Why settle for a milquetoast truth-in-advertising law? The Secretary General of the United Nations wants the world to ban all advertising by the fossil fuel industry.

Alberta Environment Minister Rebecca Schulz (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

One wonders how the United Conservative Party will react to the call by António Guterres to ban all advertising by coal, oil and fossil gas companies, which, the UN chief said, “have shown relentless zeal for obstructing progress – over decades.”

As already noted in this space, the federal government’s mostly performative plan to introduce a hard-to-enforce provision to the Competition Act requiring fossil fuel companies to tell the truth when they make claims about the environmental benefits of their products and processes provoked a mighty cri du cœur a week ago from Alberta “Environment” Minister Rebecca Schulz. 

The UN Secretary General called fossil fuel corporations the “godfathers of climate chaos,” and he made no exception for Alberta’s ethical oil, even though it can be shown through the use of social media memes with colourful charts to have no carbon outputs, rather like the cake you eat on your birthday has no calories.

Well, if the UCP strategic brain trust is smart, they’ll say nothing at all. 

Everyone – even the top dogs in the Alberta government, surely – understands that that United Nations has very little power, and that which it does have is only applicable to issues to which a certain member of the Security Council gives its imperial nod. 

Remember, though, certain elements in the UCP base attribute to the UN almost mystical powers on a par with those of Justin Trudeau and Rachel Notley. So – who knows? – maybe orders will come down to Ms. Schulz from Take Back Alberta to produce another screed damning Mr. Guterres’s proposed gag order. 

And while I don’t say this to encourage the UCP, necessarily, what the head of the UN is proposing actually would be a gag order of sorts, unlike the picayune measure the Trudeau Government has brought before Parliament. 

“I urge every country to ban advertising from fossil fuel companies,” he told an audience marking World Environment Day at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. 

“Many in the fossil fuel industry have shamelessly greenwashed even as they have sought to delay climate action,” he said. “I urge news media and tech companies to stop taking fossil fuel advertising.” (That would include New York’s best-known newspaper, the Times, which a report last year showed pulled in revenue of at least $20 million US from fossil fuel advertising between October 2020 and October 2023.) 

Well, Secretary General Guterres is certainly not the most powerful person in the world, but he is not without influence. And what’s important about this story is that the idea is being seriously proposed, not that it’s actually being contemplated anywhere. Yet. 

Fossil fuel corporations and industry-captured governments like Alberta’s (no matter who is in charge) will try to frame this as a freedom of expression issue, and it is, but only in the sense that shouting fire in a crowded theatre, to use Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.’s famous phrase, is a freedom of speech issue too. 

And free societies have happily accepted this principle when it came to other products – tobacco being the most prominent example – without taking it as an outrage to free speech. 

As the leader an advertising industry group opposed to fossil fuel ads told the influential Heated Substack newsletter, “When the world’s top diplomat calls out your industry by name, there’s no way to deny that collaborating with fossil fuel companies is doing damage to the planet.”

So while a fossil fuel ad ban probably won’t be with us for a while, the idea isn’t going away any time soon either. 

Maybe the UCP will soon publish a screed assailing the United Nations for painting its black helicopters green!

Marking the 80th anniversary of D-Day

The late Reginald Roy, professor of military history (Photo: University of Victoria).

Today is the 80th anniversary of the invasion of Normandy, D-Day, when the hammer of the Western Allies began to crush Hitler and his armies on the anvil of Russia. In the current fraught geopolitical atmosphere, Canadian news organizations seem unable to resist the temptation to rewrite history to suit present circumstances and suggest that D-Day was the beginning of the end of the Third Reich. This is misleading. It is important to remember that, as my military history professor Reginald Roy, late of the Canadian Scottish Regiment (Princess Mary’s), explained, were it not for the Red Army, “we’d still be fighting in Normandy.” The beginning of the end for Hitler was on Feb. 2, 1943. Readers can look it up. But getting the significance of D-Day slightly wrong can be forgiven, an understandable product of American cultural imperialism. On this date last year, Alberta Premier Danielle Smith appeared to be labouring under the impression that World War II started on D-Day! Hopefully the Alberta government will have that straightened out in its commentary today. 

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  1. UCP followers will equate the UN with the WEF,and if PP said his caucus will not be ‘allowed’ to go to any events **….and Leslyn Lewis creating a petition to get out of the UN , Marlaina will take this in stride.

