Ontarians disagree with Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s attempts to shut down Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline, according to a recent poll by Angus Reid.
In November 2020, Governor Whitmer issued an executive order to Enbridge to shut down the project, citing environmental concerns. At its peak operation, the pipeline carries 540,000 barrels of oil from Sarnia, Ontario to Superior, Wisconsin and supplied energy to Ontario and Quebec.
According to the Angus Reid poll, when asked if the pipeline should stay open or be shut down, 49% of Ontario residents said “keep it open,” 28% favoured shutting it down and 22% were unsure. Michiganders echoed similar sentiments, with 48% saying “keep it open,” 25% wanting to shut it down and 27% unsure.
On the other hand, when Quebeckers were asked the same question, only 36% were in favour of keeping the pipeline open.
A shutdown of the cross-border Enbridge Line 5 pipeline would have a profound impact on both the Canadian and US economy. Ontario estimates that 5,000 direct jobs and over 23,000 indirect jobs will be put at risk if Line 5 shuts down.
A shutdown will also lead to increased truck and rail traffic. According to IHS Markit, 45,000 additional trucks or 15,000 more railcars would be required to deliver resources between the regions should Line 5 halt operations.
The Angus Reid poll also revealed that if Michigan turns off the tap on Line 5, three-quarters of Ontarians (76%) and 58% of Quebecers believe the Energy East project should be revived.
Energy East was a 4,500-kilometre pipeline proposed to carry 1.1 million barrels of crude oil per day from Alberta and Saskatchewan to Eastern Canada. Due to stringent regulations set out by the Trudeau government, TransCanada cancelled the Energy East pipeline in 2017.