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Red Deer-Lacombe MP pans proposed fossil fuel advertising act

Ontario NDP MP’s bill would treat oil and gas advertising like cigarette campaigns
Red Deer-Lacombe MP Blaine Calkins. (Image from Facebook)

A federal NDP MP’s private member’s bill calling for a crackdown on fossil-fuel advertising “borders on ludicrous,” said Red Deer-Lacombe MP Blaine Calkins.

“When people are under pressure, you see who they really are,” said Calkins. “We’ve known for quite some time that there are members of the NDP here in Ottawa who hold these kinds of values.”

Bill C-372, or the Fossil Fuels Advertising Act, was tabled by veteran NDP MP Charlie Angus, who has represented the northern Ontario riding of Timmins-James Bay since 2004.

Angus modelled his bill on the 1997 Tobacco Act that severely restricted tobacco advertising and marketing. Like that legislation, Angus’s bill includes the potential of large fines or even prison time for those falling afoul of its regulations.

Calkins said not only Conservative politicians are opposed to the bill.

“There’s been commentary across the country on just how ridiculous this bill is.”

Given the restrictions on advertising fossil fuels and the potential penalties “one only shudders if the NDP remain much longer the balance of power in this country,” he added. “These are dangerous ideas, these are dangerous notions and they’re going to have dangerous consequences.”

MLAs Nagwan Al-Guneid of Alberta and Aleana Young of Saskatchewan released a joint statement on Monday, saying “(i)t is not helpful to pick fights that just polarize people and get in the way of the real solutions we need.

“Energy companies are important job creators in Alberta and Saskatchewan and shouldn’t be singled out by advertising restrictions.”

In response to criticism, Angus took to Facebook to defend his bill, arguing, “The reality is that there is no way we can increase fossil fuel production and ensure a liveable planet for our children.

“(Bill C-372) doesn’t threaten jobs. It does not target individuals who want to promote fossil fuel burning. This is about corporate accountability in advertising,” he posted on Tuesday.

“I am determined to see this campaign through because Canadians of all political stripes and backgrounds must confront the looming crisis with realism and determination.”

As a private member’s bill, the likelihood of it passing is low.

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