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RSR ROBBINS Research - Canada Politics June 6, 2006
  Jun 06, 2006

A random digit dialing of 502 respondents throughout Vancouver City, Tri-City, Surrey, Burnaby, New Westminster, Maple Ridge, Richmond, Delta, North Vancouver, Langley, Abbotsford, Alder grove, Chilliwack, Hope, North Island, Nanaimo, Duncan, Parkville, Victoria, Saanich, Oak Bay, Langford, Saanich Peninsula, Prince George, Kelowna, Castelgar, Creston. This is a single blind survey in that 62 respondents were gathered from Glen P. Robbins and the balance from Sce Research. This survey was conducted between May 25-May 31, 2006. It features a margin of error of 3.45% plus/minus @97% competency (as opposed to non competent).

Question #1
In your opinion how important is the issue of global warming to you?
Very Important    21 %
Important    34 %
Somewhat Important    22 %
Unimportant    15 %
Very Unimportant    07 %
Question #2
In your opinion which of the following statements BEST reflects how the Canadian government should approach the problem of global warming?
The Canadian government should first take steps to begin to resolve the problem on its own, a Made in Canada solution    32 %
The Canadian government should take steps to follow the International lead set out in the Kyoto Accord    34 %
The Canadian government should be careful how much taxpayer’s money it allocates towards solving global warming    15 %
All of the Above    19 %
Question #3
Which of the following statements in your opinion BEST explains the significant difference in gas prices between Toronto and British Columbia?
The oil companies know our economy is better here than in Ontario so they are happy to gouge the extra money from us    20 %
There is likely a suitable explanation relating to supply, demand, and market forces generally    45 %
I don’t believe the supply and demand or market theory properly explains this price difference    33 %
Question #4
If you were advising Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and Environmental Minister Rona Ambrose which of the following choices would BEST encapsulate your advice on the Environmental file?
Go with the Kyoto Environmental Accord    52 %
Go with the developing Canadian Hemispheric Environmental Accord (CHEA)    48 %
Question #5
One of the biggest issues facing Canada relates to what are known as Equalization payments between Canada and its provincial governments. Many provinces believe there is a fiscal imbalance, which asserts that Ottawa has billions of extra dollars at the end of the year, and the provinces do not. In your opinion should Ottawa give more of your tax dollars back to the Canadian provinces including BC?
Yes    63 %
No    37 %
Question #6
Equalization payments have historically not included non-renewable resources like oil revenues as part of the calculation for what a province will ultimately pay or receive from government. In your opinion should non-renewable resources be included in the equalization process?
Yes    47 %
No    53 %
Question #7
With regard to the previous question and the discussion of equalization payments, would it be acceptable to you if some type of Made in Canada formula were constituted for factoring in the wealth represented by non-renewable resources, but also recognizing the fact that unlike other factors in the present equalization formula, revenue producers like oil and gas are NOT renewable?
Yes, non-renewable resources should be factored at least in part in the overall formula for equalization    49 %
No, non-renewable resources should not be factored at all in the overall formula for equalization    51 %
Question #8
How would you measure your support for Prime Minister Stephen Harper at this point in his minority government
I totally support Stephen Harper    26 %
I support Stephen Harper    28 %
I don’t support Stephen Harper    30 %
I totally don’t support Stephen Harper    16 %
Question #9
Would you vote for Gordon Campbell’s BC Liberal Team if an election were called two weeks from today’s date?
Yes    47 %
No    51 %
Question #10
Prime Minister Harper is in the midst of a disagreement between his office and the Ottawa press gallery as this relates to him getting his message out to the citizens of Canada through the establishment media. The press gallery says the PM’s desire for control is undemocratic by demanding who should ask questions, and the Prime Minister says that most Canadians are not concerned with the press gallery’s complaints. Are you concerned with and do you agree with the Ottawa press gallery’s complaints about Prime Minister Harper?
Yes    36 %
No    64 %
Facts and Inferences: (78%) of British Columbians see global warming as “Important” to one degree or another. (56%) see global warming as “Very Important” or “Important”. A high percentage of respondents who see global warming as “Very Important” are not inclined to “support” Stephen Harper, or “vote for” Gordon Campbell.
A majority of respondents who see global warming as “Important” “support” PM Harper. A lower number in this designation would vote for Gordon Campbell however. Prime Minister Harper has yet to ‘flesh out’ his government’s position on the environment, and Gordon Campbell has been solving other problems, and is getting hurt some in West Vancouver over the bluffs issue. A four-lane tunnel with a safety median was likely the better decision. Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon is the most underrated politician in BC, but BC Liberal voters are hovering under 40% in Burnaby, Tri-City, Surrey, and Maple Ridge.
Bluffs organizer Dennis Perry is proving a troublesome foe for the Campbell government.
British Columbians are ‘split’ on whether or not environmental policy should be “Made in Canada” or “Made in Kyoto”. The majority of respondents who support ‘Made in Canada’ environmental policies also support Prime Minister Harper and BC Premier Gordon Campbell.
Nearly one half of respondents believe that ‘market forces’ have generated the disparity in gas prices between Toronto and British Columbia. Respondents who blame oil companies also see global warming as “Somewhat Important” or “Unimportant”.
