Canadians don't know much about energy industry and don't trust feds and oil companies
to inform them
Alberta Oil magazine says that a national survey conducted in late December with Leger, the Research Intelligence Group, shows that Canadians are both largely uninformed about the energy industry and unlikely to trust the federal government and oil companies when it comes to finding out about it.
(The National Survey on Energy Literacy was based on online interviews with 1,396 online interviews, including 508 Albertans.)Max Fawcett, the editor of Alberta Oil, reports some of the highlights in an online newsletter
When asked who they trust on key issues related to energy literacy, Canadians consistently ranked oil and gas industry groups, oil and gas companies and the federal government near the bottom of the list. On carbon emissions, for example, only 10.2 per cent of Canadians said they trust oil and gas companies. Independent organizations and NGOs, on the other hand, were trusted by 40.1 per cent, with the academic community scoring the highest at 53 per cent.
The survey also revealed that Canadians remain, by and large, uninformed about many key issues related to energy production and distribution. They did not know, for example, that BC is not the only province with a carbon tax or levy (Alberta has one as well), or that they’re directly invested in the energy sector through the Canada Pension Plan. Their lack of knowledge about energy issues isn’t a mystery to them, mind you – only 31 per cent of Canadians said that they felt well informed about issues related to energy production and consumption.
Other interesting results include the deep vein of opposition to the energy sector in Quebec, which suggests that the forthcoming conversation about the proposed Energy East pipeline will be just as rancorous as the ones in British Columbia have been, and the relatively strong support for a meaningful price on carbon. Indeed, there’s more support in Alberta for such a policy than there is in B.C.
If there’s a silver lining in the results for the energy sector, it’s that the majority of Canadians have not yet made up their mind on issues like hydraulic fracturing and pipeline projects – and are therefore open to being brought around to their perspective. But they have their work cut out for them, as this survey shows.The magazine provides an online energy literacy test so readers can assess how well they understand the sector.