Recently I had a back-and-forth on Twitter with someone who thought that my lobbying of The Ride to Conquer Cancer would make more sense if I wasn’t personally fundraising for the cause and participating in the Ride. Furthermore, at least a few people who have signed my petition asking the Ride to drop its notorious carcinogen-peddling sponsor Enbridge have taken the hardline position that they will not contribute financially to this cause until it selects a socially responsible company as its sponsor.
Am I a hypocrite for asking friends and family members to raise money for a cause while at the same time decrying the cause and demanding that it change?
Let me explain why I think not. I view this campaign as a pro-Ride to Conquer Cancer effort. While I’m targeting the organizers of the Ride to make the necessary change because they have the power to do so, the ultimate target of this campaign is the sponsor that has spilled millions of litres of carcinogen-containing products into our environment and whose core business depends on altering our planet’s atmospheric chemistry. I’d feel like a hypocrite by participating in the Ride and not speaking up about Enbridge’s infamous record.
As many of you know, in honour of my dad, I feel compelled to do something to fight cancer. The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation, which I support through my participation in the Ontario Ride, is one of the best cancer research institutes in the world. I refuse to let this incredibly worthy cause to be hijacked for Enbridge’s whitewashing. I could choose not to ride and cut a cheque to the PMCF, but I think that wouldn’t be wise because a) I think I’d raise less money than I have, and b) I wouldn’t have the opportunity to make a positive and lasting difference on the Ride to Conquer Cancer.
The other point I’d like to make is a strategic point. Simply put, I think my opinion has more credibility and carries more weight with the organizers of the Ride as a Rider who has raised thousands of dollars for the cause than it would as someone trying to effect change from the outside. Having said that, I think everyone is entitled to make their voice heard on this issue since we are all affected by cancer, air pollution, and climate change.
Unless the Ride to Conquer Cancer drops Enbridge, I believe it is its hypocrisy which will continue to damage its reputation and undercut its ultimate goal of improving human health.
The link to the petition is http://www.change.org/en-CA/petitions/end-enbridge-s-sponsorship-of-the-ride-to-conquer-cancer