SCTV's Dave Thomas Blasts Alberta's Tar Sands Oil

Canada's oilsands drilling business also becomes embroiled in a TV ad dispute involving the CTV News Channel, a local lobby group and Saudi Arabia.

TORONTO -- Move over Avatar director-turned-activist James Cameron.

SCTV’s Dave Thomas is the latest homegrown Hollywood celebrity to blast Alberta’s controversial oilsands project, and efforts to ship the Canadian crude oil to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Also Tuesday, efforts by Sun News Network pundit Ezra Levant to defend Alberta’s oilsands project with a 60-second TV commercial were dealt a blow by Saudi Arabia.

Canadian comic/actor Thomas (Grace Under Fire) slammed Alberta's controversial oil drilling business for its damage to the local environment.

“It is an environmental disaster and an ecological nightmare that must be stopped,” Thomas told the Canadian Press newswire service on Tuesday.

“It wouldn't be happening if our country's leaders weren't so deeply vested in the pockets of big business and had even a modest concern for the long-term welfare of their fellow citizens and the planet,” he added.

James Cameron last year sparked an international protest over Canada’s oilsands industry after he toured northern Alberta and declared the environmental impact of its provincial oil industry a “black eye” on Canada's image abroad.

Meanwhile, legal action by the Saudi Arabian government on Tuesday blocked a TV commercial from Ethical Oil Institute, a pro-Alberta oilsands lobby group, from airing on Canadian TV.

Ethical Oil Institute, which has TV pundit Levant as a director, failed to get CTV News Channel, a 24 hour cable news service, to run the TV ad that brands Saudi Arabian oil as unethical for that country’s treatment of women.

CTV chose not to run the TV ad after learning that the Ethical Oil Institute was embroiled in a legal dispute with the Saudi government.

“As the ad in question is the subject of a legal dispute between Ethical Oil and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, at the advisement of our legal department we will not accept the order until the matter is resolved,” CTV-parent Bell Media said in a statement.