Avatar director James Cameron’s recent criticism of Alberta’s oilsands industry has generated another invitation to visit the province to see the situation first-hand.

An Alberta First Nations leader and environmental advocate said he hopes he has convinced Cameron to see the effects of the oilsands.

George Poitras, a long-time opponent of the oilsands, said he had a personal meeting with Cameron in the director’s hotel room in New York City on Saturday.

Both men attended the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, where a special screening of Cameron’s environmental-themed blockbuster was arranged. The Ontario-born Cameron also took part in a panel discussion on indigenous issues.

Poitras, the former chief of the Mikisew Cree who live near Fort Chipewyan, north of Edmonton, said he invited Cameron to visit Alberta to see what he calls the environmental “devastation” of the oilsands industry.

“He was happy to accept the invitation,” Poitras said yesterday in a phone interview from New York, though he noted that no formal arrangements for such a visit have been made.

“He was very interested and he wants to learn more about it.”

Cameron couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

It’s the second invitation Cameron has received to look at the oilsands. Premier Ed Stelmach recently said the director should come to the province to see areas of oilsands developments that have been reclaimed or hear about the careful monitoring of the industry — perhaps even take a canoe trip.

The famous director has said while he doesn’t know much about the oilsands, he knows they’re a “black eye” on Canada’s image as an environmental leader.

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