Ethical Oil interview on the Michael Coren Show

I’m so grateful to Michael Coren for giving me a full hour to talk about Ethical Oil on his show. SDA Matt was kind enough to YouTube the interview; here are the clips. What do you think?

Ezra Levant

More reviews, and some media clips

What a great review in Wednesday’s Financial Post by Peter Foster. May I invite you to read the whole thing; here is just one small excerpt:

Mr. Levant has certainly already raised the ire of his opponents. Police had to be called to a book signing in Saskatoon. Matt Price, policy director of Environmental Defence, wrote to The Globe and Mail: ‘So Ezra Levant thinks it’s somehow more ethical to replace dictator-supporting, planet-cooking oil with dictator-free tar sands oil that cooks the planet even faster?”

Last week the CBC’s Jian Ghomeshi held a “debate” between Mr. Levant and Mr. Nikiforuk. Mr. Levant steamrollered both of them (it inevitably turned out to be two against one). I could almost have felt sorry for Mr. Nikiforuk if he hadn’t started out by suggesting that oil was either “The Devil’s tears” or “The Devil’s Excrement.” With imagery like that, you know that objectivity has already gone out the window. Ethical Oil provides some desperately needed perspective.

I actually thought Jian was even-handed, and it was a great opportunity to talk with his large audience, which is exactly the target market for my book: liberal idealists. But judge for yourself: here’s the audio link to the debate.

Yesterday I spoke at the Economic Club of Canada, at an event sponsored by the National Citizens Coalition. Here is a report from that speech by the National Post, and one by the Sun.

I was so busy that I didn’t have time to post my Sun column from yesterday. Not surprisingly, it’s about Ethical Oil, too! Here it is:

My new book, Ethical Oil, went on sale last Tuesday, and within three days no fewer than five different corporate lobbyists debated me on TV and radio.

They told me I’m being too judgmental of oil companies, and that my attempts to measure the ethics of oil were a distraction from more important issues.

And they ignored me when I asked them about their carbon footprint — jet-setting around the world.

To be clear, these five spin doctors weren’t working for any oil company themselves — they work for Greenpeace, the multi-national entity headquartered in Europe.

And the ethical track record they were trying to get me to ignore was that of Saudi Arabia and Iran, not Canada.

I wanted them to admit Canada’s oil ethics are superior to those of OPEC countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran and Nigeria. They refused to do so — in fact, it was like pulling teeth even to get them to admit that those other countries had moral failings.

None of the five — including Greenpeace Canada’s executive director, and Greenpeace International’s global warming campaigner — would even admit Canada is a morally superior country to Saudi Arabia, a theocratic dictatorship where women have no rights, foreign migrants do the dirty work, and that finances terrorists.

What’s going on here?

Greenpeace is great at marshalling the language of moral disgust when dealing with Canada. They call our oil “dirty oil,” actually claim our oil “kills” people, and they’ve branded Canada a “climate criminal.”

That’s over the top — standard operating procedure for Greenpeace, which is second only to PETA for outrageous stunts that erode their credibility but enhance their PR.

My book has a simple premise: If we shut down the oilsands, Americans are going to fill up their cars with gas from somewhere else. And if it isn’t Canadian gas, it’s pretty obvious where it’s going to come from: OPEC. Before the oilsands came on line, Saudi Arabia was the number one source of U.S. crude. Not anymore.

Boy, they’d like their market share back. How many royal palaces have gone unbuilt because Americans have been buying oil from us instead?

That’s the thing. The alternative to Canadian oil isn’t some fantasy fuel of the future, with no pollution or other side effects. That’s the stuff of science fiction. Until that fantasy comes true, it’s our oil or someone else’s.

Saudi Arabia knows it can’t lobby against Canada, their chief competitor. That would cause a backlash, and increase demand for our oil by consumers. But Saudi Arabia doesn’t have to say a word, with groups like Greenpeace out and about. They’ll do all the oilsands-bashing for them.

Greenpeace is good at bashing oil — but only in very safe countries. They’ve never had a protest, or even a press conference, in Riyadh or Tehran.

The idea of Greenpeace activists breaking into a Saudi or Iranian refinery and shutting it down, like they regularly do in Canada, is unthinkable — they’d be shot dead by those bully regimes.

I’ve outflanked Greenpeace on the left, and they know it. I’m telling them to care about human rights, and women, and workers. I’m calling on them to remember the “peace” in Greenpeace.

