September 2007 Poll: Conservation Issues are Top-of-Mind for NWT Residents



    OTTAWA, Sept. 24 /CNW Telbec/ - Environmental and conservation issues are
now top priorities for NWT residents, followed by social concerns, as
indicated in a poll released today by McAllister Research. Asked to identify
the issues that worry them most in an open-ended question at the start of an
interview, Northerners put environment and conservation issues (27 per cent)
at the top of their list, followed by drug and alcohol abuse (19 per cent).
    "Environmental and social concerns have clearly risen to the top of the
public agenda in the NWT", says Angus McAllister, President of McAllister
Opinion Research. "While our findings show that Northerners are generally
supportive of resource development, they are becoming increasingly worried
about the social costs to communities and strongly support measures to protect
land and the Northern way of life".
    The poll found that NWT residents from all demographic groups and regions
of the territory want their government to implement strong and effective
conservation measures.
    Nine in ten (90 per cent) Northerners say that the protection of lands,
water and natural ecosystems before development is a "high" priority, with a
clear majority (60 per cent) calling it a "very high" priority. A further
eight in ten (81 per cent) residents support the creation of more protected
areas where industrial development activities are prohibited.
    McAllister says, "public concerns about development impacts in the North
can be expected to accelerate as resource development becomes more visible.
The findings show clearly that Northerners want this issue addressed
decisively - now not later."
    A majority of two in three (65 per cent) want to see the Mackenzie Valley
lands protected before the anticipated construction of the Mackenzie Valley
Pipeline begins, while just 19 per cent want it protected during construction
and 11 per cent after construction (five percent have no opinion).
    Over eight in ten support the creation of protected areas such as the
proposed East Arm national park in the Great Slave Lake region (84 per cent)
and the Ramparts wetlands and boreal forest near Fort Good Hope (87 per cent),
with a clear majority in both cases expressing "strong" support. The expansion
of the Nahanni national park announced by Prime Minister Harper earlier this
summer is supported by 83 per cent of the respondents, again with a majority
strongly in support.
    The poll found that the impacts of global warming (18 per cent), impacts
of industrial development on rivers, lakes and streams (17 per cent) and
wildlife and ecosystems (12 per cent) are the most frequently mentioned
specific environmental issues in the NWT in response to unprompted, open-ended
survey questions.
    When asked about Prime Minister Stephen Harper's recent agenda for the
North, NWT residents are most likely to rate addressing global warming and
protecting the ecology of the North as first on the list (36 per cent),
followed by giving Northerners greater political and economic powers (30 per
cent). Protecting Arctic sovereignty (16 per cent) and promoting resource
development (14 per cent) were far less likely to be viewed as priorities.
    This poll was commissioned by the Environment Program of the Pew
Charitable Trusts to gain a better understanding of how NWT residents view
conservation issues (Steve Kallick, Boreal Project Director,
cell - 215 817 1676).

    
    DEMOGRAPHICS

    Majorities of all NWT residents support the creation of more natural
protected areas where resource development activities like logging, mining and
oil drilling are prohibited, but where activities like hunting, fishing and
traditional First Nations use continues.
    Those significantly more likely to "strongly" support protection include:

    - Aboriginals (65 per cent) more than non-Aboriginals (49 per cent).

    - Those under the age of 35 (65 per cent) more than those over (52 per
      cent).

    - Women are slightly more likely than men to express support overall, but
      the differences are far less than one would see in the South.

    POLLING METHODOLOGY

    This research is based on telephone interviews with a random digit dial
sample of 437 adults aged 18 and over in the Northwest Territories. The survey
was fielded from the 6th September 2007 to the 12th September 2007 inclusive.
    The results were weighted according to the most recent census numbers on
region. The results are representative by region, aboriginal status, gender
and age.
    A random sample of 437 residents from the Northwest Territories would
yield a margin of error of +/-4.7 percent, 19 times out of 20.

                         DETAILED RESEARCH FINDINGS
                         --------------------------

    What would you say CONCERNS YOU MOST when you think of issues affecting
the Northwest Territories over the next few years?

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        2007
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Environment/Conservation issues                                       27
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Drugs / Alcohol Addiction / Violence                                  19
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Need economic development / jobs                                      13
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Mackenzie Valley Pipeline / Oil & Gas development                     11
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Cost of living                                                        10
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Education / Training                                                   9
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Health care                                                            7
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Housing                                                                6
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Social issues                                                          6
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Resource development / allocation / management                         5
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Government mismanagement / Government in general                       3
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Need for Self Government / Land Claims                                 2
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Unhappy with Aboriginal control of land                                2
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Transportation / Roads                                                 2
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Infrastructure                                                         2
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Other Aboriginal issues                                                1
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Other                                                                  4
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Nothing                                                               (*)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Don't Know/Refused                                                    11
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Recently, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced his agenda for the
North. In your opinion which of the following items on his agenda, should be
the top priority for the Federal government in the North? And which should be
the second priority?

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                             First    Second
                                                          Priority  Priority
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Address global warming, ensuring
     ecology of North protected                                 36        25
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Give Northerners more economic and political powers         30        28
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Protect Canada's Arctic sovereignty                         16        23
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Encourage the development of northern resources             14        22
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    (VOLUNTEERED) DK/NA                                          3         2
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------


    When you think of environment or conservation issues affecting the NWT
today, what concerns you most, if anything?

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                           %
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Global warming                                                        18
    Water pollution from industry / mining / Alberta                      17
    Wildlife/Caribou                                                      12
    Development/Resource extraction                                        9
    Environment in general                                                 5
    Mining/Arsenic                                                         6
    Ecosystem protection/Land conservation                                 4
    Oil and gas/Pipeline                                                   4
    Waste/Recycling                                                        2
    Industrial waste                                                       1
    Land claims/Aboriginal rights/Aboriginal issues                        1
    Economic concerns                                                      1
    Resource depletion                                                     1
    Balance btw development/conservation                                   1
    Aboriginal/Industry conflict                                          (*)
    Social issues                                                         (*)
    Fire                                                                  (*)
    Regulation/Government                                                 (*)
    Chemicals                                                             (*)
    Air quality                                                           (*)
    Lack of planning                                                      (*)
    Other                                                                  4
    None                                                                   6
    DK/NA                                                                 17


    Thinking of the future of the Northwest Territories, SHOULD it be a high,
medium, or low priority for the NWT territorial government to...?

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                    Top  Very  High  Medium   Low  Very   Bot.  Not a     DK
                      2  high                       low     2   prio-  /NA(2)
                                                               rity(1)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Ensure that
     lands, water
     and natural
     ecosystems are
     protected before
     allowing
     industrial
     development to
     proceed         90    60    30       7     2     1     2      (*)    (*)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    t. Protect lands
     FOR traditional
     hunting, fishing
     and trapping
     activities      73    37    37      20     4     2     6      (*)    (*)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    tc. Support
     greater
     Aboriginal
     involvement in
     resource
     extraction
     activities      61    24    38      24     9     3    12       1      3
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Promote
     industrial
     development
     in all areas
     of the NWT      50    17    33      35    12     2    14       0      1
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Tracking - Very high/High only

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                              2004      2007
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Protect lands FOR traditional hunting, fishing
     and trapping activities                                    68        73
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------


    As you probably know, the NWT has some natural protected areas where
industrial activities like logging, mining and oil drilling are prohibited,
but where activities like hunting, fishing and traditional First Nations use
continues. Generally speaking, would you SUPPORT OR OPPOSE the creation of
more protected areas like this in the NWT?(3)

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        2007
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Top 2                                                                 81
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Strongly support                                                      57
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Somewhat support                                                      24
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Somewhat oppose                                                        8
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Strongly oppose                                                        7
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Bottom 2                                                              15
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    (VOLUNTEERED) Neutral/Don't care                                       2
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    (VOLUNTEERED) DK/NA                                                    2
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------


    In your opinion, what percentage of total lands in the Northwest
Territories SHOULD be PROTECTED. These lands would be protected from
industrial development but be open to hunting, fishing and traditional uses. I
am looking for a percentage between 0 and 100 percent.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Percentage to protect                                                  %
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Less than 25                                                          12
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    25-49                                                                 20
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    50-74                                                                 28
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    75+                                                                   28
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    DK/NA                                                                 11
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    AVERAGE                                                             56.3
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Do you support or oppose the planned expansion to Nahanni National Park?

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                           %
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Top 2                                                                 83
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Strongly support                                                      55
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Somewhat support                                                      28
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Somewhat oppose                                                        4
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Strongly oppose                                                        4
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Bottom 2                                                               9
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    (VOLUNTEERED) DK/NA                                                    8
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------


    A major zinc mine is proposed at Prairie Creek which is a short distance
upstream of the South Nahanni River within the Nahanni national park reserve.
What is your opinion -- should the development of the Prairie Creek zinc mine
be permitted to proceed, or not?

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                           %
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Yes, mine should be permitted to proceed                              29
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    No, mine should NOT be permitted to proceed                           51
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Unsure/DK                                                             20
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------


                             COMPANY BACKGROUND

    McAllister Opinion Research is an accredited member of ESOMAR, the
international association for public opinion research, and abides by the
ICC/ESOMAR International Code of Marketing and Social Research Practice. In
the past several years, we have conducted research in Canada, United States,
Europe, Asia and Latin America.
    Recent McAllister clients include: Shell USA, Suncor, DuPont, BASF, Food
Marketing Institute, American Bakers Association, Monsanto, Dep Canada,
Frameworks Institute, Nueva Group, Simon Fraser University, University of
British Columbia, North Carolina State University, Concordia University, the
British Columbia Securities Commission, the Government of Alberta, Government
of Saskatchewan, the Government of Ontario, Industry Canada, Agriculture
Canada, Health Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Environment Canada, Sierra
Legal Defence Fund, World Wildlife Fund, David Suzuki Foundation, The Tyee,
Ducks Unlimited, and the Pew Charitable Trusts.
    Our studies have been covered in the CBC, CTV, Globe & Mail, CanWest
Global, Canadian Press and Associated Press as well as numerous trade
publications and journals.
    Our extensive experience covers all forms of field operation from
telephone polls and focus groups to online polls and web analytics. We use a
range of statistical methodologies to conduct both conventional analyses, as
well as advanced statistical procedures like network analysis, segmentation,
factor analysis and regression.
    McAllister takes a particular interest in sustainability and environmental
issues, directing the Environmental Monitor research program which has
surveyed public attitudes on environmental issues in over 25 countries and has
tracked the trends in Canada for nearly 20 years.
    Prior to founding the firm in Vancouver in 2001, the company principal,
Angus McAllister, served as Vice President, Global Research with Angus Reid,
and prior to that was Vice President with Environics International in Toronto.

    --------------
    (1) Not a priority: Volunteered Answer
    (2) DK/NA: Volunteered Answer
    (3) As you probably know, the NWT has some natural protected areas where
        industrial activities like logging, mining and oil drilling are
        prohibited, but where traditional activities like hunting and fishing
        are allowed. Generally speaking, would you SUPPORT OR OPPOSE the
        creation of more protected areas like this in the NWT?
    




For further information:

For further information: Angus McAllister, Mobile: (778) 999-7506,
Office: (613) 741-7208, (604) 601-2111

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