Image from the Canadian Tire commercial showing artificial tree which has angered tree farmers in Canada. (Canadian Tire)

Canadian retail chain under fire by Christmas tree growers

One of Canada’s major and best known retail chains, Canadian Tire, is under fire for its promotion of artificial Christmas trees.

The huge chain of more than 1,600 outlets, originally associated with automotive supplies, hardware, and sporting goods, has expanded in recent decades to include a much wider selection of merchandise.

The controversy this year comes from one of two 30 second commercials which began airing in November to continue until December 23. One is called “moonlight ride” and the other controversial one is called “Snowy search”.

In this commercial a man and young daughter are in the woods looking to cut down a tree for Christmas. The young girl points to wildlife in the trees and takes her father home where they are seen decorating an artificial tree.

The complaint is that it seems to promote artificial trees as an eco-friendly alternative to natural trees and this has angered Quebec’s Christmas tree growers.

The tree growers say the commercial implies that using a real tree is detrimental to wildlife and the environment.


The theme music performed by Canadian singer Zoe Sky Jordan, was originally recorded by British band the Troggs in 1967 and was actually filmed in Toronto on a hot summer day with much computer manipulation! The French version cut the English lyrics keeping only the melody.

Tree growers say the opposite is true, that artificial trees are made with non-biodegradeable plastic products in distant places like China and elsewhere and then shipped overseas to places such as Canada, representing a much greater carbon footprint in manufacture, shipping, and eventual disposal.

Jimmy Downey of Downey Tree Farm & Nursery in Hatley, Quebec is also president of the Quebec Christmas tree growers association (APANQ).

He says artificial trees can’t be recycled, whereas “real” trees absorb carbon and produce oxygen for many years as they grow and then can be recycled.

A variety of artificial trees offered in a December Canadian Tire flyer. (CTC)

APANQ also says tree growers are mostly local family operations providing additional seasonal work and income for local people to cut the trees.  The Canadian Christmas Tree Growers Association also says the trees are grown on land which is otherwise not fit for other agricultural use.

Jimmy Downey is among those growers upset over the commercial insisting that farmed natural trees are in fact better for the environment than artificial plastic ownes. (Radio-Canada)

One of Canada’s best known environmental agencies, the David Suzuki Foundation also suggests buying natural farmed trees over artificial ones.

Nonetheless, artificial trees are gaining in popularity. An American survey last year found that over 80 per cent of trees on display were artificial.

Christmas trees for sale. Canada is the largest exporter of these trees, about 1.5 million, mostly to the U.S. Some 15 years ago it was almost double that, but competition from U.S growers, and popularity of artificial trees has cut into Canadian sales. (Adrian Cheung)

Responding to criticism about the advert, the company says, “”Our Christmas public tells the heartwarming story of a little girl and her father sharing a Christmas moment.”

Canadian Tire also notes that it sells natural trees or rents space to growers at more than 200 of its locations.

Additional information-sources

Categories: Arts and Entertainment, Economy, Environment, International
Tags: , , , , , ,

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet Netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette
When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish or in one of the two official languages, English or French. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

One comment on “Canadian retail chain under fire by Christmas tree growers
  1. Avatar Nancy Luckai says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with the Christmas tree farmers on this one. Especially given the many climate change warnings and calls for action, for Canadian Tire to position the choice of an artificial tree as somehow eco-friendly (to wildlife) is a ridiculous piece of “bad ecology”. Artificial trees may be a rationale alternative for some folks but real Christmas trees support Canadian farmers, promote carbon sequestration and can be responsibly recycled. Artificial trees do none of that. If they want to advertise that artificial trees are convenient, that’s fine. But don’t pretend that they have any ecological value whatsoever.