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not all is equal. what choice will you make?
26 TV ad premieres exclusively on Oprah Winfrey Network (Canada)

Alykhan August 29, 2011 TV ad premieres exclusively on Oprah Winfrey Network (Canada)

Toronto, August 29, 2011 – The treatment of women is the focus of a new TV ad premiering exclusively on the Oprah Winfrey Network, announced Alykhan Velshi of The 30-second public information ad highlights Canada’s oilsands as an Ethical Oil alternative to Conflict Oil from regimes like Saudi Arabia that mistreat women. The ad can be seen in Canada on the Oprah Winfrey Network during commercial breaks*, or on YouTube here. The ad campaign will last for one week.

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“Every year, North Americans buy 400 million barrels of Conflict Oil from Saudi Arabia, a regime where it’s illegal for a woman to drive a car, which counts a woman’s testimony as being worth half of a man’s, and which requires women to obtain permission from a male guardian to work or leave their home. North America’s conflict oil purchases are funding the enslavement of women in Saudi Arabia. Canada’s oilsands are an Ethical Oil alternative. Ethical oil is a choice we have to make,” said Mr. Velshi.

“This public information campaign was made possible because of grassroots support from across Canada,” said Mr. Velshi. “I hope even more Canadians go to and donate $5, $10, or $15 so we can extend this advertising campaign for a second week, to more TV stations, and to the United States.” began as a blog to promote the ideas in television personality Ezra Levant’s bestselling book “Ethical Oil: The Case for Canada’s Oil Sands.” encourages people, businesses, and governments to choose Ethical Oil from Canada, its oilsands, and other liberal democracies over Conflict Oil from politically oppressive and environmentally reckless regimes.


*The ad is a paid ad, and does not reflect the corporate views of the Oprah Winfrey Network

Comments (26)

  1. Pingback: Canaga oil | Alirazashaikh

  2. A Canadian woman of Irish descent, I just watched this ad for the first time last night here in Toronto, Canada. My response was visceral, like having someone cr*p in my mouth and call it an ethical act. When framed within the context of woman oppression it seems to just make sense but who pays the price? What about aboriginal Canadian peoples? These are the anishnawbe territories, their homelands, and they live in discrimination and abject poverty already. You are pulling the wool over your own eyes if you think that they will be the ones who will see benefit from this kind of wholesale environmental destruction. I belong to no group but hold democratic equality and the beauty of this country near and dear. This ad creates a false argument to promote it’s own financial gains, not to defend and protect women of any country, especially this one.

    • Perhaps we should describe “Ethical Conflict Oil” and “Environmental Conflict Oil” as somewhat separate but equal evils. The ethical version comes from countries that ignore human rights and use the profits from resource extraction to benefit the few. Saudi Arabia is an example. The environmental version takes fragile but stable areas and disrupts the natural ecosystem in the extraction process in ways that can never be repaired. It seems that Canada’s Tar Sand extraction is BOTH of these.

      • Believe me when I say this, Canada doesn’t have human rights. We think we do but its all a lie. If human rights stand in the way of corporate profits you can bet on human rights being ignored. I wouldn’t call stealing land from the natives, poisoning them and their waters human rights. Would you?

        • This type of propaganda and hate feeds on the ignorance of the masses. This is why it is so easily brought to the surface when facts and reality are introduced. The irrational anti-Canadian hate it promulgates appears by design to get the masses to accept increasing oppression.

    • Eastern Canada exterminated natives to clear the land you live on. Your Irish ancestors also used extermination to clear land for expansion. And by extermination lets be clear that it was the kind of violence that resulted in the extinctions of many European and North American tribes.

      This is not the history in Western Canada. While your ancestors were raiding and slaughtering aboriginals those living in what is now Alberta were living peacefully, well as peacefully as hunter/gathers can.

      By the time Alberta was being settled we were rejecting the violence that cleared your land and has given you the sanctimonious belief that you have no blood on your hands because you do not live next to a reserve.

      Instead Alberta ended up with treaties, treaties in which you as a Canadian forced on Western Canada. You seem to be suggestion your ancestors methods were better. Well they did stop our rebellions when you took over.

      As for poverty it is only in your ignorance that you can believe that. Yes Canada does have discrimination, you have enshrined into your law, a law once again you force on all Canadians. You have all aboriginals numbered and living under a different set of laws than any other Canadians.

      Those laws give them many benefits, including first option at the jobs created in “their areas”. This true all across Canada (where they managed to survive) and it is true in Alberta. While there are only thousands of aboriginals in Northern Alberta the Oil Sands pumps billions of dollars per year into their communities.

