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May 2, 2024 – A new poll commissioned by the Macdonald-Laurier Institute and the C.D. Howe Institute indicates that three in five Canadians (60 percent) now believe “Canada does a very poor or poor job at developing a shared long-term vision for Canada’s energy future.” 

This is a significant rise from 2021, when only 44 percent of Canadians held such negative views of the Canadian government’s handling of our energy future. Further, the poll conducted by Nik Nanos of Nanos Research for two of Canada’s most respected think tanks indicates that decisionmakers are not finding the right balance of energy affordability and climate action. 

When asked to prioritize energy needs such as affordability, lowering GHG emissions, reliability, and safety, 39 percent of Canadians rank the affordability of energy as the most important need in the next five years. Reliability and affordability are most frequently ranked in the top three needs whereas emissions reduction is most frequently ranked fourth. 

This poll also found that the federal government’s recent climate policies are out of step with public opinion. This is particularly evident in Canadians’ attitude toward the carbon tax; Canadians are nearly twice as likely to oppose (37 percent) or somewhat oppose (18 percent) the recent increases to the tax than to support (10 percent) or somewhat support (22 percent) it. 

The majority of Canadians also support or somewhat support building new export facilities for both low carbon hydrogen and natural gas (76 percent said they are in favour of hydrogen, while 65 percent said they are in favour of natural gas). This should suggest to policymakers that there is significant political space for increasing Canada’s influence in the world through increased energy production and exporting.

Canadians responded to questions asked online from April 16 to 18, 2024, in support of the Macdonald-Laurier Institute and C.D. Howe Institute’s joint conference Unleashing Canada’s Potential: A Collaborative Energy Policy Dialogue. Held from May 1 to 2, 2024 in Toronto, this conference convened Canadian energy policy leaders, decisionmakers and experts together to chart a path forward for our nation’s energy policy and sector.

Download the polling brief and methodology here.

Or the full survey report here.

For questions media are invited to contact: Nik Nanos, Chief Data Scientist and Founder, Nanos Research; and Lauren Malyk, Senior Communications Officer, C.D. Howe Institute, 416-865-1904 Ext. 0247, lmalyk@cdhowe.org

The C.D. Howe Institute is an independent not-for-profit research institute whose mission is to raise living standards by fostering economically sound public policies. Widely considered to be Canada's most influential think tank, the Institute is a trusted source of essential policy intelligence, distinguished by research that is nonpartisan, evidence-based and subject to definitive expert review.