Last month I wrote this post in response to a publicity campaign by a group of environ-MENTAL groups aimed at deterring tourism to Alberta. It would seem though that their campaign, instead of scaring people off, has actually accomplished the exact opposite. Numbers of visitors to Alberta's government tourism website are actually way up. It seems that people want to actually check things out for themselves other than blindly accepting what this motley collection of groups has to say.
Come on now, there really is more here than just oil sands. Yes there is the Oil Sands Discovery Centre and tours of Suncor, but fort McMurray has a rich history and is definitely not the one-horse town that it is often portrayed as. Sorry, but what I find especially galling about this campaign is that, well, look where it comes from: the United States. Um, given that the US is the world's biggest consumer of non-renewable energy, how about stop fueling a demand for it? Then, not only would there be less need for our oil but the need for all the pipelines to the US that you guys also moan about would become unnecessary AND we would be spared all your silliness. You don't live here. You have no respect for our community or people that live. You are only interested in exploiting the Wood Buffalo region to push your own agenda. The simple fact is that American hunger for oil would occur regardless of where in Canada it was located. Northern Alberta just happens to have the fortune (or misfortune, depending on how you look at it) of having the world's second-largest recoverable reserve of oil on the planet, located on its doorstep.
There actually is a campaign website, Rethink Alberta. I won't dignify it with a link but feel free to look it up if you wish. Hint - predictably, the answers to the 8 little quiz questions they start you off with are either Canada or Alberta. How predictable. The group makes the bizarre accusation that the US is somehow victim of campaigns designed to keep it addicted to what it terms "dirty oil". Look, I know you guys have FOX News and subjected yourselves to 8 years of George Bush there, but really, try to think for yourselves. It's OK, go ahead. You can do it. Instead of wasting money on a campaign against Alberta, why don't you stay in your own country and start by addressing your concerns to the big oil company headquarters down there. How many oil companies have headquarters or offices in Texas or the Gulf Region?
Following the introductory quiz on the group's website is a page with a pledge, to the effect that the reader will not visit our fair province until three conditions are met. In a similar spirit, I thought I'd toss out my own pledge. I pledge not to visit the US until you stop fueling a demand for oil and then turn around and blame Canada for supplying your demand, clean up the Gulf (the world's biggest oil disaster I should point out)and stop burning coal (the pollution from which then finds its way over the little patch of Southern Ontario where I grew up).
The area covered by the oil sands IS NOT the size of England as the group likes to state. As a matter of fact the entire Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo is comparable in size to Switzerland, which in turn is smaller than England. Kindly do some research first. I could go on and on about other errors and twists of facts (and if your familiar with my Nunavut blog you know that I just might) but for the moment I do want to thank these idiots for the increased traffic to our tourism websites and greater interest in our region.