Disclosure: Devin Dreeshen is the MLA for Innisfail-Sylvan Lake, Alberta and the Minister of Agriculture
Given the challenges Alberta’s farmers face right now, I didn’t expect to spend part of my week fighting with a former celebrity lifeguard about rodeo safety. But there’s much less demand for Pamela Anderson to go bounding down the beach these days, so she must get publicity where she can—and she chose to attack the Calgary Stampede.
The Alberta oil industry has long been a target of celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio, Jane Fonda and Neil Young. With the war on meat kicking into high gear, our farmers are now in their sights as well.
If these folks wanted to make the world a better place, it would be easy to start where they live. Oil jacks litter urban Los Angeles with not a protester in sight. The homeless of Skid Row are a short drive from their mansions—but who wants to get their hands dirty helping real people who don’t get you headlines?
Alberta seems a safe and distant target for stars to attack—generating news with little effort and even less risk. If they ever need to venture here for some media shots, we have comfortable hotels, nice restaurants, and wide clean roads for their air-conditioned SUVs to travel. The impact on the lives of our ranchers and oil workers doesn’t register for them.
We need to change that. We need to fight back. Making sure our province isn’t an easy target is what our government’s fightback strategy is all about.
Our government plans to push back against seductive lies where we see them. But it is up to the public to do their part as well. Social media has turned a megaphone into a two-way conversation—and one where thousands of Albertans can call out people who try and get ahead by attacking our livelihoods and our reputations.
We can stick together and support each other. Celebrities do what they do to make money. Don’t give it to them—let’s help each other. It has been decades since Pamela Anderson had a successful movie or show—but if a miracle happened and she did, give it a pass and save your money. Spend it next year at the Calgary Stampede.