Some Harper supporters don’t trust the oil companies (Q#3), but some of these respondents also believe the market dictates prices, or conversely don’t believe the market.
Approximately (18%) fewer Vancouver City residents overall “support” Stephen Harper as would vote for Gordon Campbell and his BC Liberals. (7.5%) more British Columbians residing in Tri-City, Surrey, Burnaby, New Westminster, Mission, and Maple Ridge “support” Stephen Harper as would vote for Gordon Campbell and his BC Liberals. (09%) more residents of Langley, Abbotsford, Aldergrove, Chilliwack and Hope “support” Stephen Harper as would vote for Gordon Campbell. (05%) more British Columbians in the North and Interior and (10%) more Vancouver Island residents “support” Stephen Harper as would vote for Gordon Campbell. (06%) more British Columbians in Richmond, North and West Vancouver would vote for Gordon Campbell than “support” Stephen Harper. (10% ‘smoothed’) more British Columbians support Stephen Harper as would vote for Gordon Campbell.
(01%) of total respondents net of smoothing and ‘Redundant Respondent Profile’ (RRP) ® support PM Harper than would vote for Premier Campbell’s BC Liberals.
Stephen Harper needs something from Gordon Campbell, and Gordon Campbell needs something from the PM. Sounds like a political opportunity to me.
With this in mind, it is necessary to take responsibility for a ‘conclusion’ I drew in a previous poll. I indicated that it would be a mistake to pay the BC Liberals $55 million promised for the 2010 Olympics. The Prime Minister through his own statements to the press has essentially corrected me. I admit I was dead wrong! The $55 million payment from the federal government to the BC provincial government has got nothing to do with whether or not there are cost overruns. It’s a promised payment and naturally BC’s bookkeeping is something we deal with as a province and specifically the Premier will deal with politically.
Commentary-There is no doubt that British Columbians believe global warming is an important issue. The question is to what extent respondents actually understand the issue?
It might be reasonable to suggest that against the backdrop of ‘most intense’ focus of support on the environment from British Columbians in this poll, the Made In Canada (CHEA) format either splits support with or trumps Kyoto (all things considered).
This generally suggested hypothesis is further supported by trendlines, which suggest the vast number of British Columbians who support Kyoto are also willing to support the market mechanism for explaining gas prices in order to keep gas prices high. This means that the most vigorous global warming supporters believe in the cause over their pocket book (assuming they drive at all).
Since Kyoto was first signed, Canada has been poorly motivated to achieve any reasonable environmental standard as this relates to Kyoto. In Canada, Kyoto has been a failure. Indeed the former Liberal government pushed Canada well over (24%) above standards of expectations in terms of overall emission control. Based on any standard this is abject failure and reflects a greater need to rethink Kyoto, perhaps predicated on the outcomes of the proposed CHEA conferences. Are declarations that Kyoto could ultimately decrease western democracies GDP by 1-2% true? If they are this cannot be a good thing for Canada.
The Canadian ‘consciousness’ as reflected in this poll of British Columbians finds it’s initial driver in terms of the practical implications of the experience of higher gas prices for Canadian consumers. Europe has had high gas prices for many years and geographically speaking Europe is not a very large geographic mass, whereas Canada is.
For academics and others to speak to Canadians about the relevance of Kyoto and its underlying conditions of agreement suspends common sense in terms of the experiences of the common Canadian. ROBBINS believes that the very notion of real politick is to presume that the most dramatic influence on human behaviour as it relates to changing that behavior is experience, which is superior at moving people in a specific direction over morality alone. If the experience of driving a vehicle is made less enjoyable as a consequence of increased cost, than eventually smaller vehicles, fewer vehicles, (or no vehicles) will be used, and as a consequence another element of the Canadian consciousness will be moved to political policies and initiatives that protect the environment. To wit: strategies for protecting the environment must be made to be in fashion, not simply ‘fashionable’.
Canadians will be forced to change perceptions about the environment, global warming, and climate change through the market mechanism (higher gas prices and lifestyle change), at least initially, and government action as between federal and provincial jurisdictions. Specifically this challenge may lead to factoring in non-renewable resources into equalization payments over a ‘10 province average’ Factoring in to some extent non-renewable resources is a sensitive issue particularly for provinces like Alberta, Saskatchewan and to some extent British Columbia which will incense ‘pro western’ voters but it is an issue which must be confronted.
For BC some participation with a factor of non-renewables in the equalization payment determinations may be a ‘fair trade’ to start discussions of offshore oil drilling (which doesn’t exhaust the water supply like inland oil ventures) near Prince Rupert. Environmentalists often exaggerate concerns over this type of drilling as the market mechanism (insurance) plays a significant role in the process of the safety of the development of this enterprise. Environmentalists will need to compromise their demands (not their ideals) in order to come to a resolve, which will ultimately bring Canada into the 21st Century on ALL environmental matters without killing the goose that will have to pay for much of it.

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