It turns out that bailing out tar sands pipelines and subsidizing oil and gas companies is deeply unpopular among Canadians. A new poll shows that a large majority of Canadians want to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies and instead invest in climate solutions.
Today, Environmental Defence and our allies released polling data from Ekos that shows strong national support for ending public support for oil and gas companies. Public opinion is clear: instead of handing out billions of dollars in subsidies to climate polluters, Canada should move forward with its commitment to phase out fossil fuel subsidies. You can see the full report here.
The Ekos poll shows that Canadians want transparency on how much public money is supporting fossil fuel companies; that Canadians understand the environmental and climate benefits of ending these subsidies; and that they are more likely to support political parties that promise to phase them out.
Canadians want an end to fossil fuel subsidies in virtually every part of the country and across gender, age, region, education and income. The data makes this clear:
- Two-thirds of Canadians disagree that oil and gas companies should receive subsidies, including 41 per cent who “strongly” disagree.
- Even after being told that giving public money to oil and gas companies will create jobs and economic growth, more than half of Canadians still don’t like these subsidies.
- Six in ten Canadians agree that oil and gas companies should not receive government assistance on the basis that these subsidies exacerbate pollution and contribute to climate change.
- There is virtual consensus among Canadians (96 per cent) that the federal government should disclose how much oil and gas companies receive in subsidies.
- Six in ten Canadians (58 per cent) say that they would be more likely to support a political party that promises to eliminate subsidies to oil and gas companies.
- Just three out of ten respondents felt that stopping subsidies to oil and gas companies would have negative economic impacts.
- More than half of respondents cited a need for greater climate action as the reason to end fossil fuel subsidies, while another 21 per cent wanted to free up money for other priorities like health care, education and housing.
The polling results demonstrate that the federal government has strong public support to move forward with its commitment to phase out fossil fuel subsidies.
The feds took two giant steps backward last week by bailing out a tar sands pipeline, but it can start to make amends this week as Canada hosts the G7 Summit, an annual gathering of the world’s largest developed economies. Canada can attempt to salvage its claim to international climate leadership by securing a G7 roadmap to phase out these harmful subsidies to climate polluters.
The results are clear. Canadians don’t want the government to waste their money buying leaky tar sands pipelines and propping up a sunset industry. They want to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies and invest in climate action.