Thursday, September 09, 2010

Lunch with Ezra Levant discussing "Ethical Oil"

In my family, the biggest compliment that you can give someone is to say that they "have a nice mind". My friend Ezra's got that an then some! His new book Ethical Oil: The Case for Canada's Oil Sands is about to hit the shelves on September 14th. For those of you who thought his book Shakedown was a hot seller, this is going to blow that out of the water.

I've asked him to join me for lunch to talk about his new book, and as I'm guessing that a few other people might be interested as well, I've booked a large room at the Vancouver Club if you'd like to join us. You can order the book in advance, but there will also be some available on-site with an opportunity for a personal autograph.

The event details are below - I hope to see you there!

Ethical Oil: The Case for Canada's Oil Sands
Friday, September 24, 2010
The Vancouver Club
$40.00 (Advance registration only *this link will also take you to the Bon Mot Book Club site - please note this is a separate event from that series : )
11:45 am  Registration & casual lunch buffet
12:15 pm  Speaker program
1:30 pm   Adjournment

In 2009, Ezra Levant's bestselling book Shakedown revealed the corruption of Canada's human rights commissions and was declared the "most important public affairs book of the year."

In Ethical Oil, Levant turns his attention to another hot-button topic: the ethical cost of our addiction to oil. While many North Americans may be aware of the financial and environmental price we pay for a gallon of gas or a barrel of oil, Levant argues that it is time we consider ethical factors as well. With his trademark candor, Levant asks hard-hitting questions: With the oil sands at our disposal, is it ethically responsible to import our oil from the Sudan, Russia, and Mexico? How should we weigh carbon emissions with human rights violations in Saudi Arabia? And assuming that we can't live without oil, can the development of energy be made more environmentally sustainable?

In Ethical Oil, Levant exposes the hypocrisy of the West's dealings with the reprehensible regimes from which we purchase the oil that sustains our lifestyles, and offers solutions to this dilemma. Guests at all points on the political spectrum will want to participate in this timely and provocative discussion, which is sure to spark debate.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Sarah Palin coming to Vancouver

So it seems that everyone has come out of their summer slumber and noticed that the second speaker for the Bon Mot Book Club is going to be Sarah Palin. Malcolm Parry announced this in his column in early July, yet still the Vancouver Sun called a few days ago to "crack" the story!
Anyway, the media frenzy aside, I have enjoyed (most) of the comments and emails. Some on the Georgia Strait site are really quite witty and funny.

Some of the personal attacks against me that have arrived in my email box? Not as funny, but I guess that's how some people deal with a difference of opinion.

What's most interesting are the assumptions that are made about me and my motives for bringing her in. I like some of her policy ideas and disagree with others. Regardless of that, she is an interesting person with an interesting background and story, and someone who, regardless of whether you agree with her or not, is certainly a force in US politics. So why wouldn't I and others want to meet her and have a stimulating discussion? And what would be the point of only having discussions with people who you agree with on all issues?

If you're interested, please join us on October 13th - just a few weeks out from the US midterm elections!

Friday, August 20, 2010

I'm a Catalyst now...

I responded on a whim to an invitation from the Globe & Mail to be a member of their Globe "Catalysts" program. I was accepted to be one of 1000 out of 8000 applicants, to provide my personal insights and comments on current affairs and issues of interest to Canadians, via forums with other members and their journalists.

I was happy to be accepted, and even somewhat surprised, given that part of my application included a personal rant about their climate change front cover page from a couple of weeks ago. The headline was something along the lines of "any doubts around climate change have now been debunked". Their evidence was a dozen or so "graphs" containing various squiggly lines, most of them sweeping up to the right. The captions on the graphs had titles around temperature and other measures.

My rant, however, was that none of the graphs had any x or y axis! So there were no measurements of what I presume would be tempurature and timelines, for example. Any one of the graphs could have been the temperatures from yesterday, for example, or showing a range of .00001 to .00002 degrees. There was no way to tell, and this was covering their entire front page! Even less intellectually stimulating than an Al Gore documentary.Crazy!

The good thing I guess is that they accepted me into their forum anyway. I guess every group needs an agitator : )

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

We Day 2010

Congratulations to Lorne Segal and his team for producing a truly remarkable event to get young people engaged in their community! They're doing it again in Vancouver on October 15th and bringing in speakers including the Reverend Jesse Jackson, Martin Sheen, Rick Hansen, and...well, Al Gore (you can't win them all)! I encourage those of you with teenagers to try and get them involved through their schools - check out

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Build that mosque

I've been struggling with the petitions and outcry around the building of the mosque near ground zero.
Congratulations to Obama for standing up for freedom of religion - I also think this article from The Economist does a terrific job of outlining what the real issues are - or should be.
If something is illegal, then it shouldn't be allowed regardless of how close or far away it is from anything else. There's nothing illegal about this building, and its up to the owners to decide upon its location, whatever their reasons may be, and regardless how distasteful those reasons may be to some groups.

Friday, August 13, 2010

First "Bon Mot Book Club" event - Author Michael Lewis (The Big Short) - September 20

I have to say that I'm pretty excited about the first speaker in my new event series! Michael Lewis has been writing about the financial markets (and other things) for about 20 years. Or since I was about 5 : )

I've booked him to launch my new event series in Vancouver on September 20. The Bon Mot Book Club will feature thought-leaders, newsmakers, intellectuals, heroes, and more than a few characters and rogues. And that’s just the guest list! The speakers bring all those traits and more as they focus on the headline-making issues and pressing problems of the day – covering topics on business & economy, politics, science & innovation, religion & spirituality, world affairs, culture, and much more.

But back to Michael Lewis and his book The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine. My only wish is that it had been published a year earlier so that I would have had more insight into the financial crisis as it was unfolding. But that's the issue, isn't it? No one had much insight into the financial crisis as it was unfolding, except the few that Lewis follows in his book who managed to short the market and make a bunch of dough.

Its a captivating read, and you're left feeling like you are as smart as the guys in the story - it all seems so obvious in hindsight. I hope you'll join me for a fascinating evening with the author on Monday, September 20!