Angus Reid polled Canadians on a voter sweet spot ahead of an all-but-certain election later this year: at the intersection where climate issues meet the economy.
As climate change remains a key issue for swing voters on the left of centre – and as voters regardless of political stripe look expectantly to a much-needed economic rebound post-pandemic – this year’s campaign may well be heavily contested on visions for the future of the energy industry.
The latest data from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds 54 percent of Canadians said alternative energy sources such as wind, solar, and hydrogen, should be the most important priority for the federal government. Among all Canadians who did not vote for the Conservative Party in 2019, this proportion rises to more than seven-in-ten.
That said, recognition remains that Canada’s traditional energy sector needs attention. One-in-three said the exploration and production of oil, coal, and natural gas should receive equal priority alongside renewables. For those who supported the CPC in 2019, 53 percent said so.
Asked what they feel should be the top two goals of Canada’s energy policy, 49 percent said that renewable energy production should be at the top of the list. Albertans are more likely to support investing in renewable energy and oil and gas equally than they are to say that oil and gas should be the primary goal on its own.
Energy independence is chosen as a top priority by 46 percent of Canadians, rising to 71 percent among past CPC voters. This is the top priority in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.
47 percent said that environmental protection should take precedence. Despite holding a place as the third largest economic industry in the country, just 26 percent of Canadians choose economic growth among their top two priorities.
Asked which type of specific energy production they support investment in, 84 percent choose solar panels, 77 percent support wind turbine farms, while just 19 percent support coal.
51 percent of Canadians would invest more in nuclear energy while 49 percent oppose it. 64 percent in Ontario, where most nuclear plants are situated, say they support the industry.