Bill C-69 is not a highly controversial national issue
February 17, 2019
One of the most hotly debated issues in Ottawa in recent years has been the federal government’s legislative proposals surrounding major project reviews. The current bill in question is known as C-69. In our latest nationwide survey, we asked a few questions to take the temperature of the public on this legislation. Here’s what we found:
Initial question: “The federal government has introduced legislation to overhaul the rules and processes for evaluating potential new resources projects. Have you heard about these proposed new rules, which are sometimes referred to as Bill C-69?”
• Few people (5%) have heard a lot about this bill. Another 32% say they have heard a little, but 63% say they haven’t heard anything. Awareness is higher than average in Alberta, but even in that province only 12% say they have heard a lot about the bill, and almost half have heard nothing about it.
• Levels of awareness of this bill are basically the same across party lines. In the 78 ridings won by a margin of 5% or less in 2015 (we refer to as the “Swing 78” awareness of the C-69 debate is no higher than the national average.
• Higher levels of attentiveness are seen among those who describe themselves as very active in discussing community matters, but this subset only amounts to 6% of the adult population.
• Among the 37% who have heard about the bill (917 respondents), opinion is generally positive, with 63% saying they think it is a step in the right direction. In Alberta, 42% say the bill is a step in the right direction. The bill has more support among Liberal and NDP supporters, while Conservative voters are evenly split.
• Among those aware of the legislation, 31% think it is designed to do more to protect the environment, 38% think it is designed to do more to encourage good projects and jobs, and 31% think it is intended to do both.
• 62% of those aware think that when C-69 becomes law, it will have a positive effect on investment and jobs in Canada. Albertans are 62% of the view that the impact will be negative, as are 56% of Conservative Party supporters.
• 68% think C-69 will have a positive effect on the environment, including 53% of Albertans and 57% of CPC supporters.
According to Bruce Anderson: “UCP Leader Jason Kenney has made opposition to Bill C-69 a major plank in his campaign to win the provincial election in Alberta and federal Conservatives have also been highly critical of the bill.
These findings are another reminder that what preoccupies partisans may or may not always attract a great deal of attention among the general public.
Opinions about the bill are clearly more negative among Albertans and Conservative Party supporters than among others, but the amount of polarization around regional and party lines is perhaps somewhat less than might have been expected given the tone and tenor of the debate.
The results suggest that many people have not developed the impression conveyed by the critics of Bill C-69 – that it is a project killer and will have a chilling effect on investment in the resources sectors.”
Our survey was conducted online with 2,500 Canadians aged 18 and over from February 8 to 12, 2019. A random sample of panelists was invited to complete the survey from a set of partner panels based on the Lucid exchange platform. These partners are double opt-in survey panels, blended to manage out potential skews in the data from a single source.
The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of the same size is +/- 2.0%, 19 times out of 20. The data were weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched Canada’s population according to age, gender, educational attainment, and region. Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding.
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