Edmonton

Alberta First Nations place anti-oilsands ad in major U.S. paper

An anti-oilsands advertisement placed by an environmental group and two northern Alberta First Nations appeared in Tuesday's edition of USA Today, the most widely circulated newspaper in the United States.

An anti-oilsands advertisement placed by an environmental group and two northern Alberta First Nations appeared in Tuesday's edition of USA Today, the most widely circulated newspaper in the United States.

The full-page ad shows a drawing of North America with black oil from Canada dripping down on the United States. It was placed by the Mikisew Cree First Nation, the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation and environmental group Forest Ethics.

"President Obama, you'll never guess who's standing between us and our new energy economy …," the ad reads. "Canada's Tar Sands:  the dirtiest oil on earth." 

The advertisement also contains a message for the American public: "Your voice counts.  Please let President Obama know that he should ask Canada to clean up the Tar Sands."

The ad was timed to coincide with Barack Obama's visit to Canada on Thursday, George Poitras, former chief of the Mikisew Cree, said Tuesday.

"This is the beginning of a process to educate the American people and the Obama administration on the issue of the tarsands and its impacts on our people,"  Poitras said.

The Mikisew Cree and Athabasca Chipewyan First Nations are both based in Fort Chipewyan, Alta. which is downstream from the oilsands developments in northern Alberta.  

Both bands have long waged a public campaign against the developments because they believe they are causing diseases such as cancer among their people.

Premier says ad is 'misinformation'

In Edmonton, Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach called the advertisement "disconcerting."

"That's part of the misinformation that continues to roll out quite often from various self-interest groups and painting Alberta and the country of Canada with a picture like that," Stelmach said.  "Most unfortunate."

"It's one one-hundreth of one per cent of boreal forest."

Alberta Energy Minister Mel Knight said the ad was an unfair portrayal of Alberta, and called the province a leader in protecting the environment.

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