Mike Hudema is a lot of things. But Mike Hudema isn’t a coward.
In a recent appearance on Alberta Prime Time, Ethical Oil author Ezra Levant accused Hudema, a prominent Greenpeace activist, of being a moral coward.
One can say whatever they wish about Hudema. He has demonstrated himself more than willing to pay the price for standing up for his beliefs. Most famously, Hudema was arrested in China and deported for planning to protest during the 2008 Olympics.
Not that Levant isn’t entitled to some level of frustration.
Hudema repeats since-discredited claims that residents of Fort Chipewyan are dying of “rare cancers”. A study by Alberta Health Services concluded that, while cancer rates as a whole may be elevated, but that the rates of rare cancers were not at all elevated.
The report specifically addresses the six cases of cholangiocarcinoma, and concluded that while two of the cases were indeed cholangiocarcinoma, three other cases were of another cancer. The sixth was not cancer at all.
As previously noted, the cancer rate in Fort Chipewyan appears that it could be elevated by as much as 25%. But the report itself notes that the increased cancer rate could very well be due to increased rates of detection, or due to lifestyle factors within the reservation itself.
In turn, Mike Hudema is right to note that if there is a problem regarding the Oilsands, it’s Canada’s — and more notably, Alberta’s — responsibility to clean it up. Hudema is naive to think that the oilsands could be shut down immediately in favour of green energy. Hudema refuses to admit it, but Levant is right to note that the “perfect green energy” that Hudema prefers doesn’t yet exist.
Even when one considers Hudema’s claim that very soon 1 in 3 cars in BC could be electric cars, he still needs to acknowledge the role of coal — a much more environmentally destructive fuel than oilsands petroleum — in the generation of electricity in Canada.
Levant is right to note that, compared to the Sudan, Nigeria, Nicaragua, Iran or Saudi Arabia, Albertan oil is ethically superior.
But there’s nothing cowardly in Hudema refusing to back off of his criticisms of oilsands petroleum while still criticizing the blood oil that originates in other parts of the world. There is no philosophic tenet that would bar him from criticizing both.
Mike Hudema is a lot of things. Appearing on the Alberta Prime Time show, he was dishonest about a number of points. But his record is very clear: Hudema is not a coward, and it’s to Ezra Levant’s discredit that he declares him to be so.