Canada’s Action Plan – Thank You for Smoking
Perhaps one the greatest movies to look at advertising and spin in recent years is Jason Reitman’s satirical “Thank You for Smoking” – which looks at the world from the point of view of three under-appreciated lobbyists who work on behalf of the cigarette industry, the alcohol industry, and the NRA.
I couldn’t help think of that movie when I saw today the government’s new “Canada’s Action Plan” commercial that greenwashes Canada’s oil industry.
We see images of the oil sands getting greened over with the planting of new trees (what happened to the trees that were already there?); we are told that there are now twice as many pipeline inspectors than there was before (twice as many as zero is still zero); and we are told that the oil will only be shipped in double-hulled ships (like the Exxon Valdez supertanker that ran aground in Alaska).
The production values of the commercial are top-notch, and if you don’t really think about it, you’d believe that the government really has our best interests at heart. What a glorious day!
Nevermind that the snow now falling within a 50km radius of the oilsands has measurable levels of toxins and carcinogens. And that every river system feeding into the Arctic Ocean from northern Alberta is increasingly toxic.
Or that millions of trees have already been clear-cut in order to get at the tar-sludge trapped in the sand below.
So while the commercial makes me think of the movie “Thank You for Smoking” (highly recommended, by the way) what it’s really saying is “thank you for not thinking”.
Canada’s Action Plan commercial:
“Canada’s Economic Action Plan: Responsible Resource Development” commercial: