Causes With Credibility

July 26, 2010 § 3 Comments

When politicians come to my door at election time and start telling me all the ills of their opposition, I immediately switch the conversation to what they will do if they get into office.

Let’s face it, if the political hopeful is talking about the party in power, I already know about them, so I don’t need someone else’s opinion.

If it’s the incumbent talking about the contenders, then they aren’t focusing on accomplishments achieved while in power and what they plan to do if returned to office.

I had much the same feeling of the non-focussed politician at my door when some American environmentalists launched the Rethink Alberta campaign recently. They want to draw attention to environmental issues surrounding the oil sands in Northeastern Alberta.

Their campaign attempts to get tourists in various parts of the world to avoid travelling to Alberta. One gets the sense from seeing the video, in particular, that there was a recent oil spill in the province or that all of Alberta is an environmental wasteland.

Give them credit for slick production capabilities, pun intended, but beyond the propaganda, I ask much the same question as I do with the politicians at my door. “So, what are your solutions?”

I am sure they’d reply that creating the campaign is their contribution. If you want to identify problems, be sure to have solutions.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I applaud environmental efforts of all kinds, whether these are community-based garbage cleanups in the spring or much larger initiatives such as cleaning up the Great Lakes. I admittedly am not the greenest person in the world, but I do attempt to do what I can at a household level to recycle, reduce and reuse. I also clean up garbage on neighbourhood walks throughout the year.

I’m also a rebel with several causes. I supported a campaign to build a swimming pool in a former community. I’ve written letters to the editor when I believed wrong had occurred. I competed for a seat on a school board. I was a union steward while employed at a newspaper.

The problem with Rethink Alberta is it is nothing more than a smear campaign against the whole province. Essentially the goal seems to be to hurt the economy in Alberta.

I would love to see cleaner forms of energy production. The fact is, however, few people in North America are doing much to reduce reliance on production from the oil sands.

Are the environmentalists taking the shot at the oil sands doing anything to clean up their own country? Are they protesting the damage the massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico is causing?

I created a Facebook Group to draw attention to the environmental protesters. It is called: Concerned About Environmental Issues in Canada? Clean Up Your Country First!

My hope is to create some real dialogue on the issue rather than having some people point fingers at industry and government with no reasonable solutions. Let’s face it, if there aren’t consumers for a product, the industry wouldn’t be there.

I want to see money invested in research to find solutions to cleaner forms of energy. It would be great if more people walk, car pool or take transit to work, for example.

The real answer lies in all of us caring enough to make change and challenge governments and industry to do better.

However, trying to get tourists to avoid Alberta is not the answer. In fact, it could easily backfire because most travellers tend to check out the landscape before hopping on the plane and jetting abroad.

When they open up their magazine or go online and see Mount Edith Cavell or Maligne Lake, they may want to come.

Oh and by the way, when the students from the nearby elementary school come to my door to fundraise, I make them tell me how the money is being used. Same with the hockey players looking for sponsorship.

They need to be accountable, just like the politicians coming to my door and the environmentalists trying to sway opinion.

If the environmentalists really want to gain credibility, they need to stick to the issues and the facts.

In the meantime, if you live in Alberta, you know what we have.

If you’re reading this in another part of the world, check us out. We have our issues and they need to be addressed. What place doesn’t? We also have some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. We are also very hospitable. Check us out for the real story.

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§ 3 Responses to Causes With Credibility

  • Hope says:

    Oh, how true! Accountability “should” be key on all levels of personal, business and governmental matters.

    With respect to the oil and gas industry as well as all other markets world wide, products and services are driven by consumers… consuming, plain and simple. A good, a service or an idea can only be sold to you if you are willing to buy it or believe in it.

    As for the smear campaign, politicians usually point out issues going on in someone else’s backyard to detract from what’s going on their own.

  • It seems tome that some groups act just as individuals act – try to fix someone else’s problems (and by fix I mean point fingers and wait for other to actually come with the solution) and ignore their own. There’s actually a Romanian proverb on this matter, roughly translated to “they see the straw in someone else’s eye, but fail to see the log in their own”.

    The solution to pollution in an area or another is not abandoning it or urging other people to do so. When they idenfity a problem, people should concentrate on finding and promoting solutions and educating others to join their efforts.

  • Erin Steidel says:

    Whether it is a politician at your door telling you why not to vote for the other guy or a smear campaign like this one, it speaks more to the kind of person behind the statement and less about the object of the speal or ad. A complaint without action does little to resolve a situation. Alberta has heard all these complaints before and as a result there have been some very important steps taken to resolve the problems. These are things that the marketing team in the U.S. has chosen not to include in their campaign. Like a politician comming to your door, they need to know the facts if they are to defend their poisition. And that is something I have yet to hear from them!

    Thanks for the post and the facebook group:)

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