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Ethical Oil: The Case for Canada's Oil Sands Hardcover – International Edition, September 14, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-0771046414 ISBN-10: 0771046413 Edition: First Edition
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Editorial Reviews


"[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: #2,383,712 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By MM on April 17, 2011
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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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on December 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover
It's foolish to think the world's oil dependency will be solved overnight. "Ethical Oil: The Case for Canada's Oil Sands" is an entry into Canada's own oil debate, as the use of Canada's oil sands may lead to greater prosperity and a moral high ground. Stating that the potential environmental cost of the oil sands is far cheaper than continuing to support the human rights violations of Saudi Arabia, his debates ring sound and thoughtful for both Canada and other parts of the world debating their own oil problems. "Ethical Oil" is an excellent addition to any political science or environmental collection.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By fytob on December 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover
A must read for all.

This is a book that tries to help you see the viewpoints of media, lobby groups and the subsequent 'bandwagon jumper oners' can be one-sided without comparing 'like with like'. It shows that a lot of arguments made against the oilsands are not done in context i.e. proper comparison to operations in other countries such as China, Iran, Iraz, Saudi Arabia etc.

It makes me question why we pick on the Canadian oilsands instead of some bigger players in countries where human rights issues are not respected nevermind emvironmental issues. The answer is because it's easy to pick on someone closer to home where there is more transparency of information than it is to pick on a comparable company or country where transparency is non-existant.

Ethical oil is a book that makes you think. It makes you question what you hear about a subject and from whom. I particularly liked the comments on 'Ethical Funds'. Also just because something is on some companies webiste doesn't mean it's not a misleading statement.

Like "Slow death by rubber duck" it makes me sad to see how we let lobbyists and all types of media tell us what is right or wrong, witout taking all facts into consideration, or comparing "like with like". when are we going to start thinking for ourselves.
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