Opinion Polls

Meeting Canada’s Energy Needs

The Montreal Economic Institute (MEI) commissioned Ipsos to poll Canadians on their opinions regarding various energy-related issues.

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Les Québécois restent ouverts aux hydrocarbures (TVA Nouvelles, December 12, 2019)

Interview with Germain Belzile (Danielle Smith Show, Global Radio, December 11, 2019)

Interview (in French) with Luc Vallée (Même fréquence, Ici Radio-Canada, December 11, 2019)


Media release: Poll: Quebecers remain open to hydrocarbons

Montreal, December 11, 2019 – Contrary to what is often heard in the media and from certain lobby groups, Quebecers are still open to developing their oil resources. They also prefer oil from Western Canada to foreign oil, according to an Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of the MEI and published today.


  • An overwhelming majority of Quebecers (65%) prefer for the oil imported into Quebec to come from Western Canada, versus just 13% who prefer American oil and 5% who prefer oil from another country.
  • Nearly twice as many Quebecers (45%) want their province to develop its own oil resources rather than continuing to import the oil that they consume (26%). (28% of Quebecers don’t know.)
  • When it comes to transporting oil, 50% of Canadians believe that pipelines are the safest means of transport, followed by 11% who think the train is safest.

“Year after year, survey after survey, the results are unequivocal,” says Luc Vallée, Chief Economist and Chief Operating Officer at the MEI. “Quebecers are much more open to hydrocarbons than we might think. They understand that we need oil and that the energy transition will not happen overnight.”

Moreover, although climate change is the most important issue for 20% of Canadians, an overwhelming majority of them (63%) are not prepared to pay more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“These responses reveal an obvious contradiction,” notes Germain Belzile, Senior Associate Researcher at the MEI. “Canadians want to address climate change, but remain very reluctant to make any financial sacrifices. In fact, they prefer that governments and the industry make the effort for them, while it is the population that consumes oil; the industry just responds to the strong demand.”

Indeed, more than half of Canadians (57%) agree that a carbon tax should be imposed on Canadian companies.

“Here too, consumers are avoiding responsibility, and seem in particular to forget that the carbon tax imposed on Canadian companies will inevitably be passed on,” adds Mr. Vallée.

The Quebec government dreams of a richer, more prosperous province. What is it waiting for to act on the results of this and preceding polls? We should allow the province’s oil resources to be responsibly developed and reduce the obstacles to transporting Canadian oil, instead of favouring the importation of foreign petroleum products.

“Quebecers have expressed their preferences. They are clearly in favour of sustainable economic growth built on the development of our own resources,” concludes Mr. Belzile.

The Web survey was conducted from November 22nd to November 25th, 2019 among a representative sample of 1,003 Canadians 18 years of age or older. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. 

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The MEI is an independent public policy think tank with offices in Montreal, Calgary, and Paris. Through its publications, media appearances, and advisory services to policy-makers, the MEI stimulates public policy debate and reforms based on sound economics 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 / Email: pdery@iedm.org

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