Recently, I read in the Edmonton Sun, the Alberta government paid over $50,000 to a film group that produced a film called "Dirty Oil", which focuses on the Alberta Oil sands and its detrimental effect on the environment. This film has been shown in the U.K. and is apparently going to be screened at the Calgary Film festival, but not at the Edmonton film festival, which just underscores why we should not be the capital of Alberta, and why we will remain increasingly irrelevent as we trip into the future.
People are wringing their hands over this turn of events, and a prominent journalist published an article titled "Albertans don't want their hard-earned cash used for propaganda", but a deeper look (well, about eleven lines in) shows that the money is culled from the Alberta Lottery fund. That's not my money they're spending. Considering that lotteries have long been considered "A tax on stupidity", I can appreciate the irony that it is going to promote information.
That's what this is. Although I have yet to see the film, and cannot assess how biased or slanted it may be, the province does have money to advertise the "other side" on the debate, if we can find anyone to produce it. The best part is that all sides are being shown, we're getting the information. That's what albertan's want. We do love profit, and love to see our province doing well, but we'd be remiss if we didn't also point out that we love being healthy also. A survery given by the Edmonton Sun showed a full 71% of respondants felt that the province should be doing more to protect the environment around the oilsands.
Is that not the most important thing that we should be produing films about; issues that are important to Albertans? Even if it might be unpleasant or hard to hear. Because we care, and we want to know. Some people are calling for stricter guidelines regarding which films are given grants and which are not (nothing about Dirty Oil rendered it ineligable), but I disagree. Although it would not constitute censorship, as some allege, this money should go towards promote an informed population. If it was slanted, inaccurate, or just plain inciteful, then it should fall under a legal precident as being "slander" or "libel", but until then, keep calm and carry on.