An Open Letter to Kevin Bacon

By: Leigh Patrick Sullivan
I was part of the Footloose generation. I used to shake my ass to the theme song countless times at junior high school dances, and have followed your career with some interest through the years (full disclosure: Tremors is still my favorite Bacon flick).

How disappointing it was then to read this morning of your recent slide into the cult of EnviroCelebs regarding the protesting of Alberta’s oil sands and their associated proposed Keystone XL and Northern Gateway pipelines.

We as Albertans are used to seeing certain celebrities getting face time in front of the camera protesting against our energy sector, but have long written them off as entertainers on the downward slide of their careers hoping to grab a bit of the spotlight. We have come to see them as self-serving hypocrites – Robert Redford claiming the environmental high ground while thousands each year attend his Sundance event (certainly not travelling to their destination via bicycle), Leo DiCaprio condemning the use of oil then boarding his own personal jet, etc.

It is common knowledge that these and many other L.A. celebs would not recognize the real world if they were smacked with it.

But for a fan such as myself learning that you would so easily exchange your integrity for a spot on the bandwagon is disappointing, to say the least.

I will refrain from throwing statistics and figures at you, as I abhor the idea of doing someone else’s homework for them. I will also break with current tradition and not invite you to tour the northern section of our province as we did with James Cameron. Come with a bias and you leave with the same bias no matter what you witness.

The facts of the oil sands are easy to find, the truth is public. I will say what you already know, however: at this point in time, the world must use oil. Society cannot function without it, and there is no mass-produced ‘clean’ alternative available.

Therefore, the choice that everyone from the average person to the largest corporation is faced with is this: what source of oil will you use? Oil from such totalitarian and oppressive regimes like Iran and Saudi Arabia, where the terms ‘environmental standards’ and ‘human rights’ do not exist, or from Canada which has strict environmental regulations and oversight?

Would you choose to endanger real jobs for real people in a free and open society in favor of enriching a few world leaders who kill their own people with no more thought than they give to killing a housefly?

To condemn Alberta’s oil sands and the means of transporting our product is to empower and encourage higher oil production from nations where the well-being – the very lives – of many of your friends and colleagues in Hollywood would be endangered if they were to live there.

As you use your celebrity to attempt to sway the general public to your way of thinking, I use my knowledge and experience as an Albertan in the attempt to sway yours. Do some research. Learn the facts about Canada’s energy sector.

Perhaps then your own personal ‘degree of separation’, that between your opinion and the facts of the oil sands, may not be so large.

About The Author Leigh Patrick Sullivan:
The Moderate Separatist

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