In early January, Jane Fonda visited Alberta. Ms. Fonda came to Alberta to join with aboriginal leaders to denounce the approval of two pipelines. More generally, Ms. Fonda came to Alberta to protest the oilsands and their contribution to climate change. This, of course, is another in a long list of left-leaning Hollywood types who do not like fossil fuels. For instance, I recall a picture of a smiling Daryl Hannah getting arrested in Washington in 2011 while protesting the oilsands. James Cameron came to see the province, after he called the oilsands a “black eye” on Canada’s environmental record. The question that always comes to my mind when this happens is: how did these people get to Washington or Alberta in order to protest? Clearly their trips involved the use of fossil fuels. This is reminiscent of David Suzuki flying all over the world to protest the use of fossil fuels. Perhaps individuals on the left side of the spectrum do not have brains that are wired to understand hypocrisy.
This is not the first time Ms. Fonda has done something questionable in order to gain personal publicity. People my age will remember the Vietnam War and all of the protests. Ms. Fonda took these protests one step further, and actually visited North Vietnam during the war, and had her photograph taken sitting on a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun. For a long time after this photograph was taken, the press called her Hanoi Jane. In what can only be called twisted logic, Ms. Fonda has recently tried to (sort of) apologize for this photograph (but not really the visit to Hanoi) by saying she was not against the U.S. soldiers, but just against war. I cannot understand how you can separate war from the soldiers. Further, how can you be against war, but you can sit smiling on an anti-aircraft gun.
Ms. Fonda applies the same lack of logical thinking in her protest of fossil fuels. Apparently in her mind there is no trade-off between economic development and environmental protection. In this line of thinking, we need to stop using fossil fuels completely, and it must happen immediately. In her defence, this is the general mindset of most left-wing anti-oil individuals, including Gerald Butts when he was with the World Wildlife Fund and a noted anti-oil crusader. In her response to Ms. Fonda’s visit, Premier Notley showed she has finally realized Alberta depends on oil, and has recognized there is a trade-off between developing oilsands resources and protecting the environment.
In spite of all her hypocrisy and twisted logic, Ms. Fonda did manage to say something during her visit to Alberta that made a great deal of sense to me. In a reference to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s first year in office, she said you should not be fooled by good-looking Liberals. I regret we did not learn that lesson before the election of 2015.
Frank Atkins is a senior fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.