoma, a landlocked oilpatch in flyover country that can advertise lower house prices than most states. Even so, a case could be made that the Sooner State has a more diverse economy than Alberta’s, what with the aircraft industry and the world’s largest per-capita prison-industrial complex.

A Calgary Police officer and an Alberta sheriff in downtown Cowtown – enough silly hats, already! (Photo: Livewire).

That’s one thing about OK that the UCP presumably aspires to imitate. In 2018, 1,079 of every 100,000 adult residents of “the World’s Prison Capital” were in jail, a higher incarceration rate than any actual country on the planet! 

But I digress. 

About those Texas Rangers, they have an undeservedly good reputation thanks to televised fairy tales like Walker, Texas Ranger, a 1990s TV crime series wherein a slightly pre-geriatric fifty-something Chuck Norris used wheezy karate moves like roundhouse cowboy-boot kicks to round up and lassoo pretend bad guys. 

The reality is somewhat worse, and one suspects the UCP knows this, which should make us more uncomfortable with the Ranger idea, if indeed my little avian friend has chirped accurate data. 

As reviewer Michael Sandlin put it in the Texas Observer in 2018, by the late 19th Century the Rangers had become “a state-sponsored terror squad directed to secure white racial hegemony along the Texas-Mexico border.”

A more suitable uniform for a modern Canadian police force (Photo: Alberta Newsroom/Flickr).

In 2022, Reform Austin noted that the “near-mythical law enforcement agency that is often portrayed as a tough, elite unit of crime fighters” had more recently “shown that they may be little more than a political catspaw as well as incompetent at their jobs.”

Well, at least this would be on-brand for the UCP and its intention to create an Alberta police force to replace and historically erase the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, which it once complained in a news release (since removed from the government’s website) was “overly bureaucratic” and “unable and unwilling to confront activists.” That pairing suggests that in the eyes of the UCP the Mounties are too focused on due process and fundamental rights and not willing enough just to wade in and crack the heads of citizens who oppose UCP policies. 

Getting back to Texas, Reform Austin cited a 2021 New York Times exposé that revealed how the Rangers’ investigations of accusations against other police agencies often “fell short of basic standards.”

According the to the New York Times story, its reporters “identified 29 cases the Rangers had investigated since 2015 in which a person stopped breathing after struggling with local authorities. None of those inquiries led prosecutors to charge anyone in law enforcement.”

Also on brand for the UCP, I’d say. 

One good thing about the real Texas Rangers is that there aren’t very many of them of them – fewer than 200 according to several websites, all of which give slightly different numbers. 

That, at least, is something the UCP perhaps ought to imitate, although not the fact that you can literally count the number of female Rangers on the fingers of one hand. 

If I’ve got the UCP reasoning wrong, and they actually want to name the provincial police force after a sports team, they should call it the Alberta Stampeders. Obviously, they’re not going to go for the Elks. Too woke! 

Either way, forming an Alberta police force is a bad idea. Calling it the Rangers is a really bad idea. Which means that’s almost certainly what the UCP intends to do. 

When they do, remember where you heard it first. And hang onto your CPP!

Join the Conversation


  1. That is certainly Smith’s style – all communications spin, all the time. For now she seems to be capitalizing on an unpopular PM by picking endless fights. It will be interesting to see how well that works after the next Federal election if someone else is PM. I suspect people will start paying closer attention to her government’s shortcomings then.

    Yes, Alberta does aspire to be Texas even though its closer to North Dakota or Oklahoma. Like Texas we do have oil, but we don’t have the diversified economy they do and our major cities can only hope to be as hip as Austin. I suppose Kenney might be considered our version of Ted Cruz. However, for whatever reasons I don’t think there is a Texas version of Danielle Smith although there may be one from Colorado or Georgia.

  2. It’s getting clearer and clearer that the UCP are running a dictatorship, and they are supporting a police state, where perceived enemies of the state (province) will be harshly dealt with. It’s going to be a rough ride. As for the CPP of Albertans, knowing how the UCP is, we can kiss it goodbye.

  3. In related news, lil Davey and his TBA cult are begging for money to “train” one hundred “centurions” in order to intimidate their “enemies”. Davey never disappoints!

  4. Take it from me; being a Ranger is a tough business and a serious responsibility.
    A bunch of good ‘ol boys from out on the flats, even with a goofy hat and every K-Tel dodad available hanging on their belts and off their chests is just not going to make the cut.

    Maybe we can get some donut shops to sponsor their team uniforms. And names?
    How’s about them Snortin Horten’s!

  5. Your article had me racing to the calendar on my fridge to double-check the date. It’s April 19, not April 1! I desperately hope your source is talking out of his 10-gallon hat…

  6. Maybe they just want to be more Canadian, like the Canadian Rangers. Picture that: Alberta Rangers on their own personal snowmobiles (or dog sled), in red ball caps and camo pants.


    If this rumor is true, I could see one reason why taking the Canadian Rangers’ name would appeal to this government: Corey Hurren. The Alberta government seems to spend most of its time bad-mouthing the PM, so this rumor might have legs.


  7. So while Albertans continue to allow themselves to be treated like morons while they watch these Reformers continue to screw them out of their oil and corporate tax wealth it’s no surprise that they don’t have the money to treat them fairly with proper wage increases. Their Reform Party friends are doing just fine with Smith helping them fill their pockets with taxpayers money.
    We continue to see ignorant fellow seniors so dumb they can’t understand why Norway and Alaska are so rich and Albertans are in financial ruin while they continue to blame it on municipal councillors for their high increases in property taxes, just like these Reformers want them to. Well guess what ,you ain’t seen nothing yet, just wait until they have to start paying for their Alberta Rangers while Ottawa eliminates the $171 million it provides the province annually for the cost of the RCMP , but they are too dumb to figure that out aren’t they?
    As Ralph Klein was overheard stating to an MLA, at a fund raising dinner, “ I can tell these idiots anything and they would believe it, and a few years later in public stated “ Albertans aren’t smart enough to understand our plans for health care reform so we aren’t going to tell you what they are” . The Ralph Klein I had known since I was 19 years old in 1962 certainly knew how ignorant Albertans were and how easy it was to fool them and these Reformers are still doing it, while we watch the need for the help from Food Banks grow. Sadly they are so dumb they won’t listen, will they? They have convinced themselves that they are a lot smarter than the Albertans who refuse to believe the lies these Reformers feed them, where is the intelligence in that?

    1. Alan K. Spiller: You are absolutely right. Sadly, people are believing the lies of Danielle Smith and the UCP. Ralph Klein is her hero, so it’s no wonder why we have the problems we have. Pierre Poilievre will be just as bad. I remember the $35 billion income trust fund fiasco from the CPC. Many people lost money there. People will have a harder time retiring, with these people, who are not even Conservatives.

  8. “And hang onto your CPP.” Mr. Peepers our mainstream media loving PM in waiting represents an Ontario riding. Canadians accurately picture him as one of Stephen Harper’s hard right former cabinet members. Having spent his entire working life in “government service” he should be savvy enough to know that if he dared rip 53% or any substantial portion of CPP to hand to Danielle Smith, the tar and feather crew in his own party outside Alberta would leap into action. But then again, CPP cash could provide a healthy chunk for Stetson wearin’ guns ablazin’ Foothill Rangers.

  9. As long as they have the ‘staches, clothing, equipment and horses of the 1880’s.
    Come on UCP, take Alberta back to the 1880’s!

  10. I don’t think the protesters against harvesting old growth forests in BC found the RCMP too gentle with their skulls.

    Close your eyes and imagine that the Louisiana Purchase hadn’t gone through. That little tip of land up to the Milk River would still be part of France. Our Sûreté de la République d’Alberta would be sporting berets and gathering at the Patisserie de Marie for a café et croissant. Speeding tickets? Nah, just an invite to the next fiddle contest. Citation for fighting? Nope, but a gentle reminder to add some water to your Pastis. Vive la République!

    1. Imagine having the audacity to suggest that militarized police deploying lethal overwatch is the RCMP being unable
      Or unwilling to remove activists.

      When railways outside of Edmonton were blocked during the associated solidarity protests they were cleared within hours.

      I do remember EPS and others being completely unwilling to do anything about to convoy protests, and what do you know many of them participated. Interesting.

    2. At risk of sounding humourless I remind that the skulls you are referring to had cast themselves into cement blocks from which it is intentionally not-gentle to extract as the court had ordered the RCMP to do at Ferry Creek on the Big Island. Like stopping the perpetual flow of traffic on the Lion’s Gate bridge by OG-protesters standing on —and chained to— stepladders in the middle of the road, such protests look suspiciously staged to make ordinary law enforcement look like run-of-the-mill unconstitutional police brutality.

      In either case, commentators of the greenie-left facilitated a pile-on that I suspect diminished their readership as a result. If facts were truth then police forces were forced to enforce with “too much” force the legal parody into which they were cast by court order.