      Any poverty that exists within their community is not due lack of funds and is much more likely due to an economic system that is for the most part outside most of Canadian law. A system fiercely defended by those benefiting from it’s corruption and unfairness. A system that also discriminates against women, not that you would care about that.

      • It was not in fact the Irish but the French and English who initiated European rule over these stolen lands, and my family did not immigrate here until after 1900, but that is to put too fine a point on it because I do in fact belong squarely within the dominant white culture. There is no blood on my hands, I did not commit those acts of violence. But it is upon me to be cognizant that those acts established white dominance and the social structures and cultural milieu to keep it firmly in place. Unrecognized, this creates the discrimination and marginalization of minority groups, including aboriginal people, who in Canada identify as First Nations, Inuit, and Metis. I make mistakes all the time because it is indeed difficult to separate oneself from one’s culture. But I do try. As a white person, I am a minority both in my neighbourhood and even the building in which I reside, so I am confronted by my discriminatory thoughts and attitudes far more often than are most; I’m sure I don’t catch them all but I do catch them. And it was for those reasons that I self-identified in my original post, because I need to take responsibility for the things that I say and the attitudes that I project.

        The new racism has changed qualitatively in that it’s no longer in your face as it was in the bad old days. It’s still there built into our social institutions and hidden in our language but it’s much more covert.

        Haefen, you have similarly made a desperate but failed attempt to remain hidden, covert, and unaffiliated with any identifiable group while pointing a bloodied finger in my direction to separate yourself from any guilt. People who are truth-telling do not make mistakes similar to yours, your inconsistent use of pronouns gives you away consistently: “we” indicating belonging to an aboriginal group; “us” indicating Canadian citizenry; “you Canadians” indicating non-Canadian citizenry; establishing an imaginary division between west and eastern Canada to distance yourself from the Riel rebellions (a leader of one of those “European tribes” made extinct with my Irish bloodied hands, who remain very much politically active and vibrant today); you even go so far as to align yourself with women by trying to distance me from my own group in your last sentence. None of that was about me, Haefen, it was all about you and who you wish to project.

        Your language reveals just about every covert discriminatory attitude possible. An “us:them” stance; denial of racism in the current context, placing it in the distant past as far away from yourself as possible; a patronizing attitude; exaggerating inalienable, equal democratic rights into great gifts from big business; and an acceptance of omission vis a vis marginalization.

        This post is far too long already, but this is an important issue so I’m going to be long winded, sorry for that.

        Aboriginal populations, the First Nations, Metis, and Inuit, form the majority in most northern regions of Canada. These are the people most affected by tar sands oil extraction. If you really care about making an informed, ethical choice about how to meet your future energy needs, please take the time to listen to them, hear their voice. I cannot and do not speak for them, nor does anyone else need to, these are intellectual, informed, and eloquent people who are speaking loudly and clearly about this issue:

        To my way of thinking, now that there is a crunch for future energy needs, it is the perfect time to pressure governments to invest our funds, American or Canadian, into safe, renewable, and sustainable energy sources, not trade the unjust situation of one minority for another, and destroy an increasingly fragile ecosystem.

        The poverty of aboriginal people in Canada is not a product of my ignorance and I would invite you to please read this current information from the federal government here:

        And to quote: “Current Reality

        On the Human Development Index, First Nations on-reserve would rank 62nd, some experiencing Third World conditions, while Canada as a whole consistently ranks near the top.
        Almost half (47%) of First Nations people on reserve live in poverty, with an income of less than $10,000; three out of five Aboriginal children under six years of age live in poverty.
        Unemployment and poverty rates are three times those in the non-Aboriginal community.
        Suicide is now among the leading causes of death among First Nations children and youth.
        The suicide rate is 40 per 100,000 among First Nations as compared to the national average of 13 per 100,000.
        The First Nations population is increasing by 2.3% annually.
        Aboriginal children die at three times the rate of non-Aboriginal children.
        First Nations birth rate is two times the comparable rate for Canada.
        Canadians have one of the world’s highest life expectancies but Aboriginal people can expect to live a decade less on average.”

        Potable water is the key difference between a third-world and first-world country. In this region of the north (primarily populated by aboriginal people remember), the Athabaska is the primary potable water source for everyone. This is what is required for *current* extraction and as you can well imagine, the requirements will spike with a pipeline: “Currently, tar sands operations are licensed to divert 652 million cubic meters of fresh water each year, 80% from the Athabaska River. In comparison, this amounts to approximately 7 times the annual water needs of the city of Edmonton. About 1.8 million cubic metres of this water becomes highly toxic tailings waste each day.” (from: Indigenous Environmental Network, link above). Nature’s cleansing system is the rain and it will wash toxins directly into the local water supply. And if thats not institutional racism then I don’t know what is.