    ** Freedom in the Freeist country in the world, as long as you don’t say something that might jeopardize my political career. Funny how that works, eh? But obviously if the members say something, or meet with, how shall I say, ‘questionable people:like the 4
    horse<<<, earlier this year, it means that he is quietly endorsing them.
    And imho- if IT is elected ,he's just going to do the same thing that DS is point— " the people gave "ME" the mandate for "MY" governance, whether you like it or not.
    Buyers remorse for some Albertans will be overshadowed by what will happen next.
    I don't remember the year, (late 60's) but I think the movie was called D-Day … and as a teenager, I just remember thinking that it was all wrong to glorify people being killed- period!
    80th anniversary, a dwindling number of survivors left, and the 'freedumbers' think it's okay to do it again. Those lazy layabouts with their upside down flags wouldn't last 1 day in the military: speaking for family members who served.
    They have absolutely no concept of what the word means……

    Now we have to deal with the algae bloom/vermin* creeping onto the island , the moat is not working….SIGH !!

  2. Oops! Lost my page…
    Chek News- June 5th
    “Victoria Pride Society denounces “transphobic ” speakers scheduled at City owned Conference Centre…A group calling themselves..we unify Canada ….17 speakers over 3 days— including none other than Tamara Lich, Chris Barber, John Carpay, Brian Peckford, Martin Belanger, along with other Q-anoners.
    They also booked the event through a 3rd party, because after being called out and petition started to cancel, the Centre is trying to distance itself. $#$%/$ doesn’t anyone fact check anymore WTF ,or was the payout that good?? I’m tired of being so disgusted lately……AAARRRRGH!!! I think I need to make a trip to the store for some banner supplies.

  3. While the UCP is raising a fuss over trying to protect the image of the less than ethical oil in Alberta, which contradicts what they would like people to belive about it being ethical (because there is a massive $260 billion orphan well mess, caused by Ralph Klein, which the UCP are throwing $20 billion of our money away on to help fix, and a saga of tailings pond leaks, which the UCP let sit for months) we are seeing big realities in the world. This isn’t pretty.


  4. I did have uncles, and other relatives who fought in WW 2. Danielle Smith’s understanding of history is so far off the mark, like many of her other claims. I recall how she claimed her Ukrainan great grandfather left Ukraine, because of communism, when communism wasn’t there then. There are also people who have a Ukrainan background, or have Ukrainan relatives, and would know when communism was happening. Another good one was where Danielle Smith claimed to have Cherokee ancestry, and that was disproven. There are people who have Cherokee ancestry, and have actual documentation, photos, and other evidence to prove it.

  5. Perhaps the Secretary General should focus on the CO2 emissions resulting from the bombing of Gaza and those that will be generated in the ultimate rebuilding of the place. I doubt that the impact of stopping O&G adverts would compare with that of stopping a few wars.

    1. The point is to stop the oil and gas industry from inundating uninformed and gullible people with their lies.

  6. Ok, all the science and now much of MSM are able to agree that we have had 12 months of 1.5C heating.
    A new report, peer-reviewed for those that know what that means, shows evidence that the pre-industrial temperature baseline we use was over estimated by at least 0.25C. since the Earth has been 1.7C over since at least March it looks like we’ve already passed the 2 degree mark.
    Who cares, right? The Oilers won.

    Soon, we’ll be in the realm of seeing dead bodies on the side of the road. That is the assured track if we allow the criminal petro-corps and their immoral conservative supporters the free reign they’ve enjoyed for decades.

    On this day, let’s not just remember the Herculean effort to push back the evil, but let’s contemplate the allowances and excuses that were offered in the previous decade or two.
    This is where we are now. The next Hitler is alive and planning and plotting your demise right now.

  7. Totally OT but I know and you know there are guitar players who frequent this bits and bytes of news and public opinion. My cheery link for today is SRV wearing his rainbow hat band with pride, while enjoying the company of one of the three Kings of blues guitar. https://youtu.be/P7A12LuA8-U?t=71 PS I voted for Sarah because she is needed!

  8. ‘Alberta Premier Danielle Smith appeared to be labouring under the impression that World War II started on D-Day! Hopefully the Alberta government will have that straightened out in its commentary today. ‘

    I had a laugh reading this.
    Anyway is there anything that she does not labour about unless it is another lie?

  9. In all seriousness, we need to consider what’s been happening with Atlantic ocean currents, specifically the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation.


    Record heat in India. Record rainfall in the UK. This could be the early warning indicator, right here, right now.




