Description

What: Proposal for a bill for a tobacco-style ban on fossil advertising
Where: Canada, federal parliament
Who: Member of Parliament Charlie Angus (New Democratic Party).
When: February 5th 2024
Campaign organisation: health care organisations represented by CAPE: fossil ads make us sick

The Fossil Fuel Advertising Act
The bill (C-372) is meant to tackle misleading advertising and propaganda by the fossil fuel industry. It is modelled on the Canadian law from 1997 that bans tobacco advertising. Canada has one of the most stringent anti tobacco advertising laws in the world.

MP Charlie Angus (NDP) during his press conference: "Bill c372 will provide a legislative response to a national public health and environmental problem of substantial and pressing concerns. The bill will make it illegal for Big Oil and Gas, their lobby and front groups or paid influencers to falsely promote the burning of fossil fuels as a a benefit to the public. The legislation will make it illegal to falsely claim that the use of one fuel fossil fuel product is somehow better than another fossil fuel product in improving the environment. To claim that there are clean fossil fuels is like saying there are safe cigarettes we know that is simply not true. Morgan Stanley points out that the damage from climate crisis for the North American economy in just 3 years has been a staggering 45 billion dollar. This legislation will target advertising that falsely claims that oil and gas are having a positive impact on the global economy and we recently learned that toxic contamination from Canada's oil and gas industry is 6,000 times higher than officially reported. This legislation will make it illegal for Canada's oil and gas giants to falsely identify themselves with the health and positive lifestyles of Canadians or with reconciliation of indigenous people on whose lands the toxic contamination is highest. The big tobacco moment has arrived for companies like Suncor Imperial and the oil and gas giants of Canada."

Reaction to the proposed law in the press

CBC writes: "The new bill would outlaw marketing that downplays the climate-altering emissions and health hazards associated with the industry, or promotes fossil fuels in ways that are false, misleading or deceptive."

According to CBC the press secretary of the ministry of environment welcomed the proposal for a bill: "Advertisement has a big role to play in public perception, and the industry is racking in record profits," said Kaitlin Power, press secretary to the environment minister. "We will carefully assess their bill and look forward to productive debates and discussions around this important issue."

While the proposal is welcomed by organisations like Environmental Defense, reactions from organisations with opposing interests are fierce. They are mis-framing the ban as limiting the freedom of speech in ordinary conversations between individuals. Ofcourse this is not true, as the ban only takes aim at corporate advertising.

DeSmog and Canada's National Observer wrote articles on the reception of the proposal for a tobacco-style ban.

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