Ezra Levant

Ezra Levant

Credentials

Levant holds a commerce degree from the University of Calgary and law degree from the University of Alberta.  [1]

Background

Ezra Levant is a Canadian television and radio personality, conservative political activist, and author of Ethical Oil: The Case for Canada's Oil Sands, the book that popularized the phrase “Ethical Oil,” which is now being used by the conservative government in Canada as justification for the expansion of the Athabasca tar sands.

He is the founder and former publisher of The Western Standard, and now runs his own Sun TV program “The Source.”

In his early years, Levant undertook an internship with the Charles G. Koch Foundation's Summer Fellowship program in 1994, and then proceeded to work for the Fraser Institute in 1995 where he wrote Youthquake, which argued for smaller government and privatization of the Canada Pension Plan. [2]

According to a search of the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying of Canada, from 2009 until 2010, Levant worked as a lobbyist for Rothman's Incorporated, a manufacturer and distributor of tobacco products. [3]

Stance on Climate Change

2016

The world is over 400 parts per million of carbon dioxide and global warming has stopped … it’s paused. There is no correlation between carbon dioxide and global warming. If there was, you would sure see it. But there isn’t, so you don’t.” [32]

2012

Ezra describes man-made global warming as “a theory that has been cast into disrepute through not only the misconduct of its high priests but by scientific observation itself: There has been no measurable global warming since 1998, according to satellite weather data.” [4]

Key Quotes

July, 2016

“I don't know if Donald Trump will be the next president. I do know that our key allies are walking away from the global warming mania of the past decade.

Only Trudeau is stupid enough and ideologically malicious enough to destroy our own economy — and Alberta, the province that he and his father have always despised — by using global warming as an excuse…” [33]

March, 2014

I’m a commentator, I’m a pundit,” he said to the judge. “I don’t think in my entire life I’ve ever called myself a reporter.” [22]

March, 2012

“It is a perverse faith, in that it reveres the “environment” ahead of people who live in it. It is a most ascetic superstition, in that it demands we live less happily and less freely and with less prosperity– the opposite of, say, the Protestant work ethic that helped build Ontario.” [4]

September, 2010

“And if our goal as moral citizens is to make the world a better place, then there is only once choice: to pump as much oil as we possibly can out of Fort McMurray. Pump and steam and dig and drill and get that oil out of the sand in any and every way we can. Every drop of oil from Alberta is one less drop from some fascist theocracy, or some brutal warlord; one less cent into the treasuries of Russia's secret police and al-Qaeda's murderers.” [5]

“The famous statue of Christ the Redeemer that overlooks Rio de Janeiro is only 130 feet tall. McGuinty's eco-idols [Wind Turbines] will be three times that height, but will serve the same imposing purpose.

“Do not confuse McGuinty's belief system with a true faith. It is a superstition, the tenets of which are capable of being scientifically disproven.

Key Deeds

November, 2016

The Financial Post reports that Ezra Levant was successful in his battle with the United Nations to have his staff members accredited to cover the climate change conference in Morocco. While he was granted two spots, Ezra continued to push for a third. [26]

DeSmog notes that during Levant's campaign for accreditation, he has repeatedly shown footage from the last major climate change talks in Paris to bolster his case. He claims that the footage shows journalists in the Paris media room “jumping for joy”: [27]

Levant has told viewers: “Here’s a clip from the UN global warming convention last year showing journalists in the press room cheering.” [28]

In another Rebel video, Levant says: “The most striking video clip of the entire Paris conference last year was when an international agreement was finally announced and the media room burst into applause and cheering. Some actually jumping for joy – you know, the way objective reporters do.” [29]

However, DeSmog found that the video shown was not of journalists, and was not filmed in “the media room,” as Levant claimed. Instead the clip shows a side room apart from the media center where civil society groups who campaigned for action on climate change were watching the final moments of the climate talks. [27]

The clip was originally shared by a passing journalist, Miranda Johnson of The Economist, who confirmed that the Rebel did not seek permission to use her footage, and if it had, would have been refused. Original video below: [27]

The Rebel is crowfunding its trip to Marrakech. The Rebel writes: “One thing we won’t scrimp on is security, though — especially in a place like Morocco. So we need a driver/handler to make sure we get to and from the conference site each day safely.”

