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Greta Thunberg heads for Wild Rose Country

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Greta Thunberg. Image: European Parliament/Flickr

Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish activist who seems to have turned the world upside down by mobilizing young people to do something about global climate change, tweeted last night that she is on her way to Alberta.

At the time this was being written -- while there was lots of excited chatter on social media -- no one here in Wild Rose Country seems to know when or where she will arrive.

Nor was there much media coverage. Shortly after midnight, the only mainstream media news story to appear online saying Thunberg was en route to Alberta was from Montreal's digital French-language La Presse.

The story didn't actually contain much new information beyond the contents of Thunberg's tweet, which was in English, even if you can read French -- which we all can nowadays thanks to Google Translate.

La Presse described Premier Jason Kenney as having been "at war" with environmental charities for their opposition to pipelines carrying diluted bitumen to coastal ports, and went on to recount the role environmental issues, especially carbon taxes, are playing in the federal election campaign.

Regardless of all this, you can count on it that someone in Kenney's United Conservative Party government or its "war room" is virtually guaranteed to say or do something really dumb in response.

My money's on the "war room," given past public relations gaffes of its new managing director, former journalist and lobbyist Tom Olsen. But, really, there is no shortage of candidates among the ranks of the UCP who might say something staggeringly stupid. We really should be placing odds on who puts his foot in his mouth first -- and you can be reasonably confident it will be a he.

After all, among the stern teenage environmentalist's talents seems to be an almost mystical ability to make grown men say ridiculous things -- up to and including the president of the United States.

If it happens, it is bound to make Alberta look unreasonable, even idiotic, in the eyes of people all over the world.

Thunberg's message may be disparaged and belittled by big shots in Alberta, but it will also be welcome to surprising numbers of Albertans young and old who will try to make her feel welcome.

Perhaps she can be asked how she fits into Kenney's foreign-funded-environmentalist conspiracy theory, or even summoned to appear before his Inquisition. Someone should probably alert the Swedish consul in Edmonton!

David Climenhaga, author of the Alberta Diary blog, is a journalist, author, journalism teacher, poet and trade union communicator who has worked in senior writing and editing positions with The Globe and Mail and the Calgary Herald. This post also appears on David Climenhaga's blog, AlbertaPolitics.ca 

Image: European Parliament/Flickr

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