BY DANIEL PROUSSALIDIS ,PARLIAMENTARY BUREAU
OTTAWA — Few Canadians are losing sleep over global warming and the state of the world’s rainforests, according to a public opinion survey conducted exclusively for QMI Agency.
“Issues that can affect people in their day-to-day lives, like drinking water and air quality and the contamination of land — Canadians are more likely to worry about those,” said pollster David Coletto, president of Abacus Data.
Only 33% of survey respondents said they worry “a great deal” about global warming and rainforest loss, while 55% said they’re very concerned about pollution of drinking water.
Just more than half of respondents said they’re also very worried about pollution of lakes and rivers generally.
There are clear political differences too, with just 17% of those who voted Conservative in the 2011 election saying they worry a lot about global warming.
Among NDP supporters, concern was at 45%.
Coletto said the difference mirrors the regions of the country where each party is strongest.
“We see a huge gap between Quebec, where almost a majority are worried about global warming to a great extent, versus Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia where the worry is not as great,” he said.
Coletto said the numbers should alter the debate over oilsands development, which environmental activists have attacked because of its greenhouse gas emissions.
“You’re not going to win the argument if you keep plugging away at climate change,” Coletto said.
On the flip side, Coletto said the Tories need to reassure the public that oilsands development won’t pollute air and water.
Abacus Data conducted the online survey of 1,008 randomly selected adults on May 15 and 16.
Using traditional polling methods, a survey of that size would be accurate to within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.