Canadians Ready For Bold Policies To Transition Away From Fossil Fuels, Poll Finds

People across the country want our governments to do more to combat climate change,according to a new Abacus Data survey commissioned by former Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives–BC Director Seth Klein

Earlier this year, countless thousands of young students across Canada went out on a one-day strike for climate action

“My overall conclusion is that our politicians have been underestimating the public. … When it comes to bold climate solutions, the Canadian public is ahead of our elected leaders”     – Seth Klein, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

News from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, a not-for-profit, nation-wide research group

Posted August 13th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Vancouver, Canada —The results of an extensive nationwide survey released today suggest Canadians are increasingly anxious about the climate crisis, and have a stronger appetite for “systems-level” climate solutions than political leaders tend to assume.

Among the findings:

  • 42 per cent believe climate change is now “an emergency,” while a further 20 per cent believe it will likely be an emergency within the next few years, for a combined total of 62 per cent.
  • Three-quarters of respondents say they or someone close to them have already experienced the effects of climate change.
  • Few Canadians have heard of the Green New Deal (GND). But once they learn about it, they like it.
  • After being given a short description of the GND, 72 per cent responded that they support the key principles.

The survey polled Canadians on their support for six major policy changes—including phasing out the extraction and export of fossil fuels over the next 20 to 30 years and banning the sale of new gas-powered vehicles by 2030—and found that between 67 and 84 per cent of respondents could accept, would support, or would strongly support each proposed policy.

Some 74 per cent responded favourably to the question about phasing out fossil fuels (50 per cent support, with a further 24 per cent willing to accept such a move). The poll also found a connection between support for climate action and for tackling inequality.

For example, 79 per cent indicated they would be more supportive of a transition away from fossil fuels if financial support were provided to low- and modest-income households, while 78 per cent would be more supportive of bold climate actions “if the government increased taxes on the wealthy and corporations to help pay for the transition.”

Importantly, the majority of those polled—57 per cent—believed the federal government is doing too little to combat climate change. “My overall conclusion is that our politicians have been underestimating the public.

These results tell us that when it comes to bold climate solutions, the Canadian public is ahead of our elected leaders,” said Seth Klein, who commissioned the poll from Abacus Data this summer.

Klein is the former director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – BC Office (CCPA–BC) and an adjunct professor with Simon Fraser University’s Urban Studies program.

With support from the CCPA–BC and the Corporate Mapping Project, Klein commissioned the poll as part of his research for a forthcoming book on the climate emergency.

“A solid majority of Canadians are ready to move beyond incremental policies and to welcome truly transformative climate action,” Klein continued. “This runs counter to the prevailing assumption of our political leadership, who appear to believe, incorrectly, that the public is not ready for the system-level changes that climate science tells us are necessary.”

The polling found support for bold climate action to be the strongest in Quebec and weakest in Alberta. However even in the latter province, support for bold action was solid.

Klein noted: “Canadians know climate change is taking place here and now, and as our polling shows, we are ready for more ambitious actions.”

Klein’s analysis can be found at: (

The full poll results are available via the Abacus Data website here (

About the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – The CCPA is one of Canada’s leading sources of progressive policy ideas. Our work is rooted in the values of social justice and environmental sustainability. As non corporate-funded policy think tanks continue to be silenced, the importance of the Centre has never been greater.

Visit the Canada Centre for Policy Alternatives’ website by clicking on – .

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“A politician thinks of the next election. a leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders


One response to “Canadians Ready For Bold Policies To Transition Away From Fossil Fuels, Poll Finds

  1. Robert Chisholm

    This represents an opportunity for Canada to lead the world. We should be following the example of the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg who set off two days ago on her two week sailing voyage across the Atlantic in a racing yacht accompanied by her father, two skippers and a film crew. Robert T. Chisholm – Associate Member, OSPE.


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