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Ethical Oil: The Case for Canada's Oil Sands First Edition Edition

4 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0771046414
ISBN-10: 0771046413
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"[Levant's book] has clearly had a huge impact on the debate."
Calgary Herald

"Ethical Oil provides some desperately needed perspective."
National Post

"Compelling....Ethical Oil posits some uncomfortable answers, making it a challenging and provocative read."
Halifax Chronicle-Herald

About the Author

EZRA LEVANT is a lawyer, journalist, and political activist. As the publisher of Western Standard magazine, he was charged by the Government of Alberta for publishing the Danish cartoons of Mohammed. He is a frequent radio talk show guest known for his plain-spoken opinions, and he has written columns for media throughout North America. His most recent book, Shakedown, was a national bestseller.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: McClelland & Stewart; First Edition edition (September 14, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0771046413
  • ISBN-13: 978-0771046414
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,784,892 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
To begin with, I'd like to acknowledge that Levant's book is full of interesting and useful information about the social, economic, and political world of oil. He makes some strong arguments that Alberta's oilsands aren't nearly the villain that many make them out to be. But he weaves his research together with a logic that is at times convoluted and sometimes seems to miss the point completely.

Early in the book, Levant lambastes advocacy groups who applied so much pressure to Talisman Resources that the company eventually pulled out of Sudan. He notes that Talisman had done much for human rights in this highly corrupt dictatorship and that when they pulled out, it was a disaster for the people, possibly even a factor in the Darfur genocide. Okay, granted. Given this, how does encouraging America to invest in the 'ethical oil' of Alberta's oilsands help places like Sudan? His argument is a valid criticism of overzealous activists, but it doesn't say anything about the oilsands (except perhaps, "Activists have been wrong before, so they could be wrong again," but that doesn't make for a very powerful argument).

Levant's discussion of ethical stock options really left me scratching my head. Useful and eye-opening information, to be sure. But how does the fact that stock companies that claim to be ethical apparently invest in everything from Three Mile Island, a Chinese-Tibetan railroad, and tobacco to Alberta's oilsands further the case that the oilsands are ethical? To be sure, he harnesses this topic as one more way to mock those whom he at various points in the book refers to as "fair trade coffee-drinking, Prius-driving, Green Party-voting, recycler[s] who dabble in vegetarianism," Che-T-shirt wearers, and "bicycle-riding, hemp-wearing investor[s]".
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Format: Kindle Edition
This latest book from Ezra Levant was released last Tuesday. As the subtitle suggests, _Ethical Oil_ is an impenitent and unapologetic "case for Canada's oilsands". Though it may be lost on many who are unfamiliar with Levant, this book shares an interesting link with his previous book, _Shakedown_.

One of the objectives of _Shakedown_ - which, I dare say, was largely successful - was the denormalization of Canada's Human Rights Commissions (CHRCs). Levant sought to change public perception of the CHRCs from that of general positivity to general disgust such that any future discussions about the CHRCs would be over before they begin.

_Ethical Oil_ is also about denormalization. In arguing his case for Alberta's oil sands oil, Levant seeks to denormalize the denormalization that a myriad of critics are engaged in against the oil sands. Says Levant about the question of supporting the oil sands: "It's an important question to ask because critics of Canada's oil sands complain that the oil isn't just environmenally dirty but somehow has moral failures, that it is inherently evil. It's an attempt to denormalize the oil sands, to make them so morally repugnant that any debate about them is over before it starts." (p. 19)

I suppose you could say that two denormalizations amount to normalization. Levant seeks to normalize Alberta's oil sands.

The methodology of _Ethical Oil_ is to argue for the oil sands from a politically liberal world-and-life view. The question this methodology is employed to answer is not "whether we should use oil sands oil instead of some perfect fantasy fuel that hasn't been invented yet. Until that miracle fuel is invented, the question is whether we should use oil from the oil sands or oil from other places in the world that pump it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you've been scammed by "Greenpeace" or naively donate to them, or a host of other environmental fronts, perhaps you should not read this book. You may wish to slash your wrists afterwards.

Levant thoroughly documents the double standards and hypocrisy of the ethical funds and environmental activists which act as unquestioning quislings for a rogues' gallery of overseas' oil producers which are setting out to undermine Canada’s wonderful oil resource - - most with very nasty CV's, appalling environmental practices and brutal regimes. The book also documents and exposes some of the dishonestly, fraudulent anti-oil sands’ claims that have been made within Canada and relayed internationally by an unquestioning media.

An excellent, well-crafted and very enlightening read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ezra states what most are afraid to even whisper.
The West has to break its addiction to oil that comes from regimes that are opposed to our basic tenets. It would be so much simpler if we were talking about things other than oil. Ezra makes a solid stand once again for what is right.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
At least the author admits to be polemic (subtitle is "The Case for Canada's Tar Sands"). Two thirds of the book makes the point that it is better for the world (although he focusses on the US), to get its oil from a friendly, non-Islamist, non-socialist source - namely Canada. That supposedly makes the Tar Sands the "ethical" choice. He does not discuss in any rational way whether or not unleashing the CO2 involved in total Tar Sands consumption does to global warming. Nor does he bring up the cost of this form of oil is 2-3 times that of crude oil and more costly than solar energy even right now. Nor does it address the fact that 4.5 liters of water (a dwindling and essential resource) has to be used to produce 1 liter of dirty oil. Possible actions (such as full implementation of Alberta's Tar Sands) must address all the results (good and bad) of that given action not just ones that support their desired stance.

Personally I do not like sarcasm and this book is full of it pointed at environmentalists in general. As a holder in a MS in Environmental Management, I know the onerous burdens of environmental regulations (risk assessments, etc.) and believe they are overly burdensome. But bad health effects and effects on natural resources have to be sensibly assessed. Levant attempts to laugh it off.
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