The old Greenpeace would never have excused Saudi Arabia or Iran. Too bad – because we sure could use someone like that right now.

Ezra Levant

New Ethical Oil tour dates: Dartmouth and St. John’s

I’m pleased to announce that I will be adding more visits to my book tour. I’ll have a Victoria event to announce soon, and more Alberta events. But here are two new ones from the Atlantic:

Monday, October 25, Dartmouth
Chapters Dartmouth, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, October 26, St. John’s
Chapters St. John’s, 7 p.m.
I can hardly wait to get out there!
I still have some dates and times available. If you want to host an event, whether it’s a Rotary Club meeting, a Chamber of Commerce, or a university guest speaker, drop me a line and I’ll do my best to fit it in. Writing a book is tough slogging; but meeting people and talking about a book is one of the funnest things I’ve ever done.
P.S. I’m coming to Edmonton tomorrow (Thursday) at Indigo South Edmonton, at 7 p.m. Come if you can!

Ezra Levant

Location, location, location

Do you know how your location information is used?  A recent survey commissioned by security company, Webroot, asked 1,645 social network users in the U.S. and UK who own location-enabled mobile devices about their use of location-based tools and services.  The survey found that 39 percent of respondents reported using geo-location on their mobile devices and more than half (55 percent) of those users are worried about their loss of privacy. 

A few notable concerns over security and privacy: 49 percent of women (versus 32 percent of men) were highly concerned about letting a would-be stalker know where they are and nearly half (45 percent) are very concerned about letting potential burglars know when they’re away from home (a very real risk outlined nicely by

The growing popularity of geo-location tools and services (including offerings by industry giants such as Twitter, Apple, Facebook and Google) means that location information is being collected on a colossal scale and the real and potential uses for this information are just starting to work themselves out – from iPhone photos tagged with GPS coordinates to location-based gaming platforms such as Scvngr that enable mobile users to create their own location-based games.

This increase in the collection and use of location information can also pose unique risks for users.  The survey summary notes that a surprising number of respondents engaged in behaviors such as sharing location information with people other than friends that could put them, and their private information, at risk.  A blogger recently wrote about her experience with location sharing gone wrong and Foursquare was recently blasted for unintentional data leakage via their popular location-based service. 

As we note in our recent submission to Industry Canada’s Digital Economy Consultation, good privacy practices can support innovation by reinforcing confidence in users that they have the right to control their personal information and that the technology they use is secure.  With location information, the usual privacy concerns abound and with each cool, new service that hits the market. How to communicate these risks to consumers is something that occupies a great deal of our time.  Dealing with the privacy concerns of location information during the design phase for new services would help businesses avoid expensive (both financial and reputational) after-the-fact privacy fixes and might even provide those privacy-friendly businesses with a significant competitive advantage

Office of the Privacy Commissioner

Hack Exploits Google Street View to Find Victims – The New New Internet

Hack Exploits Google Street View to Find Victims – The New New Internet

This very short article describes a really simple attack that enables someone to discover your physical location with a very high degree of reliability and accuracy.

It involves using JavaScript to access the MAC address of your WiFi wireless access point (base station). The examples for this I have seen are IE specific. Any malware that has gotten itself installed on your computer could also do this.

Given that information, it is easy to pass this information to a Location Services API which returns a location good to a few hundred feet, sometimes much closer. Here is a website that does this for you.


The Privacy Blog

Updated tour schedule

Here’s an update on my Ethical Oil tour’s public events. For more details on a continuous basis, follow me on my Twitter page. Please note the Dartmouth date has been changed. I hope to announce a Montreal event, and Fort McMurray, don’t you worry — we’ll be up there very soon! (E-mail me with other event ideas.)

Thursday, October 14th, Victoria
South Island Breakfast Series, 7:15 a.m. For registration, e-mail Jean.
Fraser Institute Student Seminar, Hotel Grand Pacific, 9 a.m. For student registration, e-mail Lindsay.
Tuesday, October 19, Edmonton
Edmonton Lit Fest, 12 noon, City Centre Mall. Details here.
Edmonton Lit Fest (panel discussion with Satya Das), 7 p.m., Stanley Milner Library. Details here.
Wednesday, October 20, Calgary
Calgary Enterprise Forum (panel discussion), 5:30 p.m., Petroleum Club. Details here.
Friday, October 22, Calgary
Barbara Mitchell Speaker Series, 7 p.m. University of Calgary, ST148. Details to come.
Saturday, October 23, Ottawa
Ottawa Writers Festival, 4 p.m. Mayfair Theatre. Details here.
Monday, October 25, Calgary
Calgary Capital Connection, 12 noon, Hotel Arts. Details to come.
Tuesday, October 26, St. John’s
Chapters St. John’s, 7 p.m. Details here.
Wednesday, October 27, Dartmouth (NOTE NEW DATE)
Chapters Dartmouth, 7 p.m. Details here.

