“Ethical” op-eds

I’m really beginning to wonder if the Vancouver Sun editorial staff have gone missing or are vacation or something, such is the frequency of guest appearances on our local paper’s editorial page from the Calgary Herald. Today we are graced with Alberta oil is ‘ethical’. Right. The gist: Oil produced from Alberta’s tar sands, by way of Canada’s human rights and overall environmental record, is “ethically” superior to oil produced in the other large oil-producing nations. Oh, and the claims of the Tar Sand opposing activists are false.

Such is laziness of the writers they don’t even bother with constructing strawmen. What are these “false” claims of these perfidious activists? Who knows…they are false. Ipso facto. But ah-hah, the editorialist has found an environmentalist to agree with them!

That environmentalist is Patrick Moore. While noting Moore left the green movement it doesn’t note when: 1986. It also doesn’t mention his subsequent controversial and lucrative career speaking on behalf of corporate causes. But that is neither here nor there.

The human rights angle is a red herring. Are human rights arguments being leveled at the Alberta Tar Sands? No. Are environmental groups required to utilize human rights arguments? No. Environmental groups use environmental arguments. Human rights groups use human right arguments.

But isn’t it better to purchase oil from Canada than, say, Saudi Arabia the way some argue it’s better to purchase Fair Trade coffee (which, btw, lots of conservative think is bunk)? One has to remember that, while Canada benefits from royalities, oil isn’t purchased from “Canada”. It’s purchased from oil companies. And guess what? The oil companies in the Tar Sands are the same oil companies in the Middle East, Nigeria, Venezuela, etc.

For example: Royal Dutch Shell. Shell has a presence in the Alberta Tar Sands. Shell also has a presence in amongst many other places, Nigeria.

The WikiLeaks disclosure was today seized on by campaigners as evidence of Shell’s vice-like grip on the country’s oil wealth. “Shell and the government of Nigeria are two sides of the same coin,” said Celestine AkpoBari, of Social Action Nigeria. “Shell is everywhere. They have an eye and an ear in every ministry of Nigeria. They have people on the payroll in every community, which is why they get away with everything. They are more powerful than the Nigerian government.”

And while we are told the aforementioned House of Saud is too heinous to purchase oil from, they are apparently not heinous enough to sell them weapons. In fact, they’re Canada’s 3rd largest customer for arms.

Ah, ethics.