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Canadians divided on whether Trudeau’s pipeline approach is too much, too little or just right

The campaign for the 43rd federal election is officially underway and that means Canadians are considering what the coming years can and will bring for their country. One of the core debates in Canada continues to be the development of the oil and gas sector.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, seeking re-election, will once again find himself defending his record on this file, with opponents to the TransMountain pipeline project attacking the government’s decision to buy it, and pipeline proponents furious about what they say is Trudeau’s failure to complete it. Recent news that the Federal Court of Appeal will hear six new challenges to the pipeline’s isn’t likely to quell that anger.

Against this backdrop, a new study from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds that Canadians more than twice as likely to say the next federal government should proceed with and complete that project (53%) rather than stop it (24%).

If the project does indeed go forth and provide funding for a transition to clean energy, most Canadians would likely be pleased.

Six-in-ten (63%) say renewable energy is a ‘huge opportunity’ for Canada, and most (52%) would like their province to invest in renewable energy over non-renewables if offered federal government funding.

However, Trudeau’s party is not the top choice of voters to steward the nation’s oil and gas sector. That position is held by the Conservatives, who are chosen as best on the issue by 36 per cent of Canadians, compared to 19 per cent who choose the Liberals.

Overall, when they consider the past four years, Canadians are divided on how Trudeau has handled the pipeline file. Four-in-ten say his government has not done enough to expand pipeline capacity, though three-in-ten take the opposite view, while one-quarter say the Liberals have struck the right balance.

More Key Findings:

  • Each region of the country outside of Quebec voices significantly more support than opposition to the TransMountain expansion (TMX). But even Quebecers are split, as 36 per cent support the project while 39 per cent oppose. Support is highest in Alberta, where 85 per cent say the next government should complete the TMX.
  • Those leaning toward the Conservatives in the coming election overwhelmingly feel that the Trudeau government has not done enough to grow the nation’s pipeline capacity (83%). Most Liberal leaning supporters say the government has struck the right balance (59%), while NDP (59%) and Green (67%) supporters say the Liberals have pushed too hard on the pipeline issue.
  • Canadians across the country, outside of Alberta, voice an overwhelming preference that their provincial government invest in renewable energy sources instead of non-renewable projects.

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