The Time has Come to Talk of many things, of Seals, and trees and Redford and Bardot…

by David Biltek

Is our Premier simply naive, or does she just not get it?

Earlier this week Robert Redford made some comments about the Alberta “Tar Sands” ( video)   and our Premier felt it necessary to comment by saying  that Robert Redford lacked credibility.

If he lacked credibility why did she respond? Does she not realize, do not the high-priced PR flacks  around her understand that by responding to his comments, she elevated his credibility? if he was so lacking in credibility why respond?  Why bother? Next she will be defending herself about these comments.

First, Robert Redford does have credibility, for whatever strange reasons, many people will and do transfer his “celebrity” to whatever he chooses to address. If celebrities were so “lacking in credibility” why do so many advertisers, and politicians seek out their endorsement?

The week before last Neil Young (video) also spoke out about the “tar sands” and was also met with some derision. These two along with Canadian James Cameron were only the beginning, there will be more and “Alison in Wonderland” will respond to them all. Why? Why does she feel the need to defend the oil industry? Why has she become the apologist for BIG OIL?

Why has our Premier staked so much of her fragile political capital on pipelines, and “tar sands”?

Do you remember Bridget Bardot and her speaking out against the seal hunt (Bardot and seal hunt), and do you remember a  Maritime Premier and many others saying she “lacked credibility”, and how successful was  that?

And do you remember the Environmentalists protesting logging practices in BC?. I recall very clearly being in Northampton England, a small “town” ( in England you need a Cathedral to be a City) of about 600,000 at the time and on the outskirts was a popular lumberyard with a huge sign saying: WE DO NOT SELL OLD GROWTH BC TIMBER.

This is how modern-day protest work: they LEVERAGE whatever they can get. With old growth forests in BC, they leveraged support in Europe and put pressure on sales of BC timber in Europe. and it worked. eventually the BC forestry companies negotiated with the environmentalists , compromised on some practices and…now you seldom hear about people tying themselves to trees.

We have seen people opposed to pipelines, and the “tar sands” use celebrities, The Mayors Association in The USA, farmers, ranchers, and cowboys  to oppose the tar sands. We have seen them attempt to have the European Parliament restrict “tar sands”oil in Europe, and they came close to winning. The anti- seal hunt people managed to have the European Parliament close ALL European ports to ships containing seal products. In other words they leveraged, and used whatever means they could to achieve their ends. and THEY THINK DIFFERENTLY THAN WE IN NORTH AMERICA DO.

Watch them start to apply pressure to ITB, the world’s largest tourism fair, or the World Travel Market to restrict Alberta and her tourist operators from attending these fairs; watch them promote to European citizens that  vacationing in Alberta (the “tar sands” place), that they are aiding and abetting in the environmental damage done by the “tar sands”.

Our leaders in Alberta do not seem to understand this, they do not understand “world politics, and they persist in believing if we just tell them the facts all will be well. They do not understand that there is NO TRUTH, only perceptions, and by saying Robert Redford has no credibility they are feeding his credibility and the perceptions that he must be right if the apologist (Alison in Wonderland) for the oil companies says he has no credibility.

For a similar opinion: Gary Mason: Hollywood vs the Oil Sands: Not a Fair Fight

Okay so what should our fearless Alison do?

1. stop being the main spokesperson for oil sands and pipelines, let the oil and pipelines companies carry their own burden

2. stop the instant knee jerk responses.

3. Engage and absorb the critics or as many have said before : it is better to have them on the inside peeing out than on the outside peeing in.

4. Listen and learn. Maybe our standards are not the best, maybe our enforcement of them is not the best. Listen for new ideas.  Make our standards the best, not the best in the world, but the Best FOR the World.

5. Make us proud, proud to live in a beautiful, resource rich province that is doing EVERYTHING IT CAN to be the BEST for the World, in all that it does.

6.Listen to your self admitted mentor, Peter Lougheed: Slow Down the development of the oil sands. Develop a water policy for in coming years, our abundance of fresh, mostly clean water will be more desirable than oil; and be courageous, as he was. It was Lougheed who was shunned at the Petroleum Club in Calgary because of his raising of the oil and gas royalties. He knew what was fair and just.

7. Remember you are the Premier of ALL ALBERTANS not just an advocate of the oil and gas industry.

I have lived in Alberta all my life, I love this province, but sometimes I do NOT like how our province is portrayed and behaves. So just like your children, you can love them but still not like what they are doing and right now I am embarrassed more than I am proud of this province.