Opinion Polls

Meeting Quebec’s Energy Needs (2022)

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

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Media release – Quebecers in favour of developing the province’s hydrocarbons

Montreal, March 17, 2022 – With recent international events highlighting the importance of guaranteeing the energy security of Western countries, more than half (52%) of Quebecers think that their province should develop its own oil resources rather than importing all the oil it consumes, while just 28% are opposed to this and 20% are undecided. Not only is Quebec sitting on substantial reserves of oil and natural gas, but the demand for hydrocarbons in foreign markets is growing and will remain significant for several decades to come. Quebecers want to seize this opportunity.

“The results of this poll are very conclusive. Note that when we prepared the questions, the Russian invasion of Ukraine had not yet happened and its impact on global supplies of hydrocarbons was not yet on the agenda. However, the invasion had just begun when respondents were starting to answer the questions. It’s clear that energy issues leave no one indifferent and that Quebecers understand the role we must play in producing natural gas, notably for export to our European allies,” explains Michel Kelly-Gagnon, President and CEO of the MEI.

Even if the environmental lobby is very present in Quebec media, half of respondents (50%) nonetheless think that the actions taken by some environmental groups are preventing too many job-creation projects in Quebec from moving forward. Only a third of Quebecers disagree (33%), which represents a substantial decrease (of 11 percentage points) compared to last year.

“Many pressure groups are pushing the Legault government to reject all new hydrocarbon development projects. The government has even decided to introduce a bill to close the door on all development projects. Yet we send over $5 billion a year out of province, in normal times, to cover our consumption of oil and natural gas. Do we really want to prevent entrepreneurs from developing these resources when we keep importing them every day? Quebecers should have the choice of buying local or not. At the moment, the government is choosing for them, and Quebecers have had enough,” says Miguel Ouellette, Director of Operations and Economist at the MEI.

Another important point: Three-quarters of Quebecers (73%) think that taxes and duties levied on gasoline are too high, compared to a mere 15% who think the opposite.

“For each litre of gasoline consumed, we currently have to pay the provincial gasoline tax (19.2 cents), the federal excise tax (10 cents), the tax resulting from the carbon market (8.9 cents), and of course, the QST and GST, which are taxes on top of the other taxes. To this is also added, in the Greater Montreal region, a tax of 3 cents per litre to finance public transit, and a minimum price on gasoline for all regions. Quebecers are clear: this excessive taxation, which represents around 33% of the total price of gasoline, has to stop, especially during this period of high inflation,” adds Mr. Ouellette.

Other highlights:

  • Half of Quebecers (51%) agree that, if the government’s idea to prohibit the development of hydrocarbons is implemented, companies that hold licenses to develop the province’s oil and natural gas should be compensated according to the fair market value of their license. Just a little over a quarter (28%) disagree.
  • More than half of Quebecers (52%) believe that their province should develop its own oil resources instead of importing all the oil it consumes. This represents an increase of 9 points compared to last year. Inversely, 28% think that the province should continue importing the oil it uses.
  • Almost three-quarters of Quebecers (73%) agree that taxes and duties levied on gasoline are already too high and should not be increased further. Moreover, 51% say they “strongly agree.” Just 15% disagree with this statement.
  • Nearly 6 out of 10 Quebecers (57%) agree with the idea that the Quebec government should allow local natural gas development projects to go ahead insofar as these projects do not emit greenhouse gases during their production phase, even if the subsequent use of the natural gas generates GHG emissions. This therefore demonstrates support for carbon neutral extraction projects that use carbon capture technologies.

The online poll was conducted by Ipsos on behalf of the MEI between February 25 and March 2, 2022 with a representative sample of 1,007 Quebec residents aged 18 years and over. The results are accurate to within 3.5 percentage points (19 times out of 20) of what they would have been had all Quebecers been polled.

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The Montreal Economic Institute is an independent public policy think tank. 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:
Josée Morissette, Senior Advisor, Media Relations
Cell: 418-929-5291
Email: jmorissette@iedm.org

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