$8M Alberta advertising campaign against federal net-zero rules rolls out in 4 provinces

The Alberta government’s $8-million campaign to “educate Canadians and Albertans” on the impacts of new emissions regulations proposed by the federal government has begun rolling out across the country.

The campaign, involving a wide range of television, web, social, billboard and other forms of advertising, will run just a little more than a month, until Nov. 2, when the federal government’s public input period on net-zero rules is set to conclude.

It’s running in Alberta, Ontario, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, chosen because they are the regions “most impacted by the regulations,” a spokesperson with the province said.

“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,” wrote Ryan Fournier, a spokesperson for Rebecca Schulz, Alberta’s minister of environment and protected areas, in a statement.

Last week, Alberta Premier Danielle Smith said her government was preparing a Sovereignty Act motion in an effort to push back against Ottawa’s planned emissions reductions. The Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO), the organization responsible for operating the province’s power grid, had said the clean electricity regulations could lead to blackouts. 

Federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault has said his government shares the goals of AESO to achieve decarbonization while maintaining affordability and reliability.

Text is shown on a black screen that reads, "No one wants to pay more for power than they have to."
A still from an Alberta campaign focused on pushing back against federal net-zero rules. (Government of Alberta)

It’s a fight that is likely to play out over months and even years, and the advertising campaign signifies how much of this debate isn’t being fought over technical arguments, said Daniel Béland, director of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada.

“It’s a political fight between the government of Alberta and the feds. I think that regardless of what numbers

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