        Haefen, you got one thing very right: “Any poverty that exists within *their* community is not due lack [sic] of funds and is much more likely outside most of Canadian law.” That vague and unidentifiable (for you) thing to which you refer? That would be multinational oil, big money engaged in sanctioned marginalization, supported by the social institution of capitalism which is setting the wheels of current genocide and environmental destruction in motion.

        • IMO Do not apologise for long posts. New or complex ideas cannot be tweeted. I think it was Norm Chomsky that explained that best but I don’t have a link..

          That you feel guilty for acts of racism you have not committed is itself racist and has clearly had an effect on your feelings and understanding of situations.

          I’m sure on one level you can see that by extending that guilt to people of a one race, even a race you would group yourself into, is in it self a particularly disturbing form of racism.

          It would be that same racism that prevents you from seeing that or seeing that all peoples are the same. All humans have in their history violent oppression, even those in Ireland dating back to when hunter/gathers fought each other for territory. Aboriginal history in Canada and the north is particularly bloody and genocidal but only because we know of it.

          The only groups we can claim are peaceful are those that have dominated or those we know little of. I can understand that you cannot see at this time that all peoples history is bloodied, and that all peoples are equally worthy. History will teach that people are not nice to each other all the time. .

          What you should feel guilty for is your support for the Canadian apartheid system that produces all the negatives you have listed. South Africa adopted their apartheid system from Canada, hopefully we can learn from them that systems that discriminate based on race are systems that produce the inequities. Maybe even write your government and demand they end laws and programs based on race and racist treaties and traditions.

          For Canada to work we must stop grouping people by the colour of their skin, or give them rights and laws based on who they have chosen as parents. We must also stop looking at the color of their skin to determine if they are racist including peoples you would group yourself into. Even if you are a racist that is just you, an individual.

          Having a different set of rights and laws for people based on their race or family is at the root of the problems you claim concern for. The oil or other companies merely operate within the frame work you seem to support.

          I understand your family has not been in Canada very long, has little understanding of our history, or that of the part Canada in which you live but for Confederation to work you will have to accept other peoples, cultures and histories, in particular the founding cultures but all peoples, all the different histories, including that of the colonies of Canada. It is wrong to reject our history or to suggest we have not done at least as well as your region. Heck we still have wilderness to protect (which we have set aside a higher percentage as parks than your region). Kinda rich to have Eastern Canada suggest we are not doing a better job than they are. How are those Asbestos mines working over there, well no need to go there.

          I would The Oil Sands or Eastern Canadian Industry do not make the laws. Sure they try to but so do their competitors. (where do you think the funding for your misinformation came from?).

          It is up to us to decide what is best for Canada, and I would suggest that is continuing to develop our resources, add value and ship an every increasing ethical product to an ever needful world.

          An we should do it from a country where a person is not judged or assigned rights are access to special laws and status based on the color of their skin.

          You should spend more time at web sites like this. Then you will see the flaw in your understanding of the real issues.

          Water use and the oil sands would be a good place to start.

          Your concern that ” tar sands [sic] operations are licensed to divert 652 million cubic meters of fresh water each year” while admirable is one based on ignorance. Accepting the 652 number it sure sounds like a lot, until one looks at it in context and sees that the City of Windsor (not even picking on TO), uses 61,398 per year. Gee all of a sudden 652 seems small.

          And compared to Southern Ontario industry it is very tiny, but the biggest concern should be that Southern Ontario use is not sustainable and has already destroyed what you call a water supply.

          The Oil Sands use of water on the other hand is sustainable, affordable, Look at water use of the new plants, many take no water at all from the rivers (yes we have more than one), others just reuse water over and over again.

          BTW there is no such thing as toxic waste water in the Oil Sands. The water you refer to is part of the process, used over and over again, and counted over and over again by those who support Conflict Oil.

          I see I have not addressed the many other concerns you raised, I just lack the time besides I have already posted enough to continue or end this discussion (if you so wish). I should point out that I speak in many historical terms, for example Canadians often refer to people from or living in Ont/Que but sometimes it will refer to Western settlers who just came through from the East. My bad and I would clean that up if I spent more time at it. It is confusing as I belong to many groups and jump between them depending on the thought, sorry.

          Which brings me to your desire to peg my race. That is itself disturbing but very Canadian. At various times people and Canadian laws have discriminated against me because I have been perceived as Aboriginal, White, not Aboriginal and not White, from the north and not from the north and so on. The discrimination I have received from people like yourself prevents me from normally pointing out how long my family has been in this Nation or land. To me it should not matter. I wish that each Canadian was equal, from First Generation to Original Generation.

