Independent media needs you. Join the Tyee.


The Hook: Political news, freshly caught

Ethical Oil author lobbied for big tobacco company

The author of a controversial book promoting Alberta’s oil sands is a former tobacco lobbyist, records show.

Ezra Levant’s Ethical Oil made national headlines this year for its argument that fossil fuels from northern Alberta are morally superior to those from such places as Saudi Arabia or Sudan.

Its author was registered as a federal lobbyist for Rothmans Inc. from June 2009 to June 2010, according to the lobbyist registrar. Rothmans is one of Canada's largest tobacco companies, controlling brands such as Benson & Hedges and Craven A.

This March, records show Levant communicated with top officials in Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada to discuss “international trade.”

Levant also registered to speak to the federal government about the issue of an “anti-smoking hotline.”

The Ethical Oil author is a former Conservative Party candidate who stepped aside in 2002 to let Prime Minister Stephen Harper run in a Calgary riding.

Levant told CBC his tobacco lobbying days are behind him.

“I de-registered … I am no longer a lobbyist, I no longer have any interest in the file," he reportedly said. "I no longer follow the matter."

Levant was recently ordered to pay $25,000 for libeling a Canadian Human Rights Commission lawyer in several blog posts.

Geoff Dembicki reports for the Tyee.

What have we missed? What do you think? We want to know. Comment below. Keep in mind:


  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Connect with each other

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, flag suspect activity.
comments powered by Disqus