Last week, federal NDP MP, and natural resources critic, Charlie Angus introduced a private members bill in the House of Commons that would ban what he called deceptive and misleading fossil fuel advertising. He said the bill would outlaw any marketing that would downplay emissions from the oil and gas sector or would promote oil and gas in ways that could be considered false, misleading or deceptive.  

Monday, Angus’ counterparts in the legislatures in Alberta and Saskatchewan denounced the bill. In a joint statement, Saskatchewan NDP energy critic Aleana Young and Alberta NDP energy critic Nagwan Al-Guneid said they do not support the bill, as energy companies are important parts of the economies in both provinces and shouldn’t be singled out by advertising restrictions.  


“This bill came as a surprise, and I would say an unwelcome surprise, to many people in Canada, least of all us here in the Saskatchewan NDP, as well as our cousins to the west,” Young told Discover Weyburn news. “This is an important sector for our economy here. This has been the history of the province. I’m sitting in my office right now in the legislature, and I’ve got a picture behind me of Tommy Douglas turning on the first pipeline in Saskatchewan. This contributes to the wealth of households and the wealth of this province, and frankly, I think Mr. Angus’ private members’ bill is a little bit of virtue signalling and not much more.” 

Part of the statement issued by the two provincial energy critics emphasized there are already rules in the country surrounding false advertising. While there was one complaint filed against Pathways Alliance, while is a coalition of six oil sand producers, by Greenpeace back in March of 2023, the Competition Bureau has not ruled on whether their advertising was false or misleading.  


Young noted the process, like what Greenpeace did, is already there.  

“If people have concerns in Canada, regardless of the industry, we have important legislation in place to address this,” Young explained. “There are opportunities for individuals and certainly for members of parliament to bring forward concerns, and we didn’t see that. Instead, we saw a private members’ bill that seems to be particularly targeted at dividing people and not much more. It’s singling out western Canada and it’s singling out economies like Saskatchewan and Albert that have a number of families that put groceries on the table through the energy industry or associated businesses.” 

One thing the statement has brought forward is something that has often been lost in the political discourse in Saskatchewan in recent years. The Saskatchewan NDP is a separate entity from the federal NDP, and this was something Young pointed out.  


“The word Saskatchewan comes first for us because Saskatchewan comes before the NDP,” Young expounded. “We live here, we represent this province, and we’re going to work where we need to work and represent the people of this province. For a party in Ottawa to purport to do that work, it’s simply not true.” 

The statement also addresses that when it comes to anything involving addressing the climate and the environment, a balance is needed. Young pointed out she has yet to meet a person who doesn’t care about nature, but at the same time, people also care about reality.  

“People in Saskatchewan, of course, they care about nature, of course, they care about jobs, of course, they care about the economy,” Young stated, pivoting to note what she sees as shortcomings with the current provincial and federal governments. “What we have here is we kind of have the worst of both worlds at the moment. We’ve got a carbon tax that isn’t working, we have higher taxes, but under his government, we also have rising emissions.” 


Young noted there are other jurisdictions that have been able to help with the cost of living, while also helping the economy, and working for the climate and environment. One of those jurisdictions, as highlighted by Young, is the United States with the Inflation Reduction Act, and the creation of tens of thousands of jobs in the energy sector, overall.  

“These are things that we could be exploring, balancing those two important priorities for people,” Young finished. “I like to say, an energy project is an energy project, whether it’s a natural gas plant or a wind farm, and we should be proud of those things, and investing in those good jobs that’ll put food on the table in Saskatchewan.”