Majority of Canadians support investments in clean technology for job creation and a more diverse economy less dependent on oil: Poll

TORONTO, Oct. 15, 2015 /CNW/ - Eighty per cent of Canadians say the federal government should be doing more to support clean technologies that help create jobs, according to a new Research House poll. 

"This is a clear signal for the next government that Canadians – across the nation – embrace clean technologies and that they want immediate action," said Ken Neumann, National Director for Canada of the United Steelworkers. "And given that we've lost hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs this past decade, Canada needs a forward looking jobs and industrial strategy."

The clean technology sector encompasses a broad range of industries, from wind turbines and solar panels to industrial and household energy efficiency, advancements in transportation, recycling and remediation, biorefinery products, and wastewater and agriculture-related activities.

The same poll shows a majority of Canadians, 63 per cent, want Canada's economy more diversified and less dependent on the oil and gas resource sector. This compares to just 15 per cent of respondents supporting an economic plan more focused on the promotion and growth of the oil and gas sector.

"Canadians across the country have said they want new jobs through investment in clean technology and they want to move past our historic reliance on oil and gas," said Charley Beresford, Chair of Blue Green Canada.

Blue Green Canada, a national alliance of environmental and labour organizations, hired Research House to ask Canadians their opinions on the state of the economy and their preference in the direction Canada should take for economic growth.

"Canada lost 62,000 full time jobs in September, and there were 12,200 manufacturing jobs lost in Ontario," said Unifor President Jerry Dias. "We urgently need a new economic strategy and investing in clean technology must be a crucial part of rebuilding our economy."

The national online poll was fielded from September 28th to October 1st, 2015 with a total of 1,208 interviews conducted. The poll set population based quotas to ensure accurate regional representation across the country.

"The polling shows Canadians understand the recent recession points to larger problems with our economy," said Tim Gray, Executive Director of Environmental Defence. "The faster Canada can prioritize investing in and supporting a lower-carbon economy, one that is already well underway worldwide, the stronger our country will be."

A plurality of Canadians, 40 per cent of those polled, believe that Canada's economic strategy has focused too much on growing the oil and gas resource sector at the expense of the manufacturing sector. In contrast 28 per cent of Canadians held the view that the natural resources sector, including oil and gas is the main driver of the economy and should be our focus.

Canada's next government can act to diversify the economy to reduce our reliance on oil and gas exports, while meeting the climate challenge head-on by investing in development and manufacturing of innovative clean technologies. Doing so would send a clear message to Canadians and the world that our nation will be a leader in the booming global green economy.

Blue Green Canada is an alliance between Canadian labour unions, environmental and civil society organizations to advocate for working people and the environment by promoting solutions to environmental issues that have positive employment and economic impacts. www.bluegreencanada.ca

SOURCE Blue Green Canada

For further information: Jamie Kirkpatrick, Blue Green Canada, Program Manager, 416-895-3406 (cell), 416-323-9521 ext. 289, jkirkpatrick@bluegreencanada.ca; Mark Rowlinson, United Steelworkers, Assistant to the National Director for Canada, 416-544-5952, mrowlinson@usw.ca; Sarah Blackstock, Unifor, Director of Communications, 1-800-268-5763 ext. 6652, 416-949-1072 (cell), sarah.blackstock@unifor.org; Naomi Carniol, Environmental Defence, Communications Manager, 416-323-9521 ext. 258, 416-570-2878 (cell), ncarniol@environmentaldefence.ca

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