​Contrary to what the premier says, Quebecers prefer oil from western Canada: poll

Skyline of Montreal, Quebec.

Quebecers are not as opposed to oil from Alberta as their premier, Francois Legault, recently stated.

Commenting on the potential resurrection of the proposed Energy East Pipeline, which would cross through Quebec on its way to New Brunswick, Legault called Alberta oil “dirty energy” and said “there is no social acceptability for a pipeline that would pass through Quebec territory.”

But a new poll conducted by Leger on behalf of the Montreal Economic Institute found that a large majority of Quebecers prefer to get oil from Western Canada than from anywhere else in the world.

Leger asked 1,005 Quebecers over 18 about their views on oil imports through an online poll in November. The survey found that 66 percent of respondents favoured Western Canadian oil, versus just 7 percent who preferred to import oil from the United States, followed by Algeria (3 percent), Nigeria (1 percent), and the countries of the Middle East (1 percent).

Legault’s Coalition Avenir Quebec party was elected to a majority government this October.

"Interestingly for the new Quebec government and its leader, among respondents who identify as CAQ supporters, 79 percent prefer oil from western Canada,” MEI senior associate researcher Germain Belzile said in a statement on Wednesday.

"Obviously, Quebecers' opinions regarding the development and the provenance of oil are very different from what is often heard from certain interest groups and from a portion of the political elite.”

The poll also found that 45 percent of Quebecers believe that pipelines remain the safest means of transporting oil, far ahead of the other options (14 percent for tanker trucks, 13 percent for trains, and 9 percent for boats).

Over the years, in poll after poll, Quebecers remain just as much in favour of oil and its development, according to Leger.

“The economic situation in Alberta makes it more pressing than ever to let Western Canadian oil pass through our territory, especially given that this oil is highly valued by Quebecers," MEI CEO Michel Kelly-Gagnon added.

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