Warnings of Blackouts and Soaring Bills: Alberta’s Ad Campaign Takes Aim at Clean Energy Regulations

Advertisements warning of potential blackouts, freezing temperatures, and soaring power bills have been cropping up across Toronto and Ontario through various media channels. These advertisements are part of an $8-million national campaign sponsored by the Alberta government to protest the federal government’s new draft clean electricity regulations. 

The campaign, known as “Tell the Feds,” is set to run until November 2nd, coinciding with the closure of the public input period for the draft regulations. Apart from Ontario, it’s also running in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and locally in Alberta — the provinces that will be “most impacted by the regulations,” according to an Alberta spokesperson.

“The campaign is intended to educate Canadians and Albertans on the impacts of these unaffordable regulations, and encourage the federal government to make changes needed to keep Canada’s electricity affordable and reliable,” said Ryan Fournier, a spokesperson for Rebecca Schulz, Alberta’s minister of environment and protected areas, in a statement to the Toronto Star.

This all stems from Alberta Premier Danielle Smith’s opposition to the federal government’s draft clean energy regulations, which aim to guide Canada toward achieving a net-zero energy grid by 2035. They assert that the draft regulations would weaken the province’s energy system.

“With Ottawa providing misleading or inconsistent information, and the public consultation period underway, Canadians need to speak up and have their say,” Fournier wrote.

Environment and Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault dismisses these claims as misinformation. He challenges Alberta’s energy operator to release the analysis supporting its assertion that a net-zero grid by 2035 is unfeasible.

“Any claim that building a clean electricity grid in Alberta will lead to blackouts is misinformation, designed to inflame not inform,” Guilbeault wrote in a statement.

Smith has threatened to invoke the Alberta Sovereignty Within Canada Act, which could potentially reject federal programs deemed unconstitutional interference in provincial matters.

Too “Aggressive”?

Radio ads in two versions have also been deployed as part of the campaign. In the ad, a female speaker cautions that essential services may cease to function due to “Ottawa’s proposed electricity regulations” and that individuals might face difficult choices between paying their power bills or meeting other essential needs.

“The ad came on, and I was like, ‘This sounds really aggressive. Where’s this coming from?'” Matthew Bowen, who was born in and until recently was a resident of Alberta, told CBC News. “I was expecting it to be some sort of like, I don’t know, private campaign company or something.”

Bowen is not alone, apparently. At least one radio station in Toronto, JAZZ FM91, has discontinued airing the ads following listener complaints. 

Information for this story was found via the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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