COP22's website notes that vsitors have access to official shuttle buses running 12 routes, each route covered from 6am until midnight and, in peak hours, running every 15 minute. Levant is trying to raise more than CA$27,000 for the India trip, including $14,000 to hire a private security firm. [30], [31]

October, 2016

After the United Nations declined accreditation to three of The Rebel's journalists who planned to cover the climate change conference in Marrakech, Morocco. Ezra Levant launched a petition titled ”Tell the UN to stop blacklisting our journalists!” and argues that the ban is an attack on free speech. [23]

The journalists Levant planned to send included Sheila Gunn Reid, Alberta bureau chief, Meaghan MacSween, a producer, formerly with Global News and Sun News Network, and Alex Jones also formerly of Sun News Network. According to screenshots shared by Levant, the UN has declined the application because “advocacy media outlets do not qualify for media accreditation.” [23]

Earlier in September, Desmog attended a screening of Marc Morano's Climate Hustle in Edmonton, Alberta, where Ezra Levent outlined some of his plans for the upcoming conference in Marrakech. Levant told the audience that  “we will be asking questions and turning the camera around to show the other journalists,” to ridicule reporters who he describes as “cheerleaders” for the UN. Answering questions later, Levant said he planned to “put on a disguise” at the conference. [24]

During a Q&A session following the Climate Hustle screening, Levant says that climate change denier Marc Morano will be an “honorary Rebel journalist” in Morocco. Gunn Reid, one of Levant's proposed Morocco team, described people who believe in global warming as a “doomsday cult.” [24]

Levant has described his attempts to get accreditation as a “fight for press freedom.” In an October 19 episode of The Ezra Levant Show, Levant said “There's no bigger bully than the U.N.” [25]

December 29, 2015

In an episode of The Ezra Levant Show titled “Best of 2015 - Climate change hysteria,” Levant goes on to show “some of the most inaccurate global warming predictions ever.” Guests include Lorrie Goldstein of the Toronto Sun and prominent climate change denier Marc Morano of ClimateDepot.com. [32]

The world is over 400 parts per million of carbon dioxide and global warming has stopped […] it’s paused,” Levant said. “There is no correlation between carbon dioxide and global warming. If there was, you would sure see it. But there isn’t, so you don’t.” [32]

March 7, 2014

Ezra Levant testified in his defense in his libel suit. The National Post reported that “His evidence-in-chief was part soliloquy, part lecture and all theatre, as befits the man who begins his prime-time, five-days-a-week show on Sun TV with a monologue which, as he told Judge Wendy Matheson, once went on so long 'we had to cancel the commercials' because it had morphed into a 'rant' of an hour.” [22]

The Post notes that Ezra, by his own admission, is not a journalist: “I’m a commentator, I’m a pundit,” he said to the judge. “I don’t think in my entire life I’ve ever called myself a reporter.” [22]

Levant is alleged to have libelled Khurrum Awan, a Saskatchewan lawyer who had been part of a group of Osgoode Hall law students that had made formal hate-speech complaints regarding a Maclean's magazine cover story bout Muslims. Levant had live-blogged at Awan's human rights hearing in Vancouver, calling Awan a liar.  [22]

In court, Levant repeated the alleged libels and “used the word 'liar' because 'that’s what it was.'” [22]

April, 2012

Ezra Levant's EthicalOil.org, which some argue is a lobby organization for the oil industry, accused the David Suzuki Foundation of “Partisan and Political activity,” and demanded that the foundation's charitable status be reviewed.

The complaint was made in a 44-page letter to the CRA.

March 9, 2011

Ezra Levant and Alykhan Velshi worked together to form the Ethical Oil Institute and its website EthicalOil.org.

DeepClimate prepared an in-depth report on the formation of the “grassroot” organization, and also reveals that both Levant and Velshi shared involvement with the Harper-led conservatives. [6]

Levant's other partner at the Institute is Calgary lawyer Thomas Ross, who is a partner at the law firm McLellan Ross and one of the leaders of the firm’s OilSandsLaw.com initiative (“dedicated to working with those operating in the Canadian oil sands”).

The same search lists him as a past lobbyist for “Achieve Energy Services,” a construction management company that specializes in pipeline construction.

DeSmogBlog also reported connections between EthicalOil.org, oil interests, and the Harper Government, as well as other conservative leaders and groups. At the core is “GoNewclear,” a communications agency run by Hamish Marshall, husband of former Ethical Oil spokesperson Kathryn Marshall and a former Conservative campaigner.

EthicalOil.org has been a strong proponent of the Northern Gateway Pipeline Project, and launched the website OurDecision.ca to push for the project's approval.

EthicalOil.org's former manager Kathryn Marshall refused to answer the question of whether the Ethical Oil Institute received funding from Enbridge, which many viewed as suggesting a possible connection.

December, 2011

Ezra Levant featured well-known climate change skeptic Lord Christopher Monckton, whom Ezra describes as “a bit of a hero of mine” as a guest on his show, The Source. Ezra later describes Monckton as “a bit of a scientist,” not mentioning Monckton's primary background is in journalism. [7], [8]

Ezra asks Monckton about Britain “foolishly signing on to these foreign treaties like Kyoto…” and goes on to mention a “socialist experiment” and “junk science” in the same statement. He later refers to Monckton's skepticism of the “pagan faiths of environmentalism.”

Monckton describes the implementation of climate change policies as “taking away our democracy little by little so no one notices until suddenly it's too late … and that is what I'm trying to stop.”

Monckton is not the only climate change skeptic that Ezra has interviewed on his show. In January, 2012, Levant featured Timothy Ball on his show and discussed Ball's belief that there has been no global warming since 1998, a debunked argument that has long been popular with climate change skeptics. [9]

Levant also featured skeptic Tom Harris, previous director of the High Park Group lobbying firm, who believes that the sun is behind climate change (another popular, and largely debunked climate change skeptic talking point).  [10]

September, 2010

Ezra Levant published Ethical Oil: The Case for Canada's Oil Sands, which makes a case for further developing Alberta's tar sands and sister projects. His book has popularized the concept of “ethical oil” which has been used by the the Conservative government of Stephen Harper and provided the inspiration behind Alykhan Velshi's “Ethical Oil” campaign in the United States and Canada.

Levant's basic thesis is that the Canadian petroleum industry is “heads above other crude producers like Saudi Arabia, Libya, Nigeria and Venezuela” which is the equivalent of conflict oil.

According to Levant, “If we actually want to make the world a better place, a more moral place, the ethical thing to do is to pump as much oil as we possibly can out of the oil sands, knowing that every barrel we produce in Canada displaces a fascist barrel from Saudi Arabia, a misogynist barrel from Iran and a dictatorial barrel from Venezuela.” [11]

Levant also said that “if they [Liberals] believe global warming is an issue, then oilsands oil is superior to other sources of oil, such as California or Venezuela, which both have heavy oil that requires a lot of energy to refine.” [12]

In response to the book, David Suzuki described Levant as an apologist for the oil industry and argued that “the logic is faulty. Just because a country or society is considered 'ethical' does not mean everything it produces or exports is ethical.” [13]

In the Winnipeg Free Press, John Collins criticized some of Levant's sources, noting the presence of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) in the footnotes. [14]

Patrick Brethour, writing in the Literary Review of Canada, said that Levant “fails to make the case for ethical oil” due to two of his key claims.

First, Levant claims that the environmental footprint of the tar sands is shrinking:

“In reality, the oil sands are more environmentally progressive and emit less waste than all sorts of other common industries in Canada and around the world. In just nineteen years, from 1990 to 2009, the intensity of greenhouse gases (GHGs) from the oil sands has plummeted by 38 per cent.”

Second, he claims that the oil sands are less damaging than other kinds of oil:

“Alberta's so-called carbon footprint is actually less of an issue than many other kinds of oil being produced around the world. Relative to other sources of petroleum, the oil sands look better and better all the time.”

Neither of these claims is entirely true, as the oil sands generate more carbon emissions than comparable sources of crude oil, and its emissions are expected to rise in the decades to come. [15]

An “Ethical Oil Echo Chamber” has developed since the book was published in 2010. It started with Sun Media which featured excerpts from Levant's book which gave it national exposure. [16]

Then bloggers like Alykhan Velshi spread the message. Velshi also partnered with Levant in forming the Ethical Oil Institute and the Ethicaloil.org website. The concept then reached politicians like Stephen Harper.

The Ethical Oil campaign has become so pervasive that their advertisements have even appeared on Oprah Winfrey's television network.

November, 2010

Ezra Levant was ordered by a judge to pay $25,000 to Giacomo Vignal, a Canadian Human Rights Commission lawyer, for libeling him with “reckless indifference” to the truth in blog posts about a major hate speech case. [17]

September, 2010

Levant wrote a column for Sun Media that strongly attacked George Soros's character and alleged that as a child he collaborated with the Nazis. [18]
 
Soros threatened to sue Sun Media for libel, and on September 18 they issued a retraction and apology to Soros.

February, 2006

Ezra Levant's Western Standard published the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons depicting Muhammad.

The Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission received complaints from the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada and from the Edmonton Council of Muslim Communities regarding the publication, and a hearing was scheduled for January, 2008.

On the day of the hearing, Levant republished the cartoons on his website. [19]

Both complaints were eventually dropped. [20]

Affiliations

Publications

According to one profile, Levant has written six books: [1]

  • Youthquake.  Fraser Institute, 1996.
  • Fight Kyoto: The plan to protect our economy. Essence Publishing, 2002.
  • The War On Fun, Western Standard, 2005.
  • Ethical Oil: The Case for Canada's Oil Sands. McLelland & Stewart, 2010.

