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Are environmental groups too radical? That’s what half of Canadians think

Montreal, Tuesday, October 16, 2012 – Canadians’ opinions of fossil fuels and of Alberta’s oil sands, Canada’s main source of oil, are much more favourable than one might have supposed at first glance. That’s what is shown by a Léger Marketing poll commissioned by the Montreal Economic Institute (MEI) and released today.

Generally speaking, Canadians are pragmatic and measured when it comes to the oil industry. Here are a few figures that illustrate this attitude:

  • 52% of Canadians think that several environmental groups are too radical, compared to 31% who disagree with this statement.
  • 80% of Canadians are in favour of developing the oil sands, as long as efforts are made to limit the environmental impact.
  • 73% of Quebecers wish that, insofar as oil must be used, it should come from Canada.

In addition, only 19% of Quebecers are able to identify one of the province’s two main sources of oil, namely the North Sea and Africa.

“The environmental impact must be carefully studied, whether for the exploitation of water, mineral, oil or gas resources. However, environmental lobby groups’ systematic condemnation of almost all projects aiming to develop these types of resources appears excessive in the eyes of Quebecers,” explains Youri Chassin, economist at the MEI.

The data from this poll are available for every region of Canada and they are broken down by federal political party affiliation.

The poll, conducted between September 17 and 20, 2012 with a representative sample of 2,560 Canadians, yields a margin of error of + or – 1.9%, 19 times out of 20. It can be consulted free of charge on our website.

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The Montreal Economic Institute is an independent, non-partisan, not-for-profit research and educational organization. Through its publications and conferences, the MEI stimulates debate on public policies in Quebec and across Canada by proposing wealth-creating reforms based on market mechanisms.

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Interview requests: Ariane Gauthier, communications coordinator, Montreal Economic Institute / Tel.: 514 273-0969 ext. 2231 / Cell: 514 603-8746 / E-mail: agauthier@iedm.org

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