Squashing conversation around oil and gas is not the way to go

by | March 2024

A private members bill was tabled in the House of Commons that proposes a ban on fossil fuel advertising. Bill C-372 (also known as the Fossil Fuel Advertising Act) seeks to criminalize the “promotion” of fossil fuels.

But the bill goes well beyond merely banning advertising by oil and gas companies and would technically make it illegal for any Canadian who speaks well of the oil and gas industry.

It would “prescribe jail time even for Canadians who say scientifically true things such as how burning natural gas is cleaner than burning coal,” reports the National Post.

Emissions reduction is an important conversation, and we know engaged women care deeply about this issue. It’s also why we care so much about the implications of over-reaching proposed legislation.

Democracy is built on having open conversations, not stifling them. These are important discussions, and this private member’s bill singles out the oil and gas industry.

If the ban on discussing energy sources were to be carried across all forms of energy, it would also point out:

  • Batteries in EVs require significant amounts of raw materials, and mining those creates contaminants and toxic waste.
  • Nuclear energy produces radioactive waste and is one of the most expensive types of energy.
  • Wind farms can disrupt local ecosystems and affect wildlife habitats and migration patterns of birds.
  • Solar farms require significant land use which can compete with agriculture or conservation interests, and disrupt biodiversity, and soil quality during construction and operation.

Of course we’re not proposing a ban on discussing these things, but instead pointing out that all forms of energy have pros and cons, and it’s a slippery slope, and entirely undemocratic to criminalize conversation around these topics.

That is not something we can get behind as an organization who advocates on behalf of Canadian women who want a seat at the table in the energy transformation conversation.

We want more conversation and discussion about these topics, not less.

Read more about the proposed bill here, and reach out to let us know what you think.