Saturday, October 30, Ottawa

7 p.m. Crowne Plaza Hotel, tribute dinner with Mark Steyn (non-book tour event). Details here.

Sunday, November 7, Calgary

11 a.m. Pages at the Plaza, The Plaza Theatre (debate with Andrew Nikiforuk). Details here.

Saturday, November 13, Ottawa

Free Thinking Festival, 4 p.m. Library & Archives Canada (debate with Elizabeth May). Details here.

Ezra Levant

The Fear Tax

Thanks to Bruce Schneier for linking to this post by Seth Grodin on the “Fear Tax”.

This is a great essay on the hidden, and possibly very large, costs of acting in reaction to our fears in ways that fail to substantially benefit us. He uses the example of TSA Security theater as an obvious case, but talks about a number of others.

As a concept, this is an important one for us to grasp. It goes hand in hand with our misperceptions of risk. Most people judge the risk of spectacular but highly unlikely events to be much higher than they actually are. The relative costs and efforts of fighting terrorism and car accidents is a great example.

The Privacy Blog

Importance of Buying Worthy Air Purifiers

If you don’t have an air purifier, may be this is the right time to own one as they rapidly increasing in popularity. That is because air purifiers make indoor air healthier and cleaner and by owning one, your home or your office space could become a pleasant place to be.

In spite of its popularity, many people are still wondering whether or not air purifiers are actually worth the buy. In most cases, air purifiers are not only a good buy, but they could also be considered quite a deal.

You may think that air purifiers are expensive to purchase, but, you can never put a price tag on a clean air which is easier to breathe. However, not all air purifiers are the same, that is why it is important that you know what you are buying.

1. When buying them, you need to examine the overall cost of an air purifier. The overall cost of owning an air purifier isn’t just the price that you pay at the store, it is the price overtime.

You are required to change the filter every few months. This can cost up an air purifier, that is why you are advised to examine the cost of a replacement filter, before making your purchase.

If you don’t want to spend for a replacement filter, examine air purifiers that do not use filters, just collection grids. These kinds of air purifiers are expensive but in the long run, you can save more money.

2. Not all purifiers are designed to remove smokes and pet odors inside your house. So, if you are planning on using one whether for smoke or for pets, you should read the descriptions of each purifier thoroughly. Buying the wrong type can turn an otherwise good purchase into one that is not worth the buy.

Using the tips above, you may be able to find and purchase the air purifier that suits your needs and the needs of your home.

One Minute Blog

Motibhai’s new broom brushes off the ‘dumb questions’

DALLAS SWINSTEAD, Motibhai’s new broom as publisher of the 141-year-old Fiji Times, didn’t waste any time setting the benchmark this week at his old paper. He has returned to Fiji with an open mind. He says he remains committed to good journalism and wants to rebuild the newspaper into the fine publication it has been. But he will also be “pragmatic” about the military-backed regime.Swinstead
Café Pacific | Media freedom and transparency

National Post lead editorial on Ethical Oil

I was about to turn in for the night when I saw the lead editorial from Thursday’s National Post. It’s about Ethical Oil!

Here’s an excerpt:

As former National Post editorial board member Ezra Levant points out in his new book, Ethical Oil: The Case for Canada’s Oil Sands, while environmentalists like to insist the three major oil sands projects together cover an area the size of Florida (or England, take your pick), in truth just 2.2% of that area is slated to be strip-mined. In the rest, the oil will be separated from the sand using such processes as steam injection. And even the mined bits are required, by law, to be reseeded and replanted when the companies are done.

Oil sands’ carbon emissions, too, are tiny when put into perspective. Of all manmade emissions, Canada is responsible for just 2% of the world total, and the oil sands for just 5% of those. That means just one-tenth of 1% of all manmade emission in the world are from the oil sands.

Good night. If you’re in Edmonton, I hope to see you at Indigo South Edmonton at 7 p.m.

Ezra Levant