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Ethical Oil: The Case for Canada's Oil Sands [Paperback]

Ezra Levant
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 3 2011
Canada's "no. 1 defender of freedom of speech" and the bestselling author of Shakedown makes the timely and provocative case that when it comes to oil, ethics matter just as much as the economy and the environment.

In 2009, Ezra Levant's bestselling book Shakedown revealed the corruption of Canada's human rights commissions and was declared the "most important public affairs book of the year." In Ethical Oil, Levant turns his attention to another hot-button topic: the ethical cost of our addiction to oil. While many North Americans may be aware of the financial and environmental price we pay for a gallon of gas or a barrel of oil, Levant argues that it is time we consider ethical factors as well. With his trademark candor, Levant asks hard-hitting questions: With the oil sands at our disposal, is it ethically responsible to import our oil from the Sudan, Russia, and Mexico? How should we weigh carbon emissions with human rights violations in Saudi Arabia? And assuming that we can't live without oil, can the development of energy be made more environmentally sustainable? In Ethical Oil, Levant exposes the hypocrisy of the West's dealings with the reprehensible regimes from which we purchase the oil that sustains our lifestyles, and offers solutions to this dilemma. Readers at all points on the political spectrum will want to read this timely and provocative new book, which is sure to spark debate.


From the Hardcover edition.

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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


From the Hardcover edition.

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.


From the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
42 of 50 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
I'm a liberal and someone who cares greatly about the environment. I am aware however that a lot of causes that are supposed to be helpful for the environment such as recycling are not as beneficial as we would perceive and you can't believe what you hear from biased groups such as Greenpeace and co.

Ethical Oil is Ezra's take on why Alberta's Oil sands are the best option to supply the world with oil. He makes extremely logical and straightforward points and his writing is clear and articulate, I feel sorry for those people who will debate him on this topic ( see the poor guy from Greenpeace here: [...] ). This book should be essential reading for Canadians as the Oil Sand issue is going to be a big topic in our near future and Canadians should be well informed on the issue and get all sides of the story.

Although most of us are aware that oil comes from parts of the world that we'd rather not send money too (Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, etc) we don't really think about it. Ezra's book really makes you understand what you're financing when you're buying oil from these parts of the world and why Canadian oil is the best option.
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Important, could have been so much better April 13 2011
By MM
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All Canadians should read Sept. 2 2013
By sandy
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book gives you scientific information on the oil sands not emotion, however you should be proud of how well we are doing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Educational Aug. 30 2013
By Kaman
Format:Paperback
A very informative book on an important subject. I learned a great deal about various energy exporting sources and their treatment of their own citizens through reading this fine book. Ezra is a passionate man, and I love his passion. 5/5
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19 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
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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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Neo-con shill propaganda
More of the same neo-con propaganda we see every day on the corporate media. I am very upset that I actually paid money for this!
Published 14 days ago by Calvin Wrench
5.0 out of 5 stars No better way to expose propoganda than to use facts
Ezra Levant provides a perspective based on fact. His use of so many references to other published articles provides support to his support of the oil sands. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Neal Krawchuk
1.0 out of 5 stars horrible book
What a biased book written terribly by a crappy author supporting a terrible cause. This book is full of fallacies including but not limited to red herrings, false dichotomies,... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Avery Steinberg
1.0 out of 5 stars terrible, terrible, terrible
While note opposed to the oil sands by any means this book is filled with nothing but rhetoric and propaganda. There isn't one solid argument to be had in the whole book. Read more
Published 16 months ago by The Benevolent Robot
5.0 out of 5 stars An outstanding clear, neutral perspective
Ethical Oil is an outstanding piece of work. Using several neutral, practical measures, Levant breaks down leftist myths about global warming and explains why Canada's oilsands -... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Johnson Jones
1.0 out of 5 stars Attempting to re-label DIRTY OIL as "ethical oil"
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"[W]hat's important for us to remember is that, despite the pipe dreams of environmentalists, our carbon-based economy isn't going away... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Stephen Pletko
2.0 out of 5 stars Great if you like conspiracy theories
This has some interesting insights, you can actually learn a bit about the oil sands (although not much), and Ezra Levant is very funny. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Vasco
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for any Canadian intent on knowing the truth about the...
Ezra Levant offers a whole new perspective on Canada's oil sands through an extensive ethical evaluation of all oil & gas producers on the planet. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Elias Clark
5.0 out of 5 stars a must read for all North Americans
This book should be mandatory reading for all high school students as well as all adults in North America! Read more
Published 23 months ago by Granny
1.0 out of 5 stars ASTROTURF
Ethical Oil is an Oxymoron. This is a book by a Corporate Shill for thr most unethical energy source on the Planet. Be warned/do not support evil.
Published on Feb. 9 2012 by Robert Harrington
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