Few Canadians trust the Harper Conservatives to effectively balance environment and economy: poll
OTTAWA ─ A new poll by Nanos Research for Living Oceans Society reveals a high degree of distrust among Canadians with the current federal government’s capacity to balance environmental protection with economic activity.
“As Canada’s economy faces challenges, the pressure to cut environmental corners will grow,” said Jennifer Lash, Executive Director of Living Oceans Society. “Canadians need a government that we can trust to maintain the right balance between sustainable economic growth and protection for our environment, specifically for our oceans.”
Using a scale of one to five, Canadians were asked about how much they trusted the current government to balance environmental protection with economic activity, with a “one” indicating the lowest level of trust. 43.6 percent of Canadians indicated they did not trust the Harper government, while only 20.6 percent said they trusted the government to balance the economy with environmental protection, a ratio of more than two to one.
Clean and healthy oceans are essential to Canada’s coastal ecosystems and communities. Offshore drilling and tanker spills have damaged marine environments and had a negative impact on coastal communities and businesses around the world.
In Canada, there are a number of issues on which the environmental health of our oceans is currently threatened by short term economic concerns. For example, due to anxiety over the rising price of fuel throughout North America, the federal government is considering lifting its offshore oil and gas drilling and tanker moratorium on the North Coast of British Columbia. As well, several proposals for pipeline projects from Alberta's tar sands call for oil tanker traffic loaded with crude oil to travel from the pipelines through B.C.'s coastal waters for export to the United States and Asia.
On the issue of tanker traffic, distrust in the Harper government’s ability to manage the economy while protecting the environment is strongest in Quebec (54 percent do not trust), amongst women (45.7 percent do not trust), among Bloc Quebecois supporters (71.4 percent do not trust), and among Canadians aged 18-29 (47.3 percent do not trust).
“These numbers should be a wake up call to Mr. Harper and all candidates in this election,” Lash said. “If you want support from the public, you need to show them that you will protect our oceans, lands, and air. Clearly Canadians are looking for stronger leadership on environmental issues.”
The poll results are based on a random telephone survey of 1,200 Canadians from September 20 - 22, 2008. The margin of accuracy for a sample of 1,200 is ±2.8%, 19 times out of 20. For more details on the poll please see the attachment. For more information on polling technique please visit www.nanosresearch.com.
Jennifer Lash, Executive Director, Living Oceans Society, Phone: 250-973-6580