Democracy- it’s not too radical or controversial an idea to wrap our heads around, really. And yet why does it feel that way sometimes?
I heard someone on the CBC the other day talking about research he had conducted on the quality of various democracies around the world. He found that petroleum rich nations (and provinces) had poorer quality democracies than countries that were not resource rich. He based his research on a number of indicators, such as voter turnout. Alberta Inc. has been a one-party state for many years now- my province did not fare well in this research.
It seems as though oil and democracy, like oil and water, do not mix very well. When you have the second largest oil deposit in the world, it becomes pretty hard to adhere to the values that made your province (and nation) great in the first place.
Yet it is easy to be blind to the influence we have. Being a citizen is a full time job in a democracy. If you are on the stand in a court of law and you say nothing, than that is implied consent. The same holds true in society in general- if you say nothing, then you are saying yes.
Remember Clayoquot sound? The entire country rose up and said no- people boarded trains from all over the country to protest the logging of one of the oldest, most beautiful old growth forests in the world. Now the area is protected, draws tourists from all over the world, and logging companies have turned their attention elsewhere.
All that attention focused on clearcutting- and yet with oilsands development clearcutting of a boreal forest is only step one….
As for me, I will use my camera to shine a light on a dark corner of Alberta- let’s see what we will find, shall we…
For more information on organizations that are empowering filmmakers to find their voice and democratize our modern media, check out the following websites for the Gulf Islands Film and Television School and Current TV: