Stupid Albertans, you say?

Stupid Albertans, you say? by Richard Helm, September 14, 2007, The Edmonton Journal
Try this title on for size, my fellow Albertans. Take a deep breath now. The book is called Stupid to the Last Drop: How Alberta is Bringing Environmental Armageddon to Canada (And Doesn’t Seem to Care).

Provocative, isn’t it? Guaranteed to get some dander up. The book won’t be released until October, but I’ve already had a look at an advance copy and I’ve got to tell you, once you get past the cheap-shot cover page, this is a powerfully eloquent polemic. In his examination of Alberta’s oil and gas industry, author William Marsden puts a fascinating focus on Fort McMurray and the oilsands and the runaway development there, and I have to say it’s a fairly dispiriting, entirely convincing report. Marsden even rolls in a historic bit of little-known Alberta lunacy dating back to the 1950s, when there was serious consideration given to a scheme to detonate an underground atomic bomb, just south of Fort McMurray, as a clever means of separating the oil from the oilsands.

Marsden is a highly respected investigative journalist, and the publishing house is Alfred A. Knopf Canada. This is not some softcover screed from a penny press. I predict it will fly off the shelves next month. And if you hate the cover, consider this. The earlier working title was Stupid Albertans.

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