Tuesday, January 10, 2017

My Response to Jane Fonda

James Cameron, Leonardo DiCaprio, Neil Young....its seems that there is no shortage of celebrities lined up to bash our community and our industry.  And now, we can add Jane Fonda to the list.  Fonda is in town today ostensibly to "inform" herself about our region.  

Fonda claimed to a local resident that she is not against [us] but given the economic turmoil we currently face, to say nothing of the forest fire that devastated our community last May, I really have to wonder.

Let's be honest: Fonda is a professional activist.  She has made a career of supporting all sorts of causes and spouting all sorts of nonsense no matter how hurtful it may be to some. It wasn't until 2011 that she got around to apologizing for offending Vietnam vets on her blog.

Fonda claims that (according to the CBC article regarding her visit) "It's like someone took my skin and peeled it off my body over a very large surface."  Ah, such hyperbolic language.  It makes for a great sound byte, I'm sure.  But just how large of a surface is that?  Let's put things in perspective.  The boreal forest covers about 60% of Canada.  What percentage of Canada's boreal forest is subject to surface mining?  Turns out THAT figure is 0.2%.  Since 1967, the year GCOS (the forerunner of present-day Suncor began), oil sands mining has disturbed approximately 760 square km (roughly 294 square miles).  That's an area smaller than New York City, London or Berlin.  All of these figures can be verified on official government websites, unless of course Ms. Fonda wishes to indulge in asinine conspiratorial-types claims.  Sorry, Fonda, but your simplistic analogy utter fails.

I do have to question where she will be getting her information from.  Will she be getting it from industry leaders?  community leaders? people who actually live here?  people who actually work in the oil sands? actual scientists?  Will she be getting it from Green Peace scientists instead?  Oh yes, Green Peace doesn't actually have real scientists, only paid activists.  Has Ms. Fonda ever heard of SAGD technology? (Google it)  Of that this technology will be the way going forward.  Let me guess, she flew over Suncor and Syncrude north of Fort McMurray which employ older mining techniques but conveniently DIDN'T fly south of Fort McMurray where SAGD is employed.  If you're only going to talk to those opposed to development or see what you want to see, you only get one side of the story.  Ms. Fonda, it's called an "echo chamber", a massive case of confirmation bias if ever there was one.

She wants to claim how horrible our industry here is yet I would challenge her to visit any number of other oil-producing nations so she can compare how we stack up with the rest of the world.    Of course, Fonda won't do this.  She's more interested in publicity and Canada's industry is the low-hanging fruit on the tree.  She can show up, pose for the cameras, mouth some nonsense and fly (yes, she admitted she flew here....on a plane.....which burns oil) back to Los Angeles with no real cost to herself.   As I said at the outset, we've had a long slew of personalities role through here, fly over in a plane (again, burning oil), mouthing nonsense and leaving.  If you can't understand why some people here might be a little bit annoyed with these antics, I'm afraid I don't know what to tell you.

She's like the visitor that shows up at your door unannounced and uninvited, then enters and walks around without taking her shoes off and eats some of your food off your table before leaving.  If you really cared about people I would suggest instead that you should visit struggling families in Abasand, Beacon Hill, Waterways, Stone Creek Saprae Creek, Anzac or Wood Buffalo, areas which were devastated by last May's forest fire.  Why not visit a local first responder who lost their own home to the fire (and there were many)?  Why not visit a Keyano college student who is stressed out over whether there will be a job for them upon graduation.  Why don't you talk to Chief Jim Boucher or any member of the Fort McKay First Nation and how our industry benefits them.  (Oh right, you WERE asked that question and ducked it.)  Rather than engage in reasoned debate or even respond to a reasonable question, you simply ran away because it challenged the narrative you are trying to push.  Please, don't come here and tell us that you're not against us.

Sorry, Ms. Fonda but being a celebrity and an exercise guru does not make you informed on our industry.  Far from it.  You should stick to yoga and the things you know.  Truth is, Fonda is NOT on our side.  It's akin to playing a hockey game in overtime with Ms. Fonda over in the corner kicking around a soccer ball (or flopping about on a yoga mat.)  This doesn't mean you aren't entitled to your own opinion but you are not entitled to your own facts.

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