  10. One wonders how relevant the UN is these days?

    I supposed back the time of its foundation, the UN was widely regarded as the last and best hope for western civilization to avoid another catastrophe, like World War Two. Surely, it was better designed and resolved that its predecessor, the League of Nations, which did such a bang-up job preventing WW2. I mean will all the serial denials over responsibilities and so on, no wonder that brain trust completely collapsed, as did the rest of the world.

    But in the aftermath of the Cold War, its various proxy wars, the UN was basking in the glow of a job well done. But the present day UN seems to be fumbling around over what its next big mission should be. Climate Change is something of a no-brainer, but it seems that the opposition to any action to prevent environmental disaster. Worse, powerful nations and power lobbies are crushing the UN at every turn on this issue. The UN appears to have no defence against what I like to call the ‘Age of the Grifter’. The attacks are relentless and the opposition well-financed. And too many liberal-democracies are teetering on the edge of collapse, thanks to various Apparatchiks and oligarchs. The last, best hope of the UN’s promise appears to be crumbling, and the best the UN leadership can do is platitudes, warnings, and a litany of I-Told-You-Sos.

    Not a good end, either for the UN or humanity.

  11. As for the commemoration of the Normandy Landings and the beginning of the end of fascism in Europe, it seems the achievement of the world banding together to crush A. Hitler and his ilk is ringing somewhat hollow.

    Of course, it doesn’t help that Donald J. Trump is presenting challenging reposts over the good things Hitler did. Or, even going so far as to declare that not all racists are bad people, has left the public’s perception of the events of WW2 somewhat cloudy and questionable. For one thing, something of a severe lapse, is that the efforts of the USSR in defeating Hitler in Europe are being overlooked. The USSR bore an enormous sacrifice in the conflict to the count of over 27M lives (they still don’t know how many) and they are getting, thanks to the antics of V. Putin, only a passing notice, if any at all.

    The victory at Normandy and eventually in Western Europe would not have been possible without the bloody price that was paid during the Battles of Stalingrad, Moscow, Leningrad, Kursk, Berlin, and many more places too numerous to count. It was at these battles that the back of Nazis’ war effort was broken that gave the Allied effort the strength to go on.

  12. David,
    Loved your photo of Alberta Environment Minister Rebecca Schulz. You got the angle just right to have her appear on the schlocky 60’s comedy show My Favourite Martian, with the antennas popping out of her head! Very appropriate. Well done!

    1. Bruce: To my knowledge, no one else has noticed that. But then you and I were both fans of Uncle Martin, weren’t we? DJC

      1. Did notice the picture was a little “off”, but put it down to some one being stuck back in the day. I remember Uncle Martin. Explains it all and thank you for the laugh.

        1. e.a.f.: I should clarify that it was unintended, and I didn’t notice until after the photo was taken. DJC

  13. My old man—who was in WWII —never once failed to remind that without the “Rooskies”—his term for Soviets (when he was little, the world didn’t yet believe the Bolsheviks would win the Russian Civil War—and since they did win, Canada’s participation in the “Russia Intervention”, the undeclared, post-WWI allied invasion of recently-overthrown imperial Russia in support of the “Whites”, or imperialist side against the communist “Reds”, was omitted from history books because Canada, by way of British Commonwealth membership, was allied with the Soviet Union in WWII—and reminding of our undeclared invasion of Russia just wouldn’t do in the circumstance, now would it!) we never would have won the war.

    Yet, despite his historical pickiness with respect our critical dependence on Soviet alliance in WWII, my dad never once mentioned the post-WWI “Allied Intervention”. It’s just one of the many times I wished he was. still alive: I would like to know if he knew about it and, if so, why he wasn’t so historically fastidious with respect WWI as he was pithy with the Soviet’s crucial participation in WWII.

    I myself stumbled upon a book about the “Intervention” written by a retired Canadian serviceman and military historian. I loaned it out to so many WWII vets I know who were also curious as to why they’d never heard of it, either, that it became lost to me. It’s somewhere on the Island, I’m sure.

