In the wake of Quebec Premier Francois Legault's recent statements about Alberta oil, which have sown discontent in Western Canada, a Leger poll conducted for the MEI shows that a large majority of Quebecers prefer to get oil from Western Canada than from anywhere else in the world.
Indeed, 66% of respondents favoured Western Canadian oil, versus just 7% who preferred to import oil from the United States, followed by Algeria (3%), Nigeria (1%), and the countries of the Middle East (1%).
"Interestingly for the new Quebec government and its leader, among respondents who identify as CAQ supporters, 79% prefer oil from western Canada," notes Germain Belzile, Senior Associate Researcher at the MEI.
53% of respondents would rather Quebec develop its own oil resources than continue to import the oil it consumes.
"Obviously, Quebecers' opinions regarding the development and the provenance of oil are very different from what is often heard from certain interest groups and from a portion of the political elite," points out Belzile.
According to 45% of Quebecers, pipelines remain the safest means of transporting oil, far ahead of the other options (14% for tanker trucks, 13% for trains, and 9% for boats).
"Clearly, Quebecers know that there is less risk involved in pipeline transport than in the other common modes of transport. This is as true for Montrealers as it is for people living in rural regions," says Belzile.
Over the years, in poll after poll, Quebecers remain just as much in favour of oil and its development.
"Given that both the demand for and the consumption of oil continue to rise, that oil currently accounts for 40% of the primary energy used in Quebec, and that the development of hydrocarbons would therefore be profitable for Quebec, what are we waiting for to change our public policies?" asks Belzile.
"It's high time to start weaning the Quebec government off of its dependence on equalization payments by listening to Quebecers and by developing our own resources. The economic situation in Alberta makes it more pressing than ever to let Western Canadian oil pass through our territory, especially given that this oil is highly valued by Quebecers," concludes Michel Kelly-Gagnon, President and CEO of the MEI.
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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