Turning Kent: Environment Minister’s Tar Sands Comment “Unethical and Hypocritical”
written by Press Release
|New Environment Minister’s Tar Sands
Comment "Unethical and Hypocritical"
by Wilderness Committee
Back in 1984, TV journalist and broadcaster Peter Kent hosted an award-winning feature documentary on the dangers of the greenhouse effect, now commonly referred to as climate change.
In the program Kent inquired about a potential ban on fossil fuels or a 300% tax on carbon dioxide emissions. Almost 30 years later, in this his first week as Canada’s environment minister, Peter Kent described the carbon-intensive tar sands as "ethical oil".
"Our new environment minister sure isn’t wasting any time showing that he plans to prioritize supporting big oil over playing a responsible role in the world in light of the impacts of climate change, which are already being felt," said Ben West, Healthy Communities Campaigner for the Wilderness Committee.
"His comments in his first days in office have been nothing short of utter hypocrisy in light of the work he did as a journalist decades ago to bring light to the impact of greenhouse gases."
The documentary, simply entitled ‘The Greenhouse Effect, won the silver medal at the New York Film Festival of 1984. As part of the analysis of the impact of climate change it explored the disproportionate consequences of climate change on the world’s poorest people living in the global south.
"How could Kent possibly describe one of the most carbon-intensive sources of oil on the planet as ethical? Groups like Oxfam and Save the Children are calling climate change the biggest threat to the world’s poorest women and children," said West.
"His comments are fundamentally unethical. He sounds more like an Exxon or BP executive than a minister of the environment. Call me crazy but isn’t it his job to stand up to big polluters, not spend his first days in office giving them a back rub," said West.
The term "Ethical Oil" was coined by former tobacco lobbyist and Fraser Institute alumni Ezra Levant in his book by the same name. Levant and West debated the ethics of Levant’s book in November 2010.
"Peter Kent is reading right off the teleprompter of a former tobacco lobbyist — this is simply shameful. Ezra Levant is a shrill climate change denier, one would hope our Environment Minister had more sense. I wish we had the Peter Kent from 1984 as our minister instead of this spin doctor who seems dead set on ensuring Canada continues to be a pariah on the world stage," said West.