|September 18, 2013|
Albertans fire back at celebrity critics of oilsands, Keystone
|Negative comments from celebrities about the oilsands and Keystone XL are raising the ire of Albertans, who are thumbing their noses back.|
Tired of being targeted by celebrity critics of the oilsands and Keystone pipeline project, Albertan officials and residents are firing back and telling Hollywood to mind its own business.
In the latest counter-punch Tuesday, Alberta Premier Alison Redford took a swipe at recent remarks by singer Neil Young and actor/director Robert Redford, who have slammed the oilsands as a blight on the environment and too high a toll for the oil produced.
On Monday, Robert Redford released a video urging Washington to reject the Keystone pipeline. And at an event in Washington last week, Young compared Fort McMurray to Hiroshima.
Speaking to reporters from China, where she's on a trade mission, Premier Redford said Tuesday that the comments lack credibility, given those same celebrities are denouncing the very resource that allows them to get around on airplanes.
Alison Redford says she will continue to spread the message that the oilsands can provide energy to the world in an environmentally responsible and sustainable way.
Locals, meanwhile, are also having their say, with Fort McMurray up in arms, and other residents taking to Twitter to vent their anger at the stars, whom they see as sticking their noses where they don't belong.
In Fort McMurray --- the home base for the oilsands --- a radio station has instituted a ban on playing Neil Young records, a bold move given the legendary Canadian singer's virtually untouchable status in this country.
"Our basic logic is why should we be promoting the reputation of somebody who is spreading lies and misinformation about the community up here?'' Tyler King, the station's program director said in an interview.
"The city doesn't resemble Hiroshima one bit,'' King said, calling Young's comments "ridiculous.''
On Twitter, Kent MacKenzie, who was born and raised in the prairies according to his profile, tweeted this barb Tuesday: "How come oil companies can't sue these #Hollywoodairbags for slander? Or at least make them prove their erroneous claims?''
"All our residents are outraged by the negative comments about our beautiful community,'' says Fort McMurray resident Sheila Chartrand, who co-owns a local catering service with her husband Real in Fort McMurray, which has a population of 61,400.
The Keystone XL Pipeline would carry Alberta oilsands bitumen to Texas refineries if the project is approved by U.S. President Barack Obama.