Tree farmers across the country are none too jolly over Canadian Tire’s latest commercial which, they say, promotes artificial Christmas trees as an eco-friendly alternative to farm-grown firs or pines.

Fake trees are made with oil-based products and fabricated overseas in places like China, doing more harm to the environment than good, said Jimmy Downey of Downey Tree Farm & Nursery in Hatley, Que.

“They can’t be composted. They can’t be recycled,” said Downey, who is also the president of Quebec’s Christmas tree producers association (APANQ).

“But natural trees live in the environment for 15 years, producing oxygen for us, and they are recycled. Ultimately, they are better for the environment.”

APANQ says tree farms are local businesses whose operators have often been growing trees for several generations. It says trees are a renewable resource. New trees are planted as older ones are harvested.

There are an estimated 15 million Christmas trees growing in Quebec, Downey said, and concern with the ad is shared by tree farmers across the country.

“It’s like an attack on our industry,” said Shirley Brennan, the executive director of the Canadian Christmas Tree Growers Association. “It’s disheartening.”


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