OHV enthusiasts are not the bad guys

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As the subject of OHV trail use in Alberta continues to be a hot topic, I am constantly raising my eyebrows at some of the claims I read by those who support the extreme left views of organizations such as U.S.-funded Y2Y and its sister wife CPAWS.

The commentary by Kevin Van Tighem,”Fake news machine and our land” – Feb. 6 Innisfail Province), uses the topic of fake news to create….wait for it….fake news!

Albertans are being socially engineered to believe that these extreme left eco-activist groups are the “good guys.” Nothing good has ever come of this practice (ask the Germans how Nazi social engineering went for them in the early part of the last century).

It’s estimated that 60 to 80 per cent of readers only see the headline of an article, even when they share it. A cleverly worded headline and a few carefully chosen words and sentences (such as including the word "noisy" when describing trails) go a long way in forming the opinions of a reader. These extreme left groups are fully aware of this fact, and the fact that the vast majority of readers will never do any fact checking.

On Oct. 15, 2017, Annalise Klingbeil of the Calgary Herald (she has since left the paper) wrote an article titled, “Poll says 55% of Albertans support more rules for off-highway vehicles."

The research was performed by the award-winning Citizen’s Research Council at Lethbridge College. What’s alarming here is that the "most Albertans" referred to in the headline were among 1,481 surveyed, in a province with a population of 4.31 million people. This means that, according to the author, 815 individuals represent 55 per cent of Alberta taxpayers. See what she did there?

This is the epitome of fake news, yet CPAWS and Y2Y use this “research” to support their claims that “most Albertans are against OHV use.” Say the word “science,” throw in some misinformation, and boom….social engineering!

The long-term economic impact of the parks being created on PLUZ protected land such as Bighorn will be a drain on public coffers for us, our children and our grandchildren for generations to come. Our government is already adding more than $32 billion to our debt load and now we’re watering down the tourism dollars significantly in a province with three world-renowned, internationally marketed national parks.

“If you build it, they will come,” was a Hollywood tagline. A fantasy. It wasn’t real. Neither is the pseudo-science the extreme left is spewing.

Gord Belsey

Edmonton

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