Here is what Thomson says of the letter:
My email writer, who said he is from northeastern Alberta, suggested that by being critical of the spill I wasn’t just being unfair to the oilsands industry, I was being un-Albertan.I'm all about differing opinions and the sharing of ideas however for me, calling an Albertan journalist "Un-Albertan" for simply reporting on what is most definitely a serious situation and important news story because the way the story was presented isn't "patriotic" enough and doesn't parrot the government line which has been proven to be false and inaccurate crosses a serious line.
“Alberta’s media needs to start exercising more patriotic reporting practices and they can start by reporting more on the actual environmental conditions that are so unique to the region,” said my correspondent, who then pointed out naturally occurring bitumen is so prevalent that on hot summer days “the valley smells like diesel and oil is seeping down the sides of the river into the water.”
The writer was thoughtful and articulate. His point seemed to be we shouldn’t get so bent out of shape over leaks and spills in the oilsands because Mother Nature is leaking and spilling contaminants in the area all the time.
When I think of patriotism I think of the longevity of the state. The state above all else. Not the state's politicians, not the state's industries, but the state itself and the people that are a member of the state. This person who called Thomson Un-Albertan is actually the one I would deem Un-Albertan and not patriotic. It is every patriotic Albertan's duty to ensure the longevity of the province of Alberta, that doesn't mean preserving your paycheque and pension that means sacrificing those luxuries if they harm other Albertans or future generations. This idea that we don't have to do that is the biggest "entitlement" of them all.
In reality this person is the one that is Un-Albertan, putting their own personal success above the success and longevity of the province and it's people. It is this person that is unpatriotic by suggesting that we need a little more propaganda with our news because the industry he likely works in might look bad. This is the type of ignorance those of us who put life above the religion of infinite growth and fiat currency are facing.
Both the industry and the government have been caught time and time again lying. They dump millions into propaganda campaigns to hide the sad fact that it's always been the "Alberta Disadvantage" masked by an escalation in oil prices we hadn't seen before and will never see again. It is those people who want the rest of us to put all of our eggs into their risky 3:1 EROI energy basket that can't even get the government out of debt at a record high average oil price for their own personal benefit that are Un-Albertan. Hell most of the people who work in the industry aren't even Albertan!
I am born and raised here, lived here all my life, and I am certainly ready to lay it all on the line so that future generations can enjoy the beautiful province we once had and quite frankly any patriotic Albertan (and by extension Canadian) should and ultimately would.
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Richard Fantin is a self-taught software developer who has mostly throughout his career focused on financial applications and high frequency trading. He currently works for eQube gaming systems.
Nazayh Zanidean is a Project Coordinator for a mid-sized construction contractor in Calgary, Alberta. He enjoys writing as a hobby on topics that include foreign policy, international human rights, security and systemic media bias.