      It might well be a fact that by projecting locals’ effort to preserve one of the last pristine drainages of old-growth forest in their part of Vancouver Island onto the whole province (and doubtless beyond) with petulant demands all OG logging be halted immediately, “Extinction Rebels’” cemented skulls and chained limbs managed to diminish a local effort that might otherwise have earned broader public sympathy. But Lion’s Gate cinched it.

      As it was, one of “Extinction’s” leading provocateurs was among the arrested, then deported as a foreign national; the gang of greenies which tried to commandeer the governing NDP’s leadership contest was summarily twice outed —one being out-the-door—, and Vancouver City police were deployed to the bridge more for the protesters’ protection from commuters (who should really be cited for commendations for usually quelling rage others from away could not when negotiating Van’s extremely gummy road system). But stopped on a bridge was a bridge too far and tested the public’s sympathy for OG as surely as Vancouver drivers are just one straw short of breaking backs: Lion’s Gate protesters were fortunate police came to their rescue.

      The fair-weather din of extinction rebellion was finally lost in the dissonance a number local First Nations seemed to sound by siding with police in order to realize their negotiated piece of the OG-logging action while certain factions of other FNs blocked resource development elsewhere in BC without Extinction’s help.

      If BC police were really the partisan goon squad at beck and call for particular political personalities, none of this could have ever happened. Turns out they are just ordinary police policing in extraordinary times. At least we’ve managed to keep the tinder fire confined to Surrey.

      Long Live the Republic of Surrey! The UCP’s Ranger plan has about as much cachet.

      1. You know after reading another on of your nearly column length replies I’m obligated to point out I wasn’t talking about BC old growth protests , the lethal overwatch in question would be the protests in northwestern BC, on unceded territory. I’m kind of making a broader point about the RCMP in general though, and in the even RECENT history of this country, they’ve never been all that hesitant to enforce the will of capital. Oops I mean the rule of law.

        The RCMP will always be here to ensure the business of Canada, which is resource extraction, continues apace. that’s what they were created for, and they’ll never hesitate in the use of force to achieve their goals, that’s their mandate, especially when those frustrating capital are Indigenous folks.

        As far as your characterization of extinction rebellion as the loony green “left” according to themselves
        “Extinction Rebellion is an international movement that uses non-violent civil disobedience in an attempt to halt mass extinction and minimise the risk of social collapse.”

        So nothing about capital, no material analysis, no economic analysis, no suggestions of how we got here or how we can get off, this is not a leftist organization. They’re a protest group they have a wide variety of members, very few engaging with capitalism being the chief reason for climate change. Some have even suggested (not me, I would need to see stronger evidence) the point of groups like XR are in fact to damage the reputation of the ACTUAL, anti capitalist left.

        Might be something to think about every now and again, all I’m sayin.

  11. So the UCP describes the RCMP as being “unable and unwilling to confront activists.”
    Even when these “activists” are blocking an important international border crossing?
    Or is it another sort of “activist” the UCP is concerned about here? You know, those people.

  12. It could have been worse. They could have been named Gestapo. Of course, this is Batshit country, so there is still 3 more years, and anything is possible.

    1. In Alberta, it would definitely be named the gazpacho. Alberta is such a peach tree dish of alt-right ideas.

  13. The Tarsands workers of Alberta are too busy making money to be serious about provincial politics.
    Such is the innocence of youth and a full wallet!
    Fuck the future , the time is now!


  14. I use your line that Alberta is more like Oklahoma than Texas a lot. I have family in both places and I find the comment apposite, but most Albertans are taken aback by the reference. I imagine that those Wexiteers who want to be the 51st state think that the US will gain another Texas, but as a middling state of under 5 million souls Alberta would not have anywhere near the clout it enjoys in Confederation. I think our economy is a little bigger than Oklahoma’s, maybe around Indiana levels? US Republicans would no doubt welcome another two Senate seats, so there’s that.

    Speaking of economic diversification I remember when oil prices dropped in the 2010s, an American economist was asked what it would mean for the US economy and his answer was basically it’s a wash. The oil sector will suffer but other parts of the economy will do better because energy is cheaper. That’s a healthy diversified economy for you.

    When I first moved to Alberta the cowboy stuff really seemed over the top and like people trying real hard to be more American than the Americans. Now I’m not so sure, Alberta is as much a part of the history of western North America as anywhere, and I guess a lot of folks have really dug in to that identity, but wouldn’t it have been great if Alberta had retained more of its francophone heritage? A legacy of the significant role France played, for good and ill, in settlement.

