In a few days, Fort McMoney will finally emerge after more than two years of gestation. The experience is going to plunge you into the heart of the black gold rush and let you explore the city, interact with its residents, and address questions to oil industry bosses and environmental activists. The Fort McMoney experience will be a kind of web-era platform for direct democracy. The winner, if there is one, will be the battle of ideas.
Welcome to Fort McMurray, Neil. This is not the place you think it is. Oh, sure, it is the home of the oil sands, and that is our major industry - but it is, as the ads say, so much more than oil. This community is home to thousands of people who live, work, and play here. And some of them, like me, love it. In fact some of us love it so much it feels more like home than anywhere else we have ever lived, and we work every single day to try to make it a better place - and that includes the industry.
It is hard to describe what happened after I heard our local MLA had been charged in a prostitution sting. I cried when I was first told, cried for what it meant on every level, and cried because I - and my 13-year old daughter - have spent time with Allen. I was there when he announced his nomination for the PC party. I was there when he won the constituency in which I reside - my daughter and I were there for his victory party. I was there when he participated in announcements on the twinning of Highway 63.