Resources

  1. Joanne Richard. “Pumping up the volume; SUN NEWS PRESENTS EZRA LEVANT,” The Calgary Sun, December 26, 2011. Republished by ezralevant.com.

  2. Klein, Naomi. “It's the 'Youth for Fraser Institute' movement”, Toronto Star, November 25, 1995.

  3. Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying of Canada. Search performed October 19, 2016. View archived .pdf here.

  4. Ezra Levant. “It ain't feasible being green,” Ifp, March 20, 2012.

  5. Ethical Oil: The Case for Canada's Oil Sands by Ezra Levant. McClelland & Stewart; First Edition Thus edition (Sep 14 2010). p. 234.

  6. The Institute,” Deep Climate, September 1, 2011.

  7. Ezra Levant Interviews Lord Monckton On Climate Change Chicanery,” YouTube video uploaded by user “blazingcatfur,” December 23, 2011.

  8. Komorowski’s Korner – Ezra Levant Attacks Ontario’s Future,” Cornwall Free News, April 5, 2012.

  9. Cooling climate change concerns,” SunNews, January 31, 2012. Archived September 5, 2014.

  10. Climate change culpability,” Ezralevant.com. From The Source, September 5, 2011. Archived May 10, 2012.

  11. Nathan Vanderklippe. “Blood diamonds, blood oil?”, The Globe and Mail, September 13, 2010.

  12. Ethical Oil debuts at #4 on Amazon.ca non-fiction best-seller list!”, Ezralevant.com, September 14, 2010.

  13. David Suzuki. “Canada's Ethical Oil: A Contradiction in Terms,” The Mark News, February 2, 2011. Archived March 27, 2012.

  14. John K. Collins. “Levant's oil polemic witty, but that doesn't make it right,” Winnipeg Free Press, September 18, 2010.

  15. A Slippery Debate,” Literary Review of Canada, October 2010 issue.

  16. Ezra Levant. “America over a barrel,” The Toronto Sun, September 14, 2010.

  17. Joseph Brean. “Judge orders Ezra Levant to pay $25,000,” National Post, November 20, 2010. Archived November 25, 2010.

  18. Steven Chase. “Billionaire Soros threatening to sue Sun Media,” The Globe and Mail, September 17, 2010.

  19. Keith Bonnel. “Defiant Levant republishes cartoons,” National Post, January 12, 2008. January 16, 2008.

  20. Syed Soharwardy. “Why I'm withdrawing my human rights complaint against Ezra Levant,” The Globe and Mail, February 15, 2008.

  21. Ezra Levant,” Profile at the Fraser Institute. Accessed April 18, 2012.

  22. Christie Blatchford: Ezra Levant insists he’s not a ‘reporter.’ On this, everyone agrees,” National Post, March 7, 2014. Archived October 19, 2016. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/B0Rgu

  23. Tell the UN to stop blacklisting our journalists!The Rebel. Archived November 2, 2016. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/fQpfL

  24. Graham Readfearn. “Revealed: What Ezra Levant Wanted His “Banned” Reporters To Do At Marrakech UN Climate Talks,” DeSmog, October 18, 2016.

  25. SPECIAL report: The real reason a UN censor blacklisted Rebel reporters — and why we’re STILL going to Marrakech,” The Rebel, October 20 , 2016. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/tWVBi

  26. Sean Craig. “UN offers The Rebel press accreditation for climate conference after environment minister’s intervention,” Financial Post, October 31, 2016. Archived November 2, 2016. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/1LtWo

  27. Graham Readfearn. “About Ezra Levant’s Clip of Cheering Journalists at UN Climate Talks. Those Aren’t Reporters and That’s Not The Press Room,” DeSmog, November 1, 2016.

  28. Ezra Levant goes to the UN!” YouTube Video uploaded by user Rebel Media, October 28, 2016. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

  29. The UN is blacklisting The Rebel's journalists!” YouTube Video uploaded by user Rebel Media, October 17, 2016. Archived .mp4 on file at Desmog.

  30. Help The Rebel crowdfund our trip to Marrakech!The Rebel. Archived November 2, 2016. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/BNtSF

  31. My stay in Marrakech,” cop22.ma. Archived November 2, 2016. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/UR69v

  32. Best of 2015: Climate change hysteria and failed predictions,” The Rebel, December 29, 2015. Archived November 2, 2016. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/E3WIn

  33. 'Global warming' SPECIAL: Trump is a skeptic — Is Canada the world's last 'climate change chump'?The Rebel, July 28, 2016. Archived November 2, 2016. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/7E0S5

Other Resources

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