Majority oppose Liberals' cap-and-trade program, poll suggests

Majority oppose Liberals’ cap-and-trade program, poll suggests

The majority of Ontarians are not on board with the Liberal government’s carbon pricing system, a new Mainstreet Research survey suggests.

The public-opinion poll, released Monday and provided exclusively to QP Briefing, showed 54 per cent either strongly or somewhat disapproved of Ontario’s cap-and-trade program to lower greenhouse gas emissions. Thirty-nine per cent of respondents said they were less likely to cast their ballots for the Liberals in the next election because of cap and trade.

Nearly half — 48 per cent — supported the Progressive Conservatives’ promise to scrap the program. While 30 per cent said they were more likely to vote for the Tories because of it, 29 per cent said the opposite.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, those who disapproved of cap-and-trade tended to align with the PCs, and those who were on board skewed Liberal.

“When it comes to putting a price on carbon and Ontario's cap and trade system, a majority of Ontarians do not approve of the current system,” said Quito Maggi, president of Mainstreet Research, in a release.

Under Premier Kathleen Wynne's ambitious carbon pricing system, a cap is placed on the amount of pollution companies can emit and those companies can purchase allowances or trade among themselves if they exceed those limits. The government plans to put all revenue from the program back into green initiatives that will help it reach its target for reducing emissions 15 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020.

According to this year’s budget the province expects to gain $1.8 billion for fiscal 2017-18, a little less than the $1.9 billion projected last year.

While a more detailed platform is expected to come after the PC’s policy convention in November, PC Leader Patrick Brown has said he would replace the current cap-and-trade system with a “revenue neutral” carbon tax, if he becomes premier in the general election less than 12 months away.

Just 32 per cent said they somewhat or strongly approved of a PC-branded carbon tax, while 46 per cent somewhat or strongly disapproved.

“The bad news for Wynne is that 56% of undecided voters disapprove compared to just 26% who approve,” Maggi said. “(T)he bad news for Brown and the PCs is that among undecided voters, the plan to abolish cap and trade has just 29% approval.

Mainstreet surveyed 2,000 people through landlines and cellphones from May 23 to May 25. The poll is considered accurate within 2.19 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

The poll also showedd more than half of Ontarians failed to name the leaders of the opposition parties.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Twitter: @sabrinananji

Sabrina Nanji

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