Monday, 26 September 2011

Ethical oil. From Canada's oil sands. Ethical Oil. A choice we have to make

Ethical oil. From Canada's oil sands. Ethical Oil. A choice we have to make
 


Fact. Last year we bought over four hundred million barrels of oil from Saudi Arabia. We bankrolled a state that doesn't allow women to drive. Doesn't allow them to leave their homes - or work - without their male guardians' permission. And a state where a woman's testimony only counts for a half of a man's. Why are we paying their bills... And funding their oppression? Today there's a better way.

By IAN AUSTEN
Published: September 26, 2011
OTTAWA - Environmental concerns over Canada's oil sands have driven a debate over the process that has lasted for years. Now, some in Canada are trying to change the conversation.
Advocates of oil sand production are arguing that the human rights record of Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern oil exporters makes oil sands a more ethical energy source, particularly for the United States. How successful they will be with Americans remains to be seen. But their argument has clearly caught the attention of the government of Saudi Arabia. Canada's largest private broadcaster, CTV, has refused to show a television commercial produced by the Ethical Oil Institute, an oil sands advocacy group, after receiving a threat of legal action from a lawyer representing the Saudis. Lawyers for the Saudis have contacted other broadcasters as well in an effort to block the 30-second advertisement.
So far, the main result of the Saudis' effort has been unexpected publicity for the ad, which had previously been seen only by a relatively small cable television audience, and as a minor diplomatic dispute.
"They're just not used to being criticized," Alykhan Velshi, a former Conservative political aide and president of Ethical Oil, said of the Saudi government. "So they immediately reverted to thuggish censorship tactics."
Neither the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Ottawa nor a lawyer representing the Saudi government on the issue responded to requests for comment.
The advertisement, which seems intended more for an American audience than a Canadian one, lists various well-known restrictions on women in Saudi Arabia. Its images include one of a woman with her mouth taped shut. "Why are we paying their bills and funding their oppression?" the narrator, a woman, asks.

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