I'll be blunt: The pathetic attempt by the Canadian government to rebrand the highly polluting, highly environmental destructive, highly energy and carbon intensive tar sands industry as 'ethical oil' rears its ugly head again via CBC News. Comparing the environmental nightmare of tar sands production to the human rights horror of the treatment of women in Saudi Arabia or the repression of dissent in Iran?
You might as well advocate crystal meth over heroin because that meth comes from a lab just down the road while the opium poppies that will be processed into heroin come from Afghanistan.
We've covered the environmental damage caused by extraction of oil from the tar sands on so many occasions that I'll just refer you to TreeHugger archives at the previous link if you need to get up to speed.
The question that we need to be asking is, 'What is the best way for us to meet our energy needs? What is the best way to move people around?' And when you ask that question, the answer is not a barrel of oil from Saudi Arabia, and it is definitely not a barrel of oil from the tar sands in Alberta.