          Of course I know that is not how our laws are written but I can still argue for freedom and equality and part of that fight is not giving in, not self identifying, not asking for special status or discrimination. (not that I haven’t used what special status I have been assigned)…gotta go no time for rewrite/chekc..


          • You accused me of being a racist in your first post. I explained why I was not, and what I do to battle it on my own small front. Then you tell me that I support apartheid. I do not. I never asked you what your race was because to me it doesn’t matter, don’t need or want to know. You tell me that I want to know…
            You don’t seem to have understood a word that I’ve written. You just assume whatever you’d like and respond to that.
            Thanks for the lovely conversation, but I don’t see any need for me to contribute when you just insert what you want as my voice.

          • Translation of Xljmx’s post: “I lost the argument, but I’m going to claim Haefen doesn’t understand and quickly get the heck out of here.”

  3. The attacks on the tar sands is typical scare mongering by radical environmentalists and anti business left wingers. They pick and choose their targets and so much of what they say is steeped in hypocrisy. The impact of these world wide demonstrations leaves huge carbon footprints. Every HAVE province in Canada is an oil producer – guess who pays for so many of the services and benefits we enjoy. People’s livelihoods are at stake here. I live in northern BC, in a town that experienced 70-80% unemployment recently during this last recession…economic opportunities up North are often few and far in between. As so often is the case, people read and believe what’s in the mainstream media w/o checking out both sides of the story before jumping on every environmental bandwagon that comes along. After Climategate, I take a lot of what the ‘greens’ spout with a grain of salt. Their constant theme of the ‘sky is falling’ is getting old. Have you ever heard an environmentalist say ANYTHING positive…it’s all doom and gloom. I for one don’t buy it.

  4. I love how you claim that greenpeace and wat not is funded by foreign foundations. At least its funded by people with ethics. You r funded by oil companies and lie about it. Try telling the truth for once in ur life. U call the tar sands ethical even though u poison the natives who live there? If thats ethical im scared to find out wat else u think is ethical

  5. One thing for sure… Granola Crunching leftists hate this site. Read some of the comments below…

  6. Thanks Oprah – unlike many who are posting on this site, at least you are aware of how really bad things are for people in many of the countries that supply oil to the US.

  7. The term “Ethical oil” was coined by Ezra Levant, a former tobacco lobbyist. Ezra doesn’t know the meaning of the word “ethical”.

    • He’s also the person behind this site, having incorporated a little non-profit called the Ethical Oil Institute with his silent partner Thomas Ross who is a partner at oil patch law firm McLellan Ross. Grassroots my arse.

  8. Up on the right where it says: “Don’t Forget”? Thats a place to paypal your hard-earned money into a cause that you believe in, but it’s big oil. It clearly stipulates non-foreign investors, but it doesn’t deny (because it legally cannot) Canadian big oil, nor the fact that with free trade, these are the largest multi-national oil investors on the planet. Are you seriously donating your money to billionaires? Does it make you feel good?

  9. Digging up Canada is not going to reduce North American’s consumption of oil in other foreign states, it will simply lead to more consumption, and more issues arising with climate change and reliance on dirty oil, which one day is going to run out anyway. Start investing in renewables and reducing consumption now to prepare lifestyles for the inevitable. No new oil.

  10. Pingback: Keystone pipeline backers use anti-Saudi message for oil sands - OIL WORLD 2011 – OIL WORLD 2011

  11. The tender concern voiced by Mr. Levant et al for the rights of Muslim women is deeply moving. Let’s see, to address their oppressions, should we:

    a) Maintain or increase levels of immigration to Canada from Islamist countries to protect victimized women against further abuse?

    b) Increase funding to organizations promoting education, economic support and health for women at risk in Asian and African countries?

    c) Provide additional support to immigrant services agencies to assist in the orientation, education, transition and employment of newcomers?

    d) Publish some cartoons mocking their prophet?

    No, wait, I’ve got a better idea. Let’s…

    d) Buy more oil from Alberta.

  12. Pingback: TV ad premieres exclusively on Oprah Winfrey … » AreaHunt - Best Blog

  13. I’m very disappointed in Oprah that she is supporting dirty tar sands for economics and not life. This only put a delay in reaching our goals, clean renewal energy for humanity and Mother Earth. I truly dislike this ad on OWN Canada for ethical oil because our lands, families and women suffer too. It doesn’t belong here!
    Dear Oprah please listen to David Suzuki’s recent videos 1 of 15… Like David said you still didn’t get the clear message our economy isn’t the highest priority, it’s just suicidal!!

  14. Pingback: Letter to Oprah Winfrey on ‘Ethical Oil’ ads | OIL WORLD

  15. Pingback: Keystone pipeline backers use anti-Saudi message for oil sands | | OIL WORLD 2011OIL WORLD 2011

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