Humanists for Social Justice and Environmental Action supports Human Rights, Social and Economic Justice, Environmental Activism and Planetary Ethics in North America & Globally, with particular reference to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other Human Rights UN treaties and conventions listed above.


Harper’s embrace of ‘ethical’ oil sands reignites 'dirty' arguments

Harper’s embrace of ‘ethical’ oil sands reignites 'dirty' arguments

Stephen Harper is embracing the notion that Canada’s controversial oil sands are an “ethical” source of energy, strengthening his support of the maligned resource and kicking off a new chapter in the debate over what critics call 'dirty oil'...

The Prime Minister told reporters Friday that his government wants to “explain to the world” that petroleum from Western Canada’s oil sands is superior in respects to crude from other countries...

'It’s critical to develop that resource in a way that’s responsible and environmental and the reality for the United States, which is the biggest consumer of our petroleum products, is that Canada is a very ethical society and a safe source for the United States in comparison to other sources of energy.'

The Prime Minister’s comments build on newly minted Environment Minister Peter Kent’s declaration this week that the oil sands are an 'ethical' source of energy and one that should take priority in the U.S. over foreign producers with poor democratic track records or those that use petrodollars 'to fund terrorism.'

Canada’s tarry resource has acquired a reputation as an environmental scourge outside the country due to its greenhouse-gas-intensive extraction methods and the ensuing damage inflicted on surrounding ecosystems. The Harper government is working to ensure that what Mr. Kent calls a 'bad rap' doesn’t persuade U.S. legislators to take steps to thwart exports from Canada or scare off investment in the oil patch. Environmentalists and members of Congress have campaigned against U.S. approval for TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry oil sands bitumen to U.S. Gulf Coast markets...

The 'ethical oil' defence adopted by Mr. Harper and Mr. Kent echoes a notion advanced by conservative Calgary author Ezra Levant in his 2010 book, Ethical Oil: The Case for Canada’s oil sands... Mr. Levant has helped popularize the argument that oil-sands petroleum is ethically superior to petroleum produced by countries such as Saudi Arabia and Venezuela and other regimes with dubious environmental and human-rights records. By comparison, he argues, Canada is environmentally responsible, peaceful, offers its workers fair wages and respects human rights... (However) A report by scientists at Canada’s Royal Society last month painted Ottawa as an absentee oil-sands overseer and lamented Alberta's weak regulatory system, adding both governments' efforts haven't 'kept pace' with development.

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