Calgary, AB September 11, 2020 — Canadians believe that recovery from COVID-19 should support Canada’s natural resource industries while still protecting the environment, according to a recent Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of the Business Council of Alberta. In total, 75% of Canadians strongly (21%) or somewhat (54%) agreed with this statement. Likewise, Canadians agreed that natural resource companies (like oil and gas, agriculture, forestry etc,) should be encouraged to grow if they are working toward fighting climate change. Seventy-three (73%) of respondents strongly (25%) or somewhat (48%) agreed with this statement. A majority (71%) also agreed that Canada's natural resource sectors should be part of our economic recovery strategy from COVID-19, with 20% strongly agreeing and 51% somewhat agreeing.
A majority of Canadians (52%) said that recovery from COVID-19 means we should prioritize the economy and the environment equally, while 28% said that recovery from COVID-19 means we should prioritize the economy over the environment, and eight percent (8%) said we should prioritize the environment over the economy. Twelve percent (12%) did not know enough to say.
When it comes to climate change and reducing emissions, 69% Canadians (21% strongly, 49% somewhat) believe that Canada can achieve its goal of fighting climate change while also growing the economy.
Overall, economic concerns such as the economy, deficit/debt, unemployment and taxes were cited by more than six in ten respondents (61%). COVID-19 remains a top priority for almost half of Canadians, with 46% saying the most important issue facing Canada is the COVID-19 response, preventing a second wave, or finding a vaccine. This was followed by social issues such as health care or education/return to school, mentioned by 36% of respondents. In contrast, environmental issues (8%) and climate change (8%) have declined out of the top five issues compared to Ipsos polling during the federal election in 2019, as Canadians are focusing on issues they perceive as more immediate or related to their personal situation. Other issues were selected by 46% of respondents. Respondents were able to select up to three issues that they considered the most important issue facing Canada today, so totals exceed 100%.
Economic confidence remains fragile. Only three percent (3%) of Canadians said the overall state of the economy today was “very good,” while 23% rated it as “somewhat good.” In contrast, 44% rated it as “somewhat bad” and 25% rated it as “very bad.” Economic confidence was stronger at the provincial level. Albertans and Atlantic Canadians were the least confident, while British Columbians were the most confident, in their provincial economies.
In terms of the upcoming Speech from the Throne from the federal government in Ottawa later in September, a plurality of respondents (27%) prioritized economic recovery, followed by a response to COVID-19 (19%). Two in ten respondents (21%) did not know enough to say. When it comes to a “green recovery”, close to double the number of Canadians feel getting existing businesses back on their feet should be the priority, with 54% of respondents choosing this option over making a “green recovery” a priority (27%). Nineteen percent (19%) of respondents did not know enough to say.
“The survey results show Canadians are very concerned about the economic consequences of the pandemic. While we prefer a balanced approach to economic recovery, we are skeptical about plans that prioritize other policy concerns over getting our economy back on its feet as quickly as possible.” Gregory Jack, Vice President, Ipsos Public Affairs (Canada)
About the Study
This Ipsos poll was conducted on behalf of the Business Council of Alberta between August 24 and 27, 2020, using a sample of 1,003 Canadians aged 18+ from the Ipsos online panel, who were interviewed online. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. In this case, the poll is accurate to within +/ – 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadian adults been polled.
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