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Quebecers still want oil, and prefer western oil: poll


December 11, 2019  


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Contrary to what is often heard in the media and from certain lobby groups, Quebecers are still open to developing their oil resources, and prefer oil from Western Canada to foreign oil, according to a Leger poll conducted on behalf of the Montreal Economic Institute (MEI).

“Year after year, survey after survey, the results are unequivocal,” says Luc Vallée, chief economist and chief operating officer at the MEI. “Quebecers are much more open to hydrocarbons than we might think. They understand that we need oil and that the energy transition will not happen overnight.”

Moreover, although climate change is the most important issue for 20 per cent of Canadians, an overwhelming majority of them (63 per cent) are not prepared to pay more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“These responses reveal an obvious contradiction,” notes Germain Belzile, senior associate researcher at the MEI. “Canadians want to address climate change, but remain very reluctant to make any financial sacrifices. In fact, they prefer that governments and the industry make the effort for them, while it is the population that consumes oil; the industry just responds to the strong demand.”

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Indeed, more than half of Canadians (57 per cent) agree that a carbon tax should be imposed on Canadian companies.

“Here too, consumers are avoiding responsibility, and seem in particular to forget that the carbon tax imposed on Canadian companies will inevitably be passed on,” adds Vallée.

“Quebecers have expressed their preferences. They are clearly in favour of sustainable economic growth built on the development of our own resources,” concludes Belzile.

Highlights:

  • An overwhelming majority of Quebecers (65 per cent) prefer for the oil imported into Quebec to come from Western Canada, versus just 13 per cent who prefer American oil and five per cent who prefer oil from another country.
  • Nearly twice as many Quebecers (45 per cent) want their province to develop its own oil resources rather than continuing to import the oil that they consume (26 per cent). (28 per cent of Quebecers don’t know.)
  • When it comes to transporting oil, 50 per cent of Canadians believe that pipelines are the safest means of transport, followed by 11 per cent who think the train is safest.

The Web survey was conducted from November 22 to 25, among a representative sample of 1,003 Canadians 18 years of age or older. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Complete poll results are available on their website.