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Quebecers would rather develop the province’s own oil, as well as import it from Western Canada, and transport it with pipelines

Montreal, February 16, 2016 – Quebecers’ opinions about the development of oil, its provenance, and its transport diverge markedly from what is often heard from certain interest groups, and from certain members of the political elite, according to the results of a Léger poll commissioned by the MEI and released today.

Generally speaking, Quebecers are open to oil development and are pragmatic when it comes to its provenance and transport. Here are a few figures from the poll:

  • By a more than 2-to-1 ratio, respondents consider it preferable for Quebec to exploit its own oil resources, instead of continuing to import the oil it consumes from outside the province.
  • An overwhelming majority of Quebecers prefer that the oil imported from outside Quebec come from Western Canada. Indeed, 59% favour this option versus just 5% for the second most popular source (Mexico).
  • 41% of Quebecers consider pipelines to be the safest means to transport oil, far ahead of the other options (tanker truck: 14%, ship: 10%, train: 9%).

Of particular interest for the Quebec government and its leader: Among respondents who identify with the provincial Liberal Party, 57% find it preferable for Quebec to exploit its own oil resources, versus 25% who think Quebec should continue to import its oil from outside the province. Also, a vast majority of them (75%) prefer that Quebec import its oil from Western Canada.

The results of the poll are also in line with the results of numerous MEI publications over the years. Among other things, these have shown, through numerous scientific studies, the benefits of developing Quebec’s oil resources and of transporting oil by pipeline.

“I hope that going forward, when it comes to public policy choices, the opinions of Quebecers will be taken into account,” says Michel Kelly-Gagnon, President and CEO of the MEI. “The results of this poll clearly show not only that Quebecers are ready to say yes to the development of oil in the province, but also that they are very conscious of the fact that pipelines are the safest way to transport oil. Finally, they have a clear preference for consuming oil from Western Canadian rather than from other regions of the world.”

The poll was conducted between February 1st and February 4, 2016 in all regions across Quebec, with a representative sample of 1,014 Quebecers aged 18 or over. This would yield a margin of error of around + or – 3.1%, 19 times out of 20. The poll can be consulted on the MEI’s website.

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The Montreal Economic Institute is an independent, non-partisan, not-for-profit research and educational organization. Through its studies and its 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: Pascale Déry, Senior Advisor, Communications and Development, MEI / Tel.: 514-273-0969 ext. 2233 / Cell.: 514-502-6757 / Email: pdery@iedm.org

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