Still, the prime minister was unhappy that depictions of Canada as a “dirty oil” nation were not being adequately confronted by the industry or his ministers. He had become enamored with an argument put forth by conservative commentator Ezra Levant in a book called “Ethical Oil.” It posited that many petro-nations used their oil riches to finance nefarious activities and subjugate their own citizens.
Canada, in the view of Levant, stood practically alone as an ethical producer. In a “mandate letter” setting forth his priorities, Harper instructed Oliver, his new Natural Resources Minister, to become a take-no-prisoners salesman for Canada’s greatest resource.
Wow, was that ever dumb. You take a fellow who, insofar as he is known at all in Canada, is known as one of the nation's most hated men, as your exemplar of rational argument. And you send your Natural Resources Minister to act like him: to yell at any BCer with reservations re your pipelines, to call them dirty hippies and allies of Al Qaeda, and etc. And you expect that to work.
People often complain that progressives are out of touch with the concerns of "everyday people". But the Harper Gov. thought threats and belligerance would carry the day in B.C. That's displays an incredible lack of understanding of the local zeitgeist.