On CBC’s Edmonton AM radio show this morning, co-host Lydia Neufeld asked Alberta journalist and author Andrew Nikiforuk how Wiebo Ludwig, who died on his farm just north of Hythe, Alberta on April 9 from esophagal cancer, would be remembered by Albertans.
Nikiforuk, the author of Saboteurs: Wiebo Ludwig’s War Against Big Oil, replied that he thought Ludwig would be remembered in different ways by Albertans.
Nikiforuk is right that in a province with roughly 3.7 million residents, there will be a diversity of views on the man who waged such a bitter and controversial battle against the oil and gas industry.
But I think the majority of Albertans will remember Ludwig as a terrorist who should have rotted in jail.
I’m not blogging today to pass judgement on Ludwig, though. Instead, his death got me thinking about the man and his battles with an industry that is the economic backbone of Alberta.
Whatever view you have of Ludwig, in some ways he wasn’t very different from a lot of other Albertans. He was big on being self sufficient, he was deeply religous and he had a healthy respect for nature.
Ludwig also had a problem with the industry’s habit of flaring gas, something many Albertans aren’t keen about, either. And as we reflect on Ludwig’s passing, it’s fair to wonder if Alberta could produce another Ludwig-like individual on another controversial issue – hydraulic fracturing.