In a new poll released today, more than seventy per cent of Quebecers say a proposal to transport oil by pipeline from the Alberta Tar Sands to Montreal must be delayed until stronger environmental laws are in place to control greenhouse gas emissions from the Tar Sands.
The poll by CROP, a public opinion research company based in Montreal, also found seventy two per cent of Quebecers did not agree with the federal government’s proposal that Tar Sands’ companies produce fewer emissions per barrel of oil, but be allowed to increase their total emissions as oil production grows.

Other findings showed fifty eight per cent of respondents said the position of the political parties on tackling global warming pollution from the oil sands and other large sources of greenhouse gas emissions would influence how they vote, while 39 per cent said it would not be an influence. Forty three per cent of respondents said they considered activity in the Tar Sands to be negative overall, while 28 per cent said it was positive overall.

“Quebec is taking some smart, effective measures to help solve the climate crisis while the Tar Sands are causing emissions level in this country to explode,” says Steven Guilbeault of Equiterre. “It’s clear Quebec wants to be part of the answer, not the problem, which is why we must say no to Alberta’s dirty oil.”

Also today, a full-page advertisement – depicting a Tar Sands bulldozer menacing Quebec’s famed hotel Chateau Frontenac and downtown Montreal – ran in La Presse to provide the straight goods about the new “Trailbreaker” proposal by Enbridge that would transport more than 200,000 barrels a day of Tar Sands’ oil by pipeline to Montreal. The project would facilitate the expansion of Tar Sands oil development, Canada’s fastest rising source of greenhouse gas emissions.

The ad, which was sponsored by environmental groups Equiterre, ForestEthics and Environmental Defence and appeared on the same day as the French federal party leaders’ debate, asks who of the federal party leaders will oppose the pipeline proposal.

“The Tar Sands are holding Quebec and the rest of Canada hostage by taking us all in the wrong direction on global warming,” says Matt Price of Environmental Defence. “Why should other regions support Tar Sands infrastructure until emissions begin to go down?”

By 2012 just one Tar Sands Company, Suncor, projects that it will increase emissions by about the same amount (~15 million tonnes) as Quebec’s target to reduce emissions.

“Despite the ongoing spin coming out of Alberta, sharing in Tar Sands development is not an example of national unity, but an exercise in gross environmental neglect,” said Gillian McEachern of ForestEthics.

Last week, the same environmental groups launched, an online petition where Quebecers can request the pipeline proposal be rejected. So far, more than 2,000 messages have been sent from the petition to all of the federal party leaders.

The poll results were based on 1,000 telephone interviews conducted between September 18th and September 28th, 2008. From a statistical viewpoint, a sample this size is accurate to within 3 points, 19 times out of 20. 
For more information, please contact:
Eveline Trudel-Fugère, Equiterre, (514) 605-2000
Jennifer Foulds, Environmental Defence, (416) 323-9521, ext. 232
Gillian McEachern, ForestEthics, (416) 938-6032