The blessing of Dead Ducks and Horses

Alberta is under siege, we’re pariahs on the world stage this week. The Premier and talk radio show hosts are hopping mad. The nerve of those foreign organizations; putting up actual pictures of our dead ducks, and suggesting we have to stop killing domestic animals for entertainment. Welcome to the world stage boys and girls! What’s entertaining is that this somehow comes as a surprise to people in positions of influence in this province. You spend all your time kicking up dust and then complain you can’t see.

The attention paid to Alberta this week is one of the most positive developments in a long time. It’s an overdue wakeup call and reality check as sleepy hollow evolves to bright lights, big city. The Calgary Stampede is referenced in comparison to fox hunts in Britain and the oil sands are put in context with the gulf oil spill in the United States.

Britain, United States, Alberta; get it?

Welcome to the world stage.
Many Albertans have recognized for some time that with the abundance of wealth, energy and talent we have here that there would be opportunity to play up, to become more than a prairie province, to become a respected participant in the global quest for meaningful quality of life in the 21st Century. And here we are, somehow surprised at the harsh glare of the spotlight.

When you suddenly step up to the big game, the show, the international stage, there’s a lot more scrutiny. But isn’t that a good thing? Would we prefer that we were held to a low standard? That not much was expected of us? That we were ignored? I don’t think so.
Now is Alberta’s time, and it’s not the time to get angry or defensive or xenophobic. It’s time to step up and distinguish ourselves as citizens qualified to participate, contribute, set a high standard and good example, on the world stage. We have made a mess in Fort McMurray, we do have animals dying at our “greatest outdoor show on earth” and we’re going to have to get busy and fix these things.

There’s no reason Alberta shouldn’t be the world leader in environmental stewardship in developing our energy resources if that’s what the citizens and public and private sector decide to do. And a world class organization like the Calgary Stampede will have to innovate to find a way to preserve our treasured western heritage and traditions without exposing our precious animals to unacceptable levels of risk and stress.
Will Albertans be able to do this?  Are you kidding? It’s impossible to imagine that we couldn’t. To those whom much is given, much is expected. It’s time to for us to step up and play at the level we’re destined for.

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