A New Democrat MP has introduced Bill C-372, which aims to regulate fossil fuel advertising akin to tobacco advertising restrictions, and imprison those who express positive statements about them.
Socialist MP Charlie Angus, runner-up in the NDP’s 2017 leadership race won by Jagmeet Singh, dubbed his bill the Fossil Fuel Advertising Act.
Angus seeks to curb if not ban advertisements for fossil fuels, citing health and environmental concerns by drawing parallels between tobacco and what he claims is a crisis caused by fossil fuel consumption.
“Whereas fossil fuel production and consumption has resulted in a national public health crisis of substantial and pressing concern, in a way that is similar to the public health crisis caused by tobacco consumption;” the bill reads.
The bill proposes a range of restrictions, from outright bans on certain types of promotions to fines for non-compliance. It introduces terms like “producer” and “promotion,” broadly defining them to encompass various entities associated with fossil fuel marketing.
“It is prohibited for a person to promote a fossil fuel, a fossil fuel-related brand element or the production of a fossil fuel,” the bill reads.
As Tristin Hopper of the National Post noted, “Angus defines ‘promotion’ so broadly that it could technically apply to something as simple as a Facebook post or even an ‘I Love Canadian Oil and Gas’ bumper sticker.”
While introducing the bill in the House of Commons, Angus claimed that the oil and gas industry “has done years of disinformation and interference and false claims about the damage it is doing to the planet, but it is also killing people.”
The only exceptions for praising fossil fuels, according to his private members bill, is when done artistically through song or some sort of performance. Otherwise, failure to comply could land individuals from oil companies in jail. Here’s a summary of the penalties outlined in his bill:
For Producers Violating Promotion Restrictions:
- On conviction on indictment, a producer could face a fine of up to $1,000,000 or imprisonment for up to two years, or both.
- On summary conviction, the penalty could be a fine of up to $500,000 or imprisonment for up to one year, or both.
For False Promotion:
- Producers who engage in false, misleading, or deceptive promotion could, on conviction on indictment, be fined up to $1,500,000 or face up to two years in prison, or both. On summary conviction, the fine could be up to $750,000 or imprisonment for up to one year, or both.
For Other Persons (Non-Producers) Violating Promotion Restrictions:
- Individuals other than producers found guilty of contravening promotion restrictions on summary conviction could face a fine of up to $500,000.
Angus once notoriously mocked a woman, Sheila Lewis, who died after being denied a lung transplant due her refusal to get COVID vaccinated.