Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Highway 63 Protest

I had an interesting little discussion at work today with a co-worker about the recent tragedy on Highway 63 and what could be done to stop the carnage.  He told me that he was surprised at how stark and empty the crash site was now that it had been cleared....not a sign or memorial in sight, which he found rather distressing.  He suggested a marker of some sort for every victim along the roadside.  I agreed it would be a good way to get peoples' attention.  (As it turns out, I see at Fort McMurray Musings that there are a few memorials along the roadway, a poignant reminder that some people who travelled the highway never made it home.)

I asked him how he knew the crash scene so well as he had described it in great detail. It turns out that this young man also drives a tow truck for a local company and had been called out that day to help authorities with the blockade at the scene.  All he mentioned was that he hated being out there.  It was sad and depressing and he saw sights that were, in his words, "not very pretty to look at."  Understandably, he didn't want to dwell on the topic so I respectfully changed the subject, though this little morning conversation has been in the back of my mind all day.

I've heard of some rather interesting ways of protecting the provincial government's lack of action on twinning the highway.  One person made an on-line comment that we should have the legislature sit here in Fort McMurray rather than Edmonton for a month or two, forcing MLA's to travel highway 63 and hopefully making them more aware of how dangerous repeated trips can be.  Another person had a more hands-on idea, namely physically blocking the highway and handcuffing all travel to the various oil sands sites. This would have the effect, the writer assured, of forcing so-called "Big Oil" to act where government has so obviously failed.  While the first suggestion is interesting, I'm not sure about the second one.

Anyhow, I had been hearing talk of a planned protest on this issue over the past couple days but no further details as to the when and where.  Tonight though, I've learned that there is a protest planned for this Saturday May 5 at MacDonald Island, beginning at 11am.  I'm not sure exactly what organizers have in mind beyond these few details, but as I am scheduled to be off work that day, I do plan on being there.

So I encourage all Fort McMurayites to attend if you are able to.  I'll admit, I'm a pretty quiet, introverted guy.  I never planned on using this blog for any sort of social advocacy when I began it.  But I'll gladly step out of my shell this time.  I've been accused of "black and white" thinking from time to time but really, the lack of action and resulting carnage is just plan unacceptable in my book.  I hope you feel the same.  Again, if you are able, I would strongly encourage you to attend the rally this weekend.

Let's send a clear message.  Let's make a difference.

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