Here's a tip for the oil sands: Consider an ad campaign that prominently features lipstick-sized vials filled with Sudanese blood, and remind consumers that none of that blood is mixed in with your own product. Then forcefully suggest that the most ethical thing industry can do is pump Fort McMurray dry.
Because, according to Ezra Levant, Canada's oil sands are the most ethical hydrocarbon alternative on Earth. It's a view the author, former magazine publisher and Sun Media columnist presents in a new book whose title, Ethical Oil, doubles as his recommendation for a new energy-industry slogan. On four fundamental criteria - the environment, peace and conflict, economic justice and treatment of minorities, the industry operating in Canada is heads above other crude producers like Saudi Arabia, Libya, Nigeria and Venezuela, Mr. Levant argues.
"If we actually want to make the world a better place, a more moral place, the ethical thing to do is to pump as much oil as we possibly can out of the oil sands, knowing that every barrel we produce in Canada displaces a fascist barrel from Saudi Arabia, a misogynist barrel from Iran and a dictatorial barrel from Venezuela," he said in an interview.
The bloody vials? It's all part of the argument. According to Mr. Levant's math, if you compare Sudan's oil output with the number of people killed in Darfur and factor in the amount of blood in an average human, you end up with roughly that quantity of blood in each barrel of Sudanese oil.
The oil sands, he suggests, look pretty good in comparison.
And if, like some major U.S. companies, you are working to wean yourself off the oil sands, you should be called a "Saudi-supporting theocrat," said Mr. Levant, who takes particular aim at Greenpeace and anti-oil-sands writers who have accepted money from the group.
He also attempts to skewer some sacred cows, comparing Toronto air quality with that of Fort McMurray - by some measures, he says, the Alberta oil sands capital is cleaner - and pointing out that in a comparison of economic fairness, even the working poor in "Fort McMoney" fare better than those in other Canadian cities.
Mr. Levant has this suggestion for industry: "Realize you're not fighting with guys that play fair. You to make your case more forcefully and start going on the offensive."
Even if that means talking about blood spilled on the other side of the planet.