By ANGUS REID INSTITUTE
July 13, 2021 – As main federal party leaders embark on cross-country tours ahead of an all-but-certain election later this year, they are hoping to campaign at the intersection that marks a sweet spot for voter priority: 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 just over half of Canadians (54%) say 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 say the exploration and production of oil, coal, and natural gas, should receive equal priority alongside renewables. For those who supported the CPC in 2019, more than half (53%) say so.
Asked what they feel should be the top two goals of Canada’s energy policy, 49 per cent say that renewable energy production should be at the top of the list. A similar number say that environmental protection should take precedence (47%). Despite holding a place as the third largest economic industry in the country, just 26 per cent of Canadians choose economic growth among their top two priorities.
More Key Findings:
- Energy independence is chosen as a top priority by 46 per cent of Canadians, rising to 71 per cent among past CPC voters. This is the top priority in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.
- 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
- Asked which type of specific energy production they support investment in, 84 per cent choose solar panels, 77 per cent support wind turbine farms, while just 19 per cent support coal
- Half of Canadians would invest more in nuclear energy (51%) while half oppose it (49%). Two-thirds in Ontario (64%), where most nuclear is situated, say they support the industry.