Tar Sands exploits Canada's human rights image

MONTREAL (Dominionpaper.ca) —As the negative environmental and health impacts of the Alberta tar sands grow, defenders of the huge oil extraction project continue to try to green-wash the endeavour by leaning on arguments that make it appear more environmentally friendly than it truly is. Recently, industry backers have added "pink-washing"—brandishing queer rights to promote Alberta's oil as an ethical choice.

This past September, former Conservative government aide Alykhan Velshi launched a media blitz to build on right-wing pundit Ezra Levant's push to re-brand the tar sands as “Ethical Oil.” The centrepiece of Velshi's campaign is a series of seven ads, presenting two images each: on the left, a frightening scene from a state in which conflict oil is produced; on the right, a polished image of a happy white Canadian worker or pristine landscape.

“[Canadians] have a choice to make: Ethical Oil from Canada...and other liberal democracies, or Conflict Oil from politically oppressive...regimes,” explains Velshi in a blog entry on The Huffington Post.

One of the ads focuses on the treatment of gays in Canada and abroad. This ad also features two images side-by-side. On the left, a scene in which two presumably gay men, faces covered, are in the process of being hanged. The caption reads, “Conflict Oil: Persecution.” On the right, an image of two people holding hands, both donning rainbow bracelets accompanied by the caption, “Ethical Oil: Pride.

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Internet site reference: http://www.dominionpaper.ca/articles/4205


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