Tag Archives: Canada

Canada’s ‘Environmentally Friendly’ Brand in Jeopardy?

http://www.desmog.ca/2014/01/14/harper-government-hires-international-firm-22-million-ad-campaign-promoting-oilsands

tarsands

In Evan Potter’s article on Canadian public diplomacy, he mentions that a large part of Canada’s “warm…fuzzy” international brand is its image of being “an environmentally friendly country”. According to the Canadian opposition party (NDP) House leader Nathan Cullen, this brand is being damaged under Stephen Harper’s Conservative government and its various controversial energy projects, including tar oil sands and the proposed Keystone XL pipeline to the United States. Perhaps in an effort to counter this damage, Harper’s government has rolledout a 22 billion dollar international ad campaign that blurs the line between public diplomacy and pure PR. The ads promote Canadian energy as an environmentally friendly, morally palatable alternative for the U.S. and Europe. These ads have been highly visible in DC metro stops since January. Although they tout Canada’s reputation of environmental friendliness, it seems doubtful that the campaign will do anything to dissuade the well-informed environmentalists who oppose the Keystone XL pipeline and the tar sands. I am not even sure if it will have any positive effect on the average American citizen who may know or care little about environmental issues. My own personal, immediate reaction was that the ads seemed propagandist and slightly desperate. In fact, they actually did a bit to damage my normally very positive image of Canada. There has to be a better way for Canadian PD to communicate and engage American publics about these sensitive but crucial issues, without, in the words of Nathan Cullen, engaging in “green-washing” about its damaged reputation as an environmentally conscious nation.

U.S. – Canada ‘Loser Keeps Bieber’

"Loser Keeps Biber" Billboard in Chicago
It was a sad day for Team USA. The Canadian men’s ice hockey team has defeated the United States 1-0 in the semifinals. Looks like the U.S. lost the ‘bet.’

While Barack Obama and Stephen Harper were busy betting a case of beer on the U.S.-Canada men’s Olympics hockey semifinal game on last Friday, one Chicago billboard company was making the gutsiest bet of all time with Canada.

According to CBS news, the billboard, owned by Skokie-based freight broker Command Transportation, said that the loser of the highly anticipated contest “keeps (Justin) Bieber.” The pop star was born in Canada but resides in the States. After America’s loss on Friday, the company quickly admitted to making the “worst bet ever,” and put a photo of a bald eagle with a “Belieber” gold chain around its neck for good measure.

However, even though the Team USA lost the game and President Obama owes two cases of beer to Canada PM Harper, the two country connects even tighter through the fast-reacting media, especially social media like Twitter, and I am sure the Team USA would do a better job if knew the bet earlier.