As we slowly begin our journey South along the proposed Keystone XL pipeline route, we will be listening to all sides of the "to build, or not to build" debate. Both sides seem to have very well-oiled P.R. operations. (Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)

We grabbed a bite to eat at The Tavern. This sign hung just inside the door. It can be seen on bulletin boards at various businesses thanks to a conservative Canadian group called Ethical Oil, which printed the posters. The campaign hopes to convince people that oil produced in Canada is more ethical than the oil mined in other countries.

The “conflict oil” is a play on “conflict diamonds,” a term coined to describe diamonds sold by rebel groups in African countries beset by civil war. The “ethical oil” might reference a book with that title. The book argues that producing oil sands is ethically superior to helping the economies of Saudi Arabia or Venezuela, countries that lack many human rights.

After eating, we wandered over to the Boomtown Casino and talked to some down-in-the-mouth folks outside. The casino owner tried to shoo us away, asking whether we had permission from the municipality. A little while later the bouncer came out to chase us off.

We took a cab back to our hotel. The driver, originally from Bulgaria, said he had been there seven years –- and he likened it to “serving time.” Fort McMurray was only good for one thing, he said: work.