CFN- Ezra Levant’s myth, “Ethical Oil” is currently receiving a lot of publicity as part of the Canadian and Alberta Governments’ push to sell Tar Sands oil to the US and China. The myth’s premise is that it is OK to buy Canadian Tar Sands oil, because it comes from an “ethical” source, but not OK to buy oil from most other sources, such as Saudi Arabia, despite being far cleaner and easier to produce, because of, among other things, “human rights violations.”
One of the reasons Saudi Arabian oil is so unethical, according to Levant, is that women in that country are not allowed to drive. However, is Levant really concerned about the welfare of Muslim women, or is this just a convenient excuse? One thing he doesn’t go into is whether or not it is wise to allow any woman wearing a niqab (the Muslim face covering) to engage in any activity requiring good vision, especially peripheral vision. Would he still be of the same opinion if burkha or niqab-wearing women drove their Hummers outside his children’s school as the kids were finishing their day?
This justification for the Tar Sands poses interesting ethical dilemmas for Levant himself, which he does not touch upon in his book. Levant has shown himself to be anti-Muslim – he got himself a lot of publicity for publishing the Danish cartoons, and criticizes Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi for both his policies and his religion.
In 2010, Levant planned to accompany American ultra-right wing and anti-Muslim extremist Ann Coulter on a speaking tour of Canadian universities, which was cancelled at the last minute because of alleged “security issues.” Coulter herself commented that had she worn a burka, she would have been safe.
Also, as pointed out in an earlier article, Levant faced disciplinary action at the University of Alberta for, among other things, his attitude towards hiring women, so why is he so suddenly interested in the plight of contemporary Saudi women?
Is Levant honestly interested in the predicament of women in Saudi Arabia (or even civil rights anywhere in the Muslim world), or is this merely an excuse to promote the interests of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers’ members and the Conservative Party in their efforts to bolster the Chinese economy? Keep in mind that CAPP and some of its members made a questionable donation of $180,000 to the Harper Government in 2011, during a first ministers’ energy conference.
With the United States’ rejection (at least for now) of TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline to the Texan Gulf coast, the Harper Government is now focusing on selling surplus Tar Sands crude bitumen to China.
Although China has become economically as capitalistic as the best (or worst, depending on viewpoint) of the western world, it remains under Communist control, and has some of the worst human rights abuses anywhere. Tibetans routinely suffer persecution, as does any minority ethnic group that promotes separation.
According to Levant, it is all right for Quebec to want to separate (he is on record as promoting it during their last independence referendum), but not for Tibet. Like many Arab countries, China uses torture to extract confessions from alleged criminals; like Nazi Germany and Communist Russia, concentration camps still exist; and like Communist Russia, political dissidents can be forced to undertake psychiatric treatment against their will.
China also has the highest rate of capital punishment anywhere in the world. In 2008, China executed 1,718 people – the total worldwide for that year was 2,390 – far in excess of the number of Saudis who were beheaded.Why would Mr. Levant be pushing to export vital, unprocessed natural resources to any country with this sort of record? The obvious answer would be that he is more concerned with profits for the big oil companies (Exxon-Mobile routinely makes about $10bn each quarter) than human rights, whether in Canada or abroad. It seems he would rather sell Canadian natural resources at cost price to a place where human rights are only a distant dream, and which is starting to contribute more than any other country to climate change.
Shouldn’t he and his good friend Harper rather be looking out for the well-being of Canadians and of the world’s population in general?
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