New rules to end plastic pollution in Canada are under “deceptive” attacks by a shadow coalition of Canadian plastics manufacturers, environmental advocates warn after the release of a new survey.
The poll, which was structured as statements followed by a yes or no question, asked thousands of Canadians about the liberal government’s May decision to list plastic as “toxic” in the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA). The designation will allow the federal government to regulate plastic in the country, including efforts such as implementing a ban on six harmful plastic items, such as plastic straws and six-pack rings, and a revamped recycling system.
However, the survey’s three questions lead readers to believe that the toxic designation will allow the federal government to “override provincial jurisdiction” and is the first step in a post-pandemic “reset” across the economy that will result in “shutdowns. of plants, loss of jobs, and a … loss of local control. ”
“This is rebuilding Canada, this is the beginning,” said Joe Hruska, spokesman for the Coalition of Plastics Producers of Canada (CCPP) and a lifetime advocate for Canada’s $ 28 billion plastics industry. in an interview with National Observer of Canada. The CCPP commissioned the survey and it is made up of “a couple dozen” companies in the plastic packaging industry, Hruska said.
Plastic packaging accounts for nearly half of the 3.2 million tonnes of plastic thrown away each year, according to a 2019 report. study commissioned by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC). Only nine percent of the plastic that is wasted (305,000 tons) is recycled and the rest ends up in landfills, incinerators or the environment.
While the toxic designation gives ECCC the power to regulate plastic, the liberal government’s proposal plan To end plastic pollution, it is clearly stated that the federal government, provinces and territories, and municipalities must work together.
That approach was reinforced in July 2020 when the provincial, territorial and federal governments endorsed a national zero plastic waste strategy that calls for greater provincial and federal cooperation, the ECCC said in a statement.
Furthermore, the idea that the new Canadian plastic pollution regulations signal the beginning of an economic “reset” echoes Conservative finance critic Pierre Poilievre’s November claim in a petition that the liberal government planned to “redesign societies and economies” for the benefit of the “global financial elite,” a claim based on the misrepresentation of a comment made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last fall. One of the CCPP survey statements made a similar argument, saying that the “first target for economic restructuring has been the Canadian plastics sector.”
In fact, in a speech to the United Nations in September, Trudeau called on countries to use the pandemic as an opportunity “to restart” to “reinvent economic systems that really address global challenges such as extreme poverty, inequality and change. climate”.
One question also falsely claims that the federal government is “targeting a wide range of popular plastic items,” including personal protective equipment (PPE) like medical gloves and masks. Under the government’s proposed plan, only non-essential single-use plastics would be eligible for a ban, and ECCC has made it clear that it does not plan to ban any PPE.
“The ECCC is not in a position to comment on the interpretation put forward by the Plastics Producers Coalition of Canada on the results of its survey,” an ECCC spokesperson said in a statement. “In Canada, each order of government plays a role in protecting against the risk of chemicals: municipalities, provinces and territories, and the federal government.”
New rules to end Canada’s plastic pollution crisis are under “deceptive” attack by a shadowy coalition of Canadian plastics manufacturers, environmental advocates warn after the release of a new survey.
“(This is) an initiative of the industries that benefit from the packaging and distribution systems that have led to the global plastic pollution crisis,” said Lisa Gue, principal investigator and analyst at the David Suzuki Foundation. “I am concerned that some of the statements associated with this survey are … misleading.”
The coalition’s tactics, he noted, mirror those used by other industries that fought tooth and nail against regulation, such as the tobacco and coal industries.
Ashley Wallis, a plastics activist at Oceana Canada, said plastics advocates are using jurisdictional arguments similar to those in provinces that fought against the federal gasoline tax.
“They are pushing this idea of whether the feds have jurisdiction to handle plastic,” he said. “The courts ruled in favor (of the government) because of the weather, and I think we will see something similar for plastic.”
Wallis added that the 2019 survey conducted by Oceana Canada, an environmental organization, found that approximately 86 percent of Canadians supported the government’s proposed ban on single-use plastics.
Still, he is not surprised by the rejection of Canada’s decision to list plastic as legally toxic. Canada is among the first countries in the world to give plastic that legal designation, and its decision could guide how other countries tackle the plastic pollution crisis.
“Canada’s approach is getting a lot of international industry attention (because) it could set a precedent for other countries,” he said.