The logic put forward by Environment Minister Peter Kent and defended by Prime Minister Harper is puzzling. It goes like this: Canada is an ethical society, oil sands producers are Canadian; therefore, oil sands oil is “ethical oil.” The gaps in this argument could accommodate a bucket-wheel excavator. Would they then say that British Columbians produce ethical marijuana?
What we have with the oil sands—as with all unconventional oil resources, tar shale and coal-fired power plants—is a Faustian bargain: Economic growth in the short term, but climatic and environmental disaster over the long term.
With this ploy Harper and Kent have cast themselves as a couple of Mephistophelean shills. We must ignore their message and instead demand from them an environment plan that shifts us towards alternative energy sources.