Few Canadians trust the Harper Conservatives to effectively balance environment and economy: poll

    OTTAWA, Oct. 2 /CNW Telbec/ - A new poll by Nanos Research for Living
Oceans Society reveals a high degree of distrust among Canadians with the
current federal government's capacity to balance environmental protection with
economic activity.
    "As Canada's economy faces challenges, the pressure to cut environmental
corners will grow," said Jennifer Lash, Executive Director of Living Oceans
Society. "Canadians need a government that we can trust to maintain the right
balance between sustainable economic growth and protection for our
environment, specifically for our oceans."
    Using a scale of one to five, Canadians were asked about how much they
trusted the current government to balance environmental protection with
economic activity, with a "one" indicating the lowest level of trust.
43.6 percent of Canadians indicated they did not trust the Harper government,
while only 20.6 percent said they trusted the government to balance the
economy with environmental protection, a ratio of more than two to one.
    Clean and healthy oceans are essential to Canada's coastal ecosystems and
communities. Offshore drilling and tanker spills have damaged marine
environments and had a negative impact on coastal communities and businesses
around the world.
    In Canada, there are a number of issues on which the environmental health
of our oceans is currently threatened by short term economic concerns. For
example, due to anxiety over the rising price of fuel throughout North
America, the federal government is considering lifting its offshore oil and
gas drilling and tanker moratorium on the North Coast of British Columbia. As
well, several proposals for pipeline projects from Alberta's tar sands call
for oil tanker traffic loaded with crude oil to travel from the pipelines
through B.C.'s coastal waters for export to the United States and Asia.
    On the issue of tanker traffic, distrust in the Harper government's
ability to manage the economy while protecting the environment is strongest in
Quebec (54 percent do not trust), amongst women (45.7 percent do not trust),
among Bloc Quebecois supporters (71.4 percent do not trust), and among
Canadians aged 18-29 (47.3 percent do not trust).
    "These numbers should be a wake up call to Mr. Harper and all candidates
in this election," Lash said. "If you want support from the public, you need
to show them that you will protect our oceans, lands, and air. Clearly
Canadians are looking for stronger leadership on environmental issues."
    The poll results are based on a random telephone survey of
1,200 Canadians from September 20 - 22, 2008. The margin of accuracy for a
sample of 1,200 is +/-2.8%, 19 times out of 20. For more details on the poll
please see the attachment. For more information on polling technique please
visit www.nanosresearch.com.
    Living Oceans Society is the largest marine conservation organization in
Canada. We are based in Sointula, B.C., with offices in Vancouver and Ottawa.
To support our goal to ensure the long-term health of the ocean and coastal
communities on the Pacific Coast of Canada, we work to:

    - establish a network of marine protected areas
    - develop sustainable fisheries
    - transition to closed containment salmon farms
    - ensure that our coast remains free of offshore oil and gas and tanker
    - see that the people who live and work on this coast have a voice in how
      the ocean and its resources are used.

For further information:

For further information: Jennifer Lash, Executive Director, Cell: (250)
741-4006, jenlash@livingoceans.org; Cherie Payne, Government Relations
Coordinator, Cell: (613) 608-9271, cpayne@livingoceans.org

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