The eco-charity founded by Trudeau's new environment minister, Steven Guilbeault, wants commercials and print ads for some of Canada's most popular consumer automobiles treated more like promos for cigarettes.
The petition, a partnership effort with Accès transports viables, the Conseil régional en Environnement de Montréal and the David Suzuki Foundation, demands “the Government of Canada reform the regulation of gas-powered car advertising to integrate the concept of environmental protection.”
According to a recent report by Driving.Ca, Canadians love their practical SUVs and pick-ups:
Inventory constraints or not, Canada’s 10 most popular vehicles combined for more than 140,000 sales in 2021’s first quarter. That’s better than one-third of the entire new vehicle market. It’s a group of four pickups, four crossovers, and two cars. Three are made in Canada.
Eight of the top 10 were either light-duty trucks or SUV/crossovers. The pack was led by the Ford F-series, followed by Dodge's Ram, and the GMC Sierra line. Another truck, Chevy's Silverado, was a close fifth, just behind the Toyota Rav-4.
Despite the purchasing habits of Canadians, Equiterre's petition pleaded with them to abandon convenience and safety in favour of the climate:
As the climate crisis looms as one of the greatest challenges facing humanity, we are being bombarded with ads encouraging us to buy gas-powered vehicles (gas or diesel), particularly SUVs and other light-duty trucks. How can we begin to truly reduce our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Canada if the incentive to buy large, gas-guzzling and polluting vehicles is part of our daily lives?"
The petition puts pressure on the federal government to change the regulations surrounding advertising for light-duty vehicles, but also calls on broadcasters like the CBC to “set a good example” and voluntarily ban the ads from their content in advance of legislation.
The Suzuki Foundation recently renounced its founder and CBC employee, Nature of Things host David Suzuki, following a controversial statement wherein he suggested that pipelines will be blown up in a reaction to climate change.