    YouTube is no big help: just like the seven-year British occupation of New York during the American Rebellion, 1776 to 1783 when the British withdrew in good order after the Treaty of Paris ended the so-called “Revolution”, there’s simply not much, if anything, about the Allied Intervention in Russia, 1919-21, probably for the same reason, too. Except for brief, shopped and chopped accounts that the Americans occupied Vladivostok—omitting that it was with their Japanese allies. Also omitted was that fact that the US did not deploy any further into Russia, played games with the tons of materiel and ordinance that choked the harbours and streets of the TransSiberian Railway terminus with deadly consequences, especially for the Czech contingency smack in the middle of the single, very long railway through Siberia. Then the US contingency left without engaging the enemy. Until the last year or so (probably when some military history nerd uploaded a few details) not much was available about the real invasion and combat that Canada, Britain, Serbia, Italy and other allies were engaged in at the other end of the continent, fighting their way south from Arkhangelsk (Archangel) and Murmansk with the occasional help from Finnish partisan militias in their own guerrilla engagement with Soviet occupiers of their homeland. Technically we couldn’t have “lost” because the Intervention was an undeclared war. But war and killing it definitely was.

    Everything is complicated: Hitler and Stalin were ostensible allies at the beginning of WWII until, of course, Hitler treacherously abrogated their treaty (that partitioned Poland between them) by invading the USSR—whence it became our ally against the Axis powers. But for years Stalin complained bitterly to the Western powers that they were purposely delaying the invasion of France at the expense of Soviet soldiers (the West blew him off as a paranoiac—which, naturally, he was. But he did have a point…)

    Forty-two thousand Canadians died in WWII but upwards of nine million Soviets were killed. I think that discrepancy was really what my old man was on about. “We never woulda won without the Rooskies.” I can still hear him saying that. I guess I always will. Probably because he didn’t otherwise like to talk about the war. Too terrible.


    Yes, the analogy between petroleum and tobacco is an accurate one in many ways. They are both addictions, for example. Expect the transition (I know, I know, a “bad word” that might offend Alberta’s TUBCAP government) to be similar: the perpetrators, or pushers, first deny and denigrate their critics as dangerous fanatics, then perversely acknowledge the problem by advertising “light”, supposedly “healthier” preparations of their products—like longer cigarette filters or ethanol additives to gasoline—often departing from common sense as did industry’s maudlin caterwauling when the addition of elemental lead to gasoline was finally banned. (You’d think the world was gonna end but, in fact, using lead fuel-additive as lubricant was only necessary for engines under extreme stress—like the engines of spitfire fighter planes where G-forces can actually force crankcase oil right past the piston rings and out into the exhaust—lead in fuel solution cushioned the exhaust valve seats under such extremely hot conditions; but domestic automobiles NEVER needed leaded gasoline. To propose any sort of change to ultra-conservative petro-execs was (is) tantamount to blasphemy, never mind that hundreds of millions of urban people shorter than three feet tall—like most children—were regularly poisoned by lead from car exhaust which is more concentrated near tailpipe level. Somebody’s gotta make sacrifices, right?)

    I can’t wait until advertising space on retail gasoline pumps—now still cluttered with anti-Liberal carbon-tax propaganda—is required by law to show horrific cityscapes choked with automobile smog and wildfire smoke attributable to local-weather and global climate-change caused by combusting petroleum fuel into the atmosphere—just like the grizzly photos of blackened, cancerous lungs of smokers were (are?—I quit years ago) required on cigarette packs. It took a while (too long in my case) but those tactics, in combination with other public health measures, has resulted in substantial decrease in the proportion of Canadians who still smoke. Restaurants, bars, buses and airliners are finally smoke-free!

    Paradigmatic shifts are painful for everyone. Governments, for example, make a lot of tax revenue from the use of both deadly substances, petroleum fuel and tobacco, even while compelled by an educated public to wind the use of those revenue streams down.

    It’s all about transition (D’oh! There I go again!) It’s the same for petroleum, tobacco and even warfare.

    But we Canadians endeavour to make transitions as fair as we can—it’s just hard with private industry’s profiteering millstones around our necks. For now we persevere and act on our own accord to quit smoking or switch to EVs or public transit while industry begrudgingly drags its feet. That any of us out “out to get” Alberta is completely notional and wrong. But I expect the TUBCRAP government to react, anyways.

    Have a nice Anniversary of D-Day, my Alberta friends. May your skies be sunny and clear.

  14. Marlaina is barely capable of speaking the truth and is the sales rep for the petrostate of Alberta. She would never allow truth in advertising especially truth in big oil advertising. It goes against everything she falls for.

  15. Firstly, it is becoming increasingly clear that Mr Guterres is a lonely voice in the wilderness. Voters in Europe are going to the polls this week to elect their next European Union (EU) Parliament, and parties on the right — even extreme right — are widely expected to make significant seat gains in a backlash against the EU’s climate measures.

