This whole “ethical oil” ad campaign reminds me of an episode of TV’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, in which Larry David attends the funeral of a man who had succumbed to Hodgkin’s disease. He is convinced that the man had suffered from what he described as “the good Hodgkin’s.” It turns out that the man had suffered from Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which typically has a higher survival rate than the other form of the cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In the end, Larry finally concedes that perhaps “good” wasn’t the most appropriate description; he settles for “better.”
This is a perfect analogy for comparing Canada’s oil sands to the petro-dictatorships of Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and Iran. Good? Certainly not. Better? Sure. But they’re both still cancer.
Note: This appeared as a Letter to the Editor in the Globe & Mail.