Alberta Minister of Energy Sonya Savage is defending the government's opposition to the children's movie Bigfoot Family, arguing that it carries an anti-oil message, Global News reports.
The petition, which was launched by the Alberta government-owned Canadian Energy Centre, asks Netflix "to tell the true story of Canada's peerless oil and gas industry, and not contribute to misinformation targeting your youngest, most vulnerable and impressionable viewers.
"Canada’s world-class oil and gas industry is one of the top in the world when it comes to environmental, social and governance standards. It spends billions of dollars every year to protect the environment," the CEC wrote in their description of the petition.
The animated movie features a human family whose father is bigfoot fighting against an oil magnate destroying the wilderness for profit. The movie itself takes place in Alaska, not Alberta.
According to the CEC, which is often referred to as the "war room," the film is "brainwashing our kids with anti-oil and gas propaganda."
"Not everybody is going to agree with every single tactic of the Canadian Energy Centre. I don't either," Savage said. "But I did find that the comments that I’ve heard in that cartoon were quite offensive. And the comments have to be countered somewhere."
Savage further stated that "there's no question whatsoever that we have to find a way to counter the kinds of campaigns and the kind of narrative and the significant misinformation that is targeted at our energy sector."
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney also criticized the film in a statement to the press, saying that "it's clear that they develop content designed to defame, in the most vicious way possible in the impressionable minds of kids, the largest industry in the province."
He further criticized the movie for depicting the oil and gas industry as "evil" and "conspiring to murder people" for profit.
"I think Albertans and people who defend our oil and gas workers have every right to set the record straight," Kenney said.
Alberta NDP Leader and former Premier Rachel Notley criticized the CEC for "generating international attention for all the wrong reasons."
NDP energy critic Kathleen Ganley also criticized the government's response, arguing that the CEC's campaign is creating a Streisand effect, bringing heightened attention to what would have otherwise been a non-issue.
"It was getting very little notice, in fact, until such time as the war room came along and suddenly it shot up to be on the list of Top-10, viewed-in-Canada movies on Netflix," Ganley argued.
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