With the 2019 federal election less than three months away, the Angus Reid Institute is getting a read on what’s important to Canadians right now.
Following an online survey conducted between August 21 and 26, the institute found that at the top of the list of concerns were two issues that are often stylized as at odds with one other; taking action to battle the effects of climate change and investing in Canada’s oil and gas industry.
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According to the Angus Reid study, successful candidates of October’s election will need to tackle both to have a real shot at leading the country in the coming years.
Taking data from a randomized sample of 1,534 Canadian adults, Angus Reid asked respondents if they felt that climate change and the oil and gas industry were either a top concern or a low priority for the country.
The institute found that 69% said that actions on climate change should be a top priority (no matter which party is elected), and another 58% of those same respondents believed the same about focusing on oil and gas development.
While it’s no deviation from the norm for the two topics to be top talking points for Canadians heading into an election, what Angus Reid found was that many respondents in 2019 were not ignoring the importance of “the other side.”
“Among those who said the next federal government should prioritize climate change efforts, three-quarters (75%) want at least some investment in the oil and gas sector,” the study stated.
“And among those who say the energy industry should have the next government’s main focus, four-in-five (80%) would still wish to see at least some investment in climate change efforts.”
When prompted with the choice of one or the other, however, the respondents leaned towards seeing climate change as a more pressing concern than the oil and sector by 52% to 34%.
The demographic most concerned about climate change being a top priority for the next government was women aged 18 to 34. Women were, overall, more concerned about the environment than their male counterparts, with only 57% of men 55 and older who responded to the survey stating that it was a top priority for them.
The numbers seemingly flip when the same is asked about the oil and gas industry, with men aged 55+ viewing the sector’s development as a top priority, and the majority of younger women who responded believing that it should be treated as a low priority.
And when it came to what party the respondents would vote in to handle climate action, the Conservative Party came out on top “bolstered by its own loyal voter base,” according to the study, with 25% of respondents.
The CPC was followed closely by the Green Party (23%), the Liberals (18%) and the New Democratic Party (10%).
The remaining 18% were undecided.