A study released by a University of Ottawa-based research group found that half of Canadians believe the benefits of pipelines outweigh the risks. 

Results from the study on “Polarization over Energy and Climate in Canada” were released on December 10, 2019.

The study questioned Canadians on their views about various energy and climate-related issues.

On the topic of a carbon tax, the study found that 51% of Canadians agreed that Canada needed the tax, while 36% disagreed. 

Support for the tax was more prevalent in large cities and suburbs, while it was less popular in regional cities and rural areas.

The study also found that Canadians had energy prices on the top of their minds, with over 50% ranking “keeping prices as low as possible” as their top energy priority. 

Overall, a majority of Canadians throughout the country ranked the oil and natural gas sector as “important.” Support for the industry was highest in the Prairies, where 80% of survey participants said it was important, and lowest in Quebec, where only 44% said it was important. 

On the issue of polarization, some Canadians expressed the view that elites have become detached from the opinions of ordinary people. A total of 35% stated that they believed Canada was divided between ordinary people and elites, while 46% said the “polarized and extreme views of powerful decision-makers” don’t reflect the views of ordinary people. 

The study also revealed that there was “moderate support” for Canada’s ability to develop projects like the oil sands while still meeting climate commitments.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has accused the federal government of creating anti-pipeline legislation. Kenney called Bill C-69, which places further restrictions on the assessment requirements needed for new energy development projects, the “No More Pipelines Bill”.

The oil industry in Alberta has taken a direct hit over the last few years and is struggling to recuperate. Alberta has seen many major oil companies scale down their operations. Most recently Husky Energy Inc. which laid off 370 people in October, mainly in Calgary, where its headquarters are stationed. 

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