    Now, of course, the world has long needed to seriously address climate change. But, in my humble opinion, putting so much of the fiscal burden on ordinary households, as opposed to wealthy corporations with deeper pockets, has been a colossal strategic error. Consumer-level carbon pricing has become so politically toxic that nothing can now save it. Price industrial emissions up the ying-yang, but don’t put more costs on working people. Economists won’t like it, but that’s democracy.

    As for the D-Day commemoration, there aren’t that many areas on which you and I disagree, but geopolitics is one of them, and I want to challenge your position on the role of the Soviet Union in winning the Second World War.

    Certainly it is true that Soviet Red Army losses in what their propagandists called the “Great Patriotic War” were far higher than those of the Western Allies. But remember, the war only began after Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov signed that cynical “non-aggression pact” with his Nazi counterpart, Ribbentrop, dividing Poland in the process. Without that assurance of a free hand from the USSR, Hitler would most likely not have invaded Poland.

    It was only after the USSR was itself invaded by Hitler, that the Soviet Union became an “ally” of the West. But I don’t think the people of Eastern Europe “liberated” by the Red Army in the closing years of the war felt any sense of relief. They simply exchanged the bloodthirsty brutality of Nazi Germany for the bloodthirsty brutality of Stalinist Russia. Instead of concentration and extermination camps, they got the Gulag; instead of the Gestapo, they got the NKVD — not all that good a trade, IMHO.

    Imagine the counterfactual that saw D-Day fail: the Germans push Operation Overlord back into the sea and hold Fortress Europe. The Red Army was ascendant in the East, and would likely still have overrun Berlin, although perhaps not as soon as they did in our reality, given the Wehrmacht’s ability to shift more troops from France to the Eastern Front. Except that in this scenario, they’d have kept going, and there’s no telling how far they’d have gone into Central and Western Europe, with no Western troops to shake hands with.

    1. Jerry: Believe what you want, it’s still a free country, but the Red Army caused 80 per cent of the German casualties in World War II and that fact alone seals the argument about who made the biggest contribution to victory in Europe. Eighty per cent of the combat took place on the Eastern Front. No one is claiming Stalin was a nice guy or the NKVD were just a bunch of over-enthusiastic idealists, but that is completely irrelevant to the argument you are trying to make. Here’s J.L. Granatstein, the Canadian historian and no pinko, on this point: “The Soviet Union without a doubt. Britain’s hanging on after Dunkirk mattered greatly, of course, and so did the vast industrial and military resources of the United States. But the USSR, despite its catastrophic defeats in the first year after the German invasion, swallowed the Wehrmacht whole in the steppes, inflicted huge losses on it, and wore it down. The Soviets took enormous military and civilian casualties but triumphed in the war against Hitler. It must be said that aid from the Western Allies mattered greatly in this victory, but the Russian people fought and won the war.” This sums it up pretty well, and deals nicely with the claim American materiel made the difference while their soldiers sat it out before Pearl Harbour. This, of course, cannot be proved, but I am sure the Soviets would have triumphed in the end even if there had been no D-Day and no American contribution. It just would have taken a lot longer. In that event, I suppose, we wouldn’t be arguing about whether or not the United States or the Soviet Union was the kinder, gentler imperialist power. DJC

      1. Hi DC,

        Granatstein is not an historian I favour, without back checking. But you are right, his summation of the importance of the Soviet Union in the War is spot on. However they nearly didn’t recover from the mauling they received in 1941, and without aircraft and tanks delivered from England and the USA their Air Force would have been off the table as a fighting force before Russian aircraft production from re-located factories was able to catch-up. And then the number of US trucks and vehicles delivered to Russia turned the Red Army into a far more mobile and effective force.

      2. Whether the Soviets realized it then, they were all fighting for all their lives against the Nazis who, assuming they won, planned to starve 31 million to 45 million of the Soviet people to death. Yeah, I think the USSR was the lesser evil.
        The Nazis starved millions of Soviet POWs to death; just didn’t bother to feed them.

        1. Ms. Jobson: Interestingly they used essentially the same justification for starving Soviet prisoners as the the Americans used for torture and Guantanamo after 911 – in the former case that their government had not ratified the Geneva Convention on Prisoners of War or the Hague Convention on the rules of war, and in the latter because they had no government or formal army, therefore ditto. War crimes in both cases, nevertheless; only punished in one. DJC

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