Ezra Levant is on the offensive with new book on fracking
Levant believes the best defense is a good offense
The conservative columnist and broadcaster with Sun Media was in Calgary promoting his recent book, Groundswell: The Case for Fracking, that reads much like a sequel to his 2010 bestseller Ethical Oil: The Case for Canada’s Oil Sands. There’s a need, he says, for a more assertive defense of unconventional oil and gas production, particularly from a moral standpoint.
Alberta Oil: Is there really a need to promote a pro-fracking book here in the country’s energy capital?
Ezra Levant: Talking to industry folks is my most important job, even more important than talking to the “anti” crowd. Industry needs the self-confidence and reassurance that it is, in fact, moral and environmental. One of the greatest tactics of its detractors is to demoralize, to make us believe we are evil by using words like climate criminal. David Suzuki repeatedly talks about jailing climate deniers, a term which sounds like holocaust deniers.
AO: What is the book’s overarching message?
EL: I’ll never know as much about the oil and gas industry as an actual petroleum engineer, but I have ways of looking at things that people who are right in the thick of it might lack. I remind people this is not just about Republicans versus Democrats, Liberals versus Conservatives. It’s not a British Columbia or New Brunswick problem. The fracking story is a global thing. And the real beneficiaries of any anti-fracking policy are not some local activists, but Vladimir Putin, and Qatar and Iran.
AO: Do other oil-exporting nations around the world feel threatened by fracking?
EL: Last year Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, an important member of the Saudi royal family, wrote a 14-page memo in Arabic to his country’s natural resources minister saying shale gas and the oil sands pose a significant threat. What he was saying was, “Hey Saudis, we are in jeopardy!. Fracking and the oil sands are a serious competitive risk to us.”
AO: Are Canadian anti-fossil fuel groups receiving funds from overseas?
EL: Some organizations are on the payroll, like the Council of Canadians, that took $1.6 million from U.S. foundations to fight against fracking. Many U.S. foundations like the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Tides Foundation [fund anti-fossil fuel activism in Canada]. A lot of that is western industrial money that two, three, four generations later end up in the hands of guilty, white liberal billionaire heirs. These people don’t want to give up their money, but they want to atone for their great grandpa’s sins. So they fund the anti-oil movement.
AO: What about the Hollywood celebrities who don’t need funding?
EL: I think someone like Darryl Hannah is well-meaning but naïve. From a PR perspective, this activism may make her look super smart as it shows her caring about public policy. But she’s a hypocrite flying off to anti-fossil fuel get-togethers in a private jet. Lenin had a phrase: “the useful idiots of the west.” He was describing several different types of people in the west who would help [the Soviet communist cause]. Some you’d have to pay to spy, some would do it out of loyalty, but there are some who’d commit treason for their own foolish reasons. This third type could be counted as loyal allies without money and without anything.