Research Precedes Trudeau Conference on the Environment, Nov. 15-17
MONTREAL, Nov. 14 /CNW/ - Canadians strongly believe that government
intervention is the most essential step to reducing climate change, and want
their country to demonstrate global leadership in finding solutions, according
to a new poll for the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation commissioned in
collaboration with the Canada West Foundation. The poll results come in
advance of the Trudeau Foundation's upcoming annual conference entitled "A
Climate of Reconciliation: Economy, Social Justice and the Environment",
occurring in Calgary later this week.
"While Canadians see a role for both business and individuals in
addressing climate change, the majority believe our government must lead the
charge," said Pierre-Gerlier Forest, President of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau
Foundation. "The forthcoming conference on this topic is another opportunity
to pursue a central objective of the Trudeau Foundation, which is to generate
informed reflection and dialogue around issues of major societal importance."
When asked to mention the largest contributors of green house gas (GHG)
emissions causing climate change, Canadians are as likely to blame consumers
like themselves as industry and business.
- More than half (55%) of Canadians mention industry, businesses or
corporations as the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions
in Canada today, with specific sectors being the oil and gas
industry (17%) and the energy industry more broadly (12%), followed
by manufacturing (3%), coal burning power plants (3%) and steel mills
(3%). An equal proportion (53%) identifies consumers as the biggest
contributors, primarily mentioning vehicle use (42%).
- Two-thirds (62%) say Central Canada is the region of Canada that is
the biggest contributor of climate change-causing GHG emissions,
mostly identifying Ontario (48%), followed by Quebec (15%). By
comparison fewer than four in ten (38%) point to Western Canada, with
32 percent mentioning Alberta specifically. Central Canada is the
region most apt to be mentioned by Canadians across the country, but
especially so by Ontarians themselves (70%). Albertans (48%) are
among those most likely to identify their own province as a major
contributor of GHG.
- Most Canadians believe their own province is a major (41%) or
moderate (42%) cause of the climate change problem. But views vary
noticeably across the country, with identification of own province as
a major cause of climate change highest in Ontario (62%) and Alberta
(41%), compared with Quebec (38%), B.C. (19%), the Atlantic Provinces
(13%), Manitoba (9%) and Saskatchewan (3%).
Canadians look first to government rather than to industry or consumers to
take the lead in tackling climate change. Most believe that all regions of the
country have an equally responsibility to address the problem, but at the same
time would support additional compensation to Western Canada if the costs fall
more heavily on this region.
- Canadians are most likely to believe that government regulation is
most essential to reducing climate change (50%) compared with just
19% who see the key role falling to industry and business to make new
investments and change their operations, and 15% who put the onus on
consumers to change their lifestyle.
- When asked what kind of people have a greater responsibility than
others to take action on climate change, Canadians look first to
people in government (27%) or industry executives (22%) At the same
time, three in ten (31%) insist all Canadians have an equal
- Do all regions of the country have an equal responsibility to take
strong action on climate change, or do some have a greater
responsibility than others? Two-thirds (67%) of Canadians believe all
have an equal responsibility, with this view strongest in B.C. (78%),
Manitoba (75%) and Atlantic Canada (75%), and least so in
- A majority (57%) of Canadians feel that Western Canada should receive
compensation from the rest of the country if the economic costs of
strong action on climate change fell more heavily on this region.
Support for such assistance is strongest in the Prairies (72%) and
B.C. (70%), and noticeably lower in Quebec (47%) and Atlantic
Canadians want their country to demonstrate global leadership in finding
solutions to climate change, but there is no consensus on whether a
made-in-Canada approach or one consistent with other industrialized nations is
- Canadians believe Canada should take a leadership role in the fight
against climate change, either as the leading country (18%) or being
among the leaders (49%).
- Canadians think the most effective way for Canada to influence other
countries to take more action is to serve as a model country that
sets an example for others (44%). Fewer suggest the
development/export of new environmentally-friendly technology (28%)
or through exerting diplomatic or trade pressures on other
- Five in ten (51%) Canadians prefer our national approach to climate
change be tailored specifically to Canada, while 42 % say the better
option is to be as consistent as possible with the approaches taken
in other industrialized countries. This trend is reversed in Quebec,
where the balance of opinion tilts toward an international
approach (48%) over one specific to Canada (44%).
Against this backdrop, the Trudeau Conference will shed light on the
situation in Canada, and a series of five thematic sessions (energy, health,
housing, transport, and water) will focus on immediate, practical issues to
help define the most promising public choices. Conference speakers include:
- Edward Burtynsky, one of Canada's most respected photographers whose
work on global industrial landscapes is showcased in museums around
- Jack Diamond, WWF Canada Board member,prize-winning architect and
founder of Toronto-based Diamond and Schmitt Architects Inc., with
projects across in Canada and across the World.
- Heather Douglas, President and CEO of the Calgary Chamber of
- Travis Engen, former President and CEO of Alcan and Chairman of the
World Business Council for Sustainable Development.
- Roger Gibbins, President and CEO of the Canada West Foundation.
- Richard Jackson (Berkeley), former Director of the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) National Center for
- William Rees (University of British Columbia and Trudeau Fellow)
originator and co-developer of the "ecological footprint" concept and
- Robert Sandford, Canadian Chair of the United Nations International
"Water for Life" Decade.
About the Trudeau Foundation
The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation funds outstanding scholars who
conduct research in crucial societal issues, and creates opportunities for
dialogue and multidisciplinary collaboration across organizations and
disciplines under four key themes: Human Rights and Social Justice,
Responsible Citizenship, Canada and the World, and Humans in their Natural
Environment. Since being established in 2002, the Foundation has granted over
125 major awards to top researchers and highly accomplished individuals, in
Canada and abroad. For more information visit www.trudeaufoundation.ca.
About the research
The results are based on a telephone poll by Environics Research
conducted with a representative sample of adult Canadians October 4-11, 2007.
A total of 2,006 interviews were completed. A sample of this size will produce
a sampling error of plus or minus 2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
For further information:
For further information: or conference media accreditation, or to
arrange an interview with a Trudeau Foundation official, contact: Catharine
Marion (English media), Environics Communications, (416) 969-2809; Alida
Alepian (French media), Capital Image, (514) 739-1188 ext. 225; On site
contact: Elise Comtois, The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, (514) 466-1575,
(Cell. Foundation), firstname.lastname@example.org