Energy Policies

New Carbon Tax

The Montreal Economic Institute (MEI) commissioned Leger to poll Quebecers on their opinions regarding the new carbon tax and its possible impacts.

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Media release: Only 2% of Quebecers ready to pay for a carbon tax that would allow GHG reduction targets to be reached

A majority of Quebecers are not prepared to pay more for gasoline due to a carbon tax. As for an “effective” carbon tax, which is to say one that is high enough for the province to meet its environmental objectives, the rate of support is just 2%, shows a Leger poll carried out on behalf of the MEI.

Among the poll results:

  • When it comes to the principle of the new carbon tax, 62% of Quebecers are in favour versus 25% against. This support in principle climbs to 76% if the tax allows the GHG reduction targets to be fully reached.
  • However, only 40% of Quebecers would be prepared to pay more for a litre of gasoline due to this tax.
  • A little less than a quarter of Quebecers (24%) are ready to pay up to 5 cents more per litre, and less than 9% up to 10 cents.[1]
  • Only 2% of Quebecers are prepared to pay up to 50 cents more per litre,[2] yet this is the minimum needed for Quebec to fully reach its GHG reduction targets, according to studies of the matter.

“What may seem at first glance like a contradiction on the part of Quebecers is simply a manifestation of their rationality when an idea like the carbon tax is brought into the real world, with its associated costs,” points out Germain Belzile, Senior Associate Researcher at the MEI.

“When presented with both the benefits and the costs, Quebecers massively reject the idea of a carbon tax, or at least the suggestion of a carbon tax set at a level likely to have the sought-after impact on the consumption of fossil fuels,” he adds.

“These responses are not so surprising when you keep in mind that even if Quebec were to become the uncontested champion of GHG reductions, it would change absolutely nothing, or close enough, to the state of the planet, since Quebec is responsible for approximately 18 hundredths of 1%, or 0.18%, of global emissions,” observes Michel Kelly-Gagnon, President and CEO of the MEI.

“We can of course make laudable efforts to reduce our CO2 emissions, but the solution to the problems of climate change is above all technological innovation and good public policies,” concludes Mr. Kelly-Gagnon.

The online poll was conducted November 9-12, 2018 with a representative sample of 1,005 Quebecers aged 18 years and older. The margin of error is around + or – 3.1%.

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The MEI is an independent public policy think tank. Through its publications and media appearances, the MEI stimulates debate on public policies in Quebec and across Canada by proposing reforms based on market principles and entrepreneurship.

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Interview requests: Pascale Déry, Vice President, Communications and Development, MEI. Tel.: 514-273-0969 ext. 2233 / Cell: 514-502-6757 / E-mail: pdery@iedm.org

Notes
1. Namely 60% and 22%, respectively, of the 40% of Quebecers who say they are prepared to pay for the carbon tax.
2. Namely 5% of the 40% of Quebecers who say they are prepared to pay for the carbon tax.

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