The CBC reports that a new Oscar-short-listed documentary called Downstream has Alberta’s Minister of Propaganda, er, Culture, looking to reform the Alberta Film Development Fund. The documentary, by Leslie Iwerks, is a critical look at the devastatingly negative health impacts the greedy resource-grab is having on local communities living near the tar sands. It seems that the government wasn’t too happy to discover a film they signed off on at a time when the province is spending cash on a global make-over campaign, is critical of the government.
But really, who’s not critical of the myopic asses running that province? There’s been a veritable ground swell of media gushing forth that exposes the Alberta government and the tar sands project for what it is: greedy, dangerous, unhealthy, environmentally devastating, costly, and self-interested. This newest piece of critical media tells the story of Dr. O’Connor, the individual who first revealed the high cancer rates occurring in Fort Chipewyan, a town downstream from one of the tar sands project. Unfortunately, the Albertan government, instead of perhaps listening to the criticism and fact-based opposition to the project, is choosing the path of heavy-handed censorship for future film projects. From the CBC, quoting Blackett, the Minister of Culture:
“Because if I’m going to actually invest money on behalf of Albertans into a film, the whole idea is to show Alberta in a better light, to create an economic diversification to help them, so anything that’s going to be negative is only going to be a negative impetus on this province,” he said.
In a better light…sounds more like fiction than documentary. Thankfully it’s too late for the old boys to yank the funding, but we’ll see how much play the film gets in Alberta. I can only hope it wins an Oscar, and that more people, especially Albertans, wake up and rise up to the industrial nightmare being grown in their backyard.
Image: Sierra Club Canada.