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Environment A Major Election Issue Among Voters
November 15, 2000
Environics Poll Results Show Environment Is A Major Election Issue Among Voters
OTTAWA - Today, GREENELECTION.ORG released a poll conducted by Environics International showing that, despite being under-played in this election, Canadians consider environmental issues to be a major factor in deciding how to cast their ballot. The poll also found that among voters, environmental concerns far outweigh tax cuts as an issue in this election.
"We are seeing a re-emergence of trends that were at work in the late 80s when the environment became the most important top-of-mind issue facing the country," said Chris Coulter, a Research Associate at Environics International. "We are expecting Canadian concern over environmental issues to grow in prominence over the next few years leading to another green wave."
"Candidates and parties are ignoring the environment at their peril," said Julie Gelfand, Executive Director of the Canadian Nature Federation. "This poll shows that not only are they risking the health of Canadians, they are also risking electoral defeat."
The poll, conducted between October 16-29, 2000, asked Canadians about various environmental issues. It showed that a strong majority of Canadians polled find the following initiatives "very important":
· reducing the air pollution that contributes to urban smog, acid rain and climate change (85%); · cleaning up communities affected by toxic waste (84%); · reducing pesticides in our food, water and soil (78%); and · meeting our international obligations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change (66%).
The poll also found that relative to environmental concerns, the issue of tax cuts -- which has been a major focus of this campaign -- is a virtually insignificant issue to voters. On this question, the survey found:
· Ensuring clean air and clean water is also considered more important than cutting personal (81% versus 14%) or corporate (92% versus 5%) taxes.
· A strong majority of Canadians believe that cleaning up communities affected by toxic waste is more important than cutting personal (78% versus 17%) or corporate (91% versus 7 %) taxes.
· Majorities also believe reducing air pollution and climate change by investing in energy efficiency and clean energy technologies like solar and wind energy is more important that cutting personal (73% versus 21%) or corporate (86% versus 9%) taxes.
· Reducing pesticides in food, water and soil is also considered more important than cutting personal (75% versus 20%) or corporate (88% versus 9%) taxes.
Finally, when asked how important environmental issues will be in their voting decision in the next federal election, fully one in four people (25%) say they will be a major factor. Another 44% believe they will be a moderate factor in their decision. Just two in ten (20%) say environmental issues will be a minor factor, while only 9 percent believe it will not be a factor at all.
"Government policies and inaction have done serious harm to the quality of the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, and the natural beauty and integrity of wilderness areas," said Elizabeth May, Executive Director of the Sierra Club of Canada. "Voters are now saying that they will keep this in mind on election day."
With a sample size of 1,532 adult Canadians, the poll's findings are accurate within 2.5 percent, 19 times out of 20. The results were fairly consistent across all regional and demographic groups.
The complete poll results, with full demographic breakdowns including party preferences, are available on the campaign web site, at http://www.greenelection.org/
More than 30 environmental and conservation organizations are taking part in GREENELECTION.ORG. Their platform outlines key environmental issues facing Canadians today, and what all political parties should do to address them.
GREENELECTION.ORG broadcast-quality footage is available upon request. Contact Leslie Dickout at Sierra Club of Canada, (613) 241-4611.
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For more information, please visit our web page at WWW.GREENELECTION.ORG, or contact:
·Julie Gelfand, Executive Director, Canadian Nature Federation and Chair, Green Budget Coalition, (613) 562-8208, ext. 231
·Peter Tabuns, Executive Director, Greenpeace, (416) 597-8408, cel (416) 722-9309
·Robert Hornung, Climate Change Program Director, Pembina Institute (613) 235 6288
·Elizabeth May, Executive Director, Sierra Club of Canada, (613) 241-4611
·Chris Coulter, Research Associate, Environics International, (416) 920-9010, ext. 283