  15. On the subject of “cowboy cosplay”, about the only piece of good news is that the City of Grande Prairie unveiled its new uniforms and vehicle livery for its nascent municipal police force this past week, and they will be wearing the more conventional peaked caps of other municipal police force in the country.


    It also formally swore in the new GPPS Chief of Police, one Dwayne Lakusta, formerly of the Edmonton Police Service and former CEO of ALERT.



    Now, the wisdom of Grande Prairie setting up its own municipal police force remains an open question. I have seen reports that this is the first such move since the Camrose Police were established in the 1950s.

    The City first decided to look at its policing model in 2021, triggered in part by the province’s musings about ditching the RCMP, which are the current police of jurisdiction in the City. I think it flew a bit below the public radar here at first, due to the pandemic. It was never an election issue in the last civic elections, and no plebiscite was held to seek the public’s opinion.


    1. You’d think y’all would fix some of the infrastructure up there before going crazy with a new police force. If Medicine Hat is the gas city, Grande Prairie is definitely the pothole city

  16. OMG: the full moon effect ???
    –Alberta Rangers
    — Lagrange/ NICU
    — Schultz/ water sharing
    — rebranding electricity options
    — Jonathan Denis/ misconduct
    — and to top it off, turning down Federal funding for 17 Judges/CBC

    DJC— you not only don’t have enough hours in day, you need a 10 day week, with ABSOLUTELY NO NEWS on the 3 extra…..
    Deepest Sympathies!!!

  17. It should be easy to get a gang of self-righteous boys together, hand them guns, and send them out to enforce the LAW! Yes, I can see it now. Convoys of pickup trucks (Dodge Ram preferred) patrolling the highways, byways, and trails of Alberta, in search of criminals and liberals.

    I recall an interview with Iggy Pop concerning how much Miami, FL has changed since he moved there in the late 70s from Detroit. He described the place as ‘God’s Waiting Room’, filled with tanned elderly people, waiting, and waiting. Then, the successful TV show ‘Miami Vice’ made the place look cool and exciting. Pop cited the one big thing that the show accomplished was that it gave everyone the impression that Miami cops, and Florida cops in general, were actually good at their jobs. When the bar is set that low, even the worst can’t help but succeed.

    So, mount up, Berta Boys. Git yer guns and swords and ride out. Queen Danielle’s says there are varmints in them there hills. Yeeee-ha.

    1. This is fairly explicitly about shooting Indians in the countryside. So your description may turn out to be more apt than you perhaps intended.

  18. What is the salary for police in cities across Canada and what about their education perquisites and how long is their training and what does their training cover

    1. don’t know about other cities, but vancouver has the highest paid police officers, after their last contract. Now the odd one can afford to live in the city of Vancouver. I think their starting salary is $120K
      If queen smith-y decides to send the RCMP on their way, a provincial police force will be more expensive unless she is going to pay the new police force less than other police forces in Canada. Currently Surrey, B.C. is changing from an RCMP force to its own police force. Its expensive. So far the province is kicking in an extra $150M to deal with the difference–cities which use the RCMP get a break on the cost.
      Perhaps Alberta has more money than people know about.
      My computer advises me Alberta has approx. 300 RCMP officers and 500 and change in Surrey. the rest are the new Surrey police force.
      Perhaps queen dani wants to use the CPP funds to pay for the new Alberta police force.
      I suspect the UPC wants their “rangers” because they think they can use them to deal with any opposition to their plans for the province. Some one might want to remind them Canada does have a Supreme Court and a Human Rights Commission. As Harper learnt changing laws which are not consistent with the Constitution gets over turned by the Supreme Court of Canada.
      ON the other hand, this might just be a case of dani talking because she doesn’t have anything else to say.

  19. Wow another article comparing American and Canadian where there is no comparison. Really had to reach for that low hanging fruit didn’t you.

  20. I’m torn. Either your headline photo depicts what my “male” high school cohort thought they were (minus the excellent moustaches) or these are the last humans you want anywhere near you!

  21. I was recently involved in a relatively straightforward trial in Alberta where the RCMP was the investigating police force. Even though it was a relatively simple case, the nature of investigations today meant that the RCMP’s forensic laboratories in Vancouver, Edmonton and Ottawa had to analyze exhibits and provide expert analyses. Do you think Danielle Smith has the slightest idea what it would cost to set up this kind of expensive infrastructure from scratch? Not a chance.

  22. Football? I know of the MLB Texas Rangers.

    The next worse step would be to have the new force wear brown shirts.

    1. John: As you can see, I am not a heavy duty sports fan. What do so, correct it, or just leave it for laughs? DJC

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