“If you’re right and you know it, speak your mind,” Gandhi said. “Even if you’re a minority of one, the truth is still the truth.”
The women and men who form the backbone of our province, our energy sector and our country constitute a group that’s much, much larger than a minority of one. We’re the people who think energy derived from Canada is far more attractive from a moral perspective than oil imported from political regimes notorious for human rights abuses and poor worker and environmental conditions.
But another group, U.S.-based 350.org, is active in our markets making unfounded claims of environmental destruction designed to pressure customers, investors and regulators in North America to avoid Canadian oil – in spite of the fact the Canadian energy sector has shown time and time again its leadership in being fully committed to the highest environmental and ethical standards.
When 350.org promises to “double-down on pressuring cities, schools, banks and other institutions to divest from fossil fuel companies” (including Canadian ones), we think it’s time to stand up and support the energy and pipeline companies that play by the rules, that operate in our neighbourhood, that create good jobs and that participate in our community.
Our volunteer-driven organization, CanadaAction.ca, is just one of many vehicles available to citizens who want to speak out. If you agree with Gandhi’s premise, then you should feel free to tell your elected officials how proud you are of the Canadian energy sector, or write a letter to your local newspaper exploding some oilsands and LNG myths.
Tell them 97 per cent of the oilsands land area can only be developed ‘in situ’ with drilling – not mining. Tell them in the last 50 years of development just 0.7 per cent of the land area has been mined, and every acre will be reclaimed back to nature. That’s Alberta law. Tell them global demand for oil and natural gas is in fact growing and the world needs more Canada.
Let other Albertans know they’re not alone in having worked in oil and gas-related businesses. Same goes for non-Albertans: outside Alberta, the number of Canadian companies with direct business links to the oil and gas industry is staggering. This includes hundreds of First Nations-owned companies and workers from coast to coast.
If Canadians feel unfairly targeted by activist campaigns such as 350.org, led by U.S. entertainers and fuelled with U.S. foundation dollars, then maybe it’s time Canadians said so.
Because when it comes to influencing public policy, there’s still no substitute for just speaking your mind.
Cody Battershill is a Calgary Realtor and founder/spokesperson for CanadaAction.ca, a volunteer organization that supports Canadian energy development and the environmental, social and economic benefits that come with it.