Former federal Conservative operative, Alykhan Velshi, is at it again.
As Immigration Minister Jason Kenney‘s communications director, earlier this year, Velshi stirred controversy when he used Canadian government stationery while canvassing for Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party. Now he’s lobbying for the much-maligned Canadian oil-sands industry.
Velshi’s new weapon is the just-launched blog EthicalOil.org. And, of course, social media.
Initial images and videos on the blog are crude, erroneous and alarmist. Velshi’s chief targets are Canadians. The tactic… think the official propaganda that accompanied the 2003 US invasion of Iraq.
The blog’s effort to “educate” us about the benefits of Canada’s dirty tar sands only succeeds in insulting our collective intelligence. Velshi employs shock therapy to force Canadians to embrace his message. He seeks to silence critics.
No one can dispute that oil from Saudi Arabia, Iran and other rogue regimes is “conflict oil”. Human rights violations are rampant in these countries.
But to suggest that Canada’s tar sands are “ethical”, that they do exactly the opposite of Saudi Arabia’s blood oil, please! Velshi claims that our “ethical oil” employs aboriginal peoples. It funds our global peacekeeping efforts. It helps elect Canadian women into political office.
Critics of Canada’s tar sands do not condone the human rights violations in foreign oil-producing countries. They’re concerned about the environmental and Canadian human cost of our tar sands. Environmentalists have proven beyond doubt the tar sands mining activities cause global warming. Then, of course, the ugly open pits!
We do not stone women to death as they do in Iran. But our tar sands mining activities are killing First Nations peoples. Only slowly. Our tar sands are destroying the environment and livelihoods of entire communities.
In Alberta, the Beaver Lake Cree Nation has for years been fighting tar sands developments threatening its hunting and fishing territories. The industry has reportedly contaminated water supplies around the Cree communities of Forte Chipewyan. That’s no small human rights abuse. Last year, the United Nations declared access to clean water a basic human right.
The EthicalOil.org blog also claims that the tar sands fund Canada’s peacekeeping efforts. What peacekeeping? Canada, the peacekeeper and level-headed arbiter of global conflicts, died the day Stephen Harper first assumed office. Canada now solves complex global issues militarily.
The EthicalOil.org blog has the wrong target in its crosshairs. Canadians do not travel all the way to Saudi Arabia to fill up their tanks with conflict oil. The billion-dollar Canadian oil-industry imports it. And Ottawa’s economic policies make it all possible.