Why does the BC NDP allow the fossil fuel industry spread misinformation about emissions?

Mar 11, 2024 | 42-5, Blog, Environment, Governance, Legislature, Question Period, Video | 2 comments

You have probably seen the fossil fuel lobby advertising campaign with bright green bus ads and highway billboards making specious claims that BC NDP LNG will reduce emissions.

It of course is nonsense. However, they are spending a lot of money promoting these misleading statements across the country.

Federal NDP MP Charlie Angus has introduced a law to ban this false advertising. Indeed, governments have banned advertising from tobacco companies when we came to understand the negative impact to human health, it is time we take the same approach with fossil fuel advertising.

With respect to the response from Hon. George Heyman, this has to be one of the worst responses to a question I have asked in Question Period.

In summary, unlike his federal NDP counterparts apparently the BC NDP’s approach to false advertising is to create more noise and confusion by simply ramping up government advertising with other information.

[Transcript]

A. Olsen:

Paid ads like “B.C. LNG will reduce global emissions” are ubiquitous on social media, buses and highway billboards across the province. But fracked gas is a fossil fuel, like coal and oil, and it’s exacerbating, not solving, the climate crisis. It’s killing 34,000 Canadians each year, according to the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment. Just as we moved to ban harmful tobacco advertising in the past, it’s time to ban misleading and deceptive fossil fuel ads today.

[2:10 p.m.]

The federal NDP understands this. Last month, NDP MP Charlie Angus tabled legislation to prohibit fossil fuel advertising, stating: “We need to put human health ahead of the lives of the oil sector.”

Meanwhile, in B.C., photos and quotes from the Premier and the Minister of Energy and Mines are adorning these LNG ads. This government silence makes them complicit. My question is to the Premier: will this government ban misleading fossil fuel advertising in our province?

Hon. G. Heyman:

I appreciate the member’s passion for taking action to reduce emissions and the question. But the fact remains that we have a robust climate plan. We’re committed to implementing all of the various pathways in the plan, including dealing with emissions from the oil and gas sector and ensuring that we communicate to the public about what a low-carbon future looks like as we transition to clean energy. That’s where our focus is.

The Speaker:

House Leader, Third Party, supplemental.

A. Olsen:

When Richard Blanshard, our first governor, appeared on the shores of our province, he found British Columbia to be a company town. And from the minister’s response, it’s very clear that we still are acting like that very same resource colony company town.

The fossil fuel lobby is driving a false advertising campaign in our province, and this Minister of the Environment seems to be okay with it. These false ads create confusion. They distort public opinion at critical points in efforts to combat the climate crisis. The government has a responsibility to protect the public from misinformation and disinformation. We have a responsibility to ensure key facts are presented accurately. France, the U.K., other jurisdictions – they’ve banned this greenwashing.

My question is to the Minister of Public Safety, the actual minister responsible for business practices and the Consumer Protection Act: will he follow the lead of his federal colleague Charlie Angus? And will he commit to amending the act to prohibit dangerous and irresponsible greenwashing advertising?

Hon. G. Heyman:

To the member, I will simply say again, the best way to present a case for a low-carbon, clean energy future is to present the case, as government, to talk about what we are doing and to put facts out. If the member believes that some people are putting out misinformation, the best thing the government can do is put out accurate information, talk about what we’re doing, talk about all the benefits of a clean energy future and ensure that British Columbians understand that.

2 Comments

  1. Earl Richards

    The Woodfibre LNG plant is in the wrong location. The potentially, explosive LNG tankers departing Woodfibre, transit too close to West Vancouver and Snug Cove.

    Reply
  2. Earl Richards

    The Tilbury marine jetty has to be cancelled. The potentially, explosive LNG tankers departing Tilbury, transit too close to the populated areas of Steveston.

    Reply

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