True or false? Canada has the largest area of protected forest in the world.
Or how about this one: Canada's forests are actually increasing.
The Sierra Legal Defence Fund, on behalf of several other environmental groups, has challenged a recent ad campaign by the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) that makes just such claims.
Now the matter is before the Competition Bureau, the federal competition watchdog. The bureau has wide-ranging powers and can, among other things, reprimand companies for false advertising, levy fines and even impose jail terms.
You may remember the ads. They appeared in newspapers and on TV, some featuring vast green forests spanning the continent, a bird's eye view zooming in from satellite distance and a voice-over insisting that Canada's forests have grown 20 per cent since 1969.
Others showed frolicking woodland animals.
"I'm at a loss to understand how they can get away with that," says Sierra lawyer Devon Page. He insists the statistics in the ads are misleading.
"It's difficult for NGOs to oppose degeneration of our forests when we're confronted by FPAC, which has clouded the public's understanding," he says.
At issue are the interpretation and use of a number of statistics, many from the Washington, D.C.-based World Resources Institute (WRI). FPAC quotes WRI findings in its ad.
In a recently released letter, however, the co-director of WRI's forest program writes that FPAC's claims are either "a misrepresentation of the facts" or "based on outdated estimates."
FPAC, however, stands behind its ads.
"Their complaint is baseless," says FPAC communications director Nicolas Ruszkowski.
Nevertheless, because of the Sierra complaint, the ad campaign has been temporarily put on hold.
Ruszkowski says FPAC, an organization largely funded by the forestry industry, "has a very good track record" of working not only with the Sierra Club but also with other organizations supporting the Sierra Club complaint, among them Greenpeace and the David Suzuki Foundation.
In 2001, the Advertising Standards Council of Canada refused to hear a similar complaint made anonymously about FPAC's advertising.
Ruszkowski says he cannot understand why the WRI seems to be supporting environmentalists' claims and not FPAC's. "I can't say why they would do that," he says.