People in Saskatchewan are expressing their opinions on the big environmental questions of the day — including carbon pricing and whether there should be more money for renewable energy, a Vote Compass report says.

The voter engagement tool lets people answer a series of questions to determine where they sit on the political landscape with respect to the Saskatchewan Party, the NDP, the Liberals and the Green Party. 

The tool can also focus on some key election issues that are engaging the public's attention — including the environment.

Junior oil patch facing tough fall

Most Saskatchewan people are opposed to carbon pricing, Vote Compass says. (REUTERS)

Between March 7 and 11, 5,253 respondents provided data on three issues pertaining to that general topic: renewable energy, carbon pricing and environmental regulation.

On some issues, the results did not come down strongly on one side or another.

However, in general, people strongly believe the Saskatchewan government should invest more in renewable energy.

Asked about that, only 5 per cent said there should be less investment while 68 per cent said there should be more investment.

The rest either said they were neutral or didn't know. 

That feeling that more investment is needed is particularly strong with supporters of the New Democrats, the Liberal Party and the Greens.

Of all party supporters, those who look favourably on the Sask. Party are most likely to say the level of renewable energy spending should stay the same.

Most opposed to carbon taxes

When people were asked whether Saskatchewan should put a price on carbon, the results were less definitive.

Carbon pricing and carbon taxes, as well as climate change-fighting initiatives, have been in the news lately with the recent meeting between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and provincial premiers. 

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall, in particular, has been outspoken in declaring he would not sign off on any "carbon tax", arguing it would hurt a provincial economy that's been battered by low oil prices.

Based on Vote Compass, it would appear Wall has public opinion on his side on this issue.

Forty-six per cent of respondents said they were opposed to carbon pricing, while 36 per cent were in favour. The rest were neutral or didn't know.

Notably, people who tend to support the New Democrats and Liberals are more likely to support carbon pricing, while Sask. Party supporters are strongly opposed to carbon pricing.

Regulation not necessarily a job-killer, public says

Meanwhile, most Saskatchewan people disagree with the notion that "environmental regulation inevitably results in job losses."
Forty-three person said they disagreed, 36 per cent said they agreed and the rest were neutral or said they didn't know.

Environment earlier identified as 3rd most important election issue

The analysis of Vote Compass data on environmental questions follows a report earlier this week that found that the economy and health care were the issues the public cared about the most. The environment was identified as the third-most important issue.

Saskatchewan voters go to the polls on April 4.


About Vote Compass

Developed by a team of social and statistical scientists from Vox Pop Labs, Vote Compass is a civic engagement application offered in Canada exclusively by CBC News. 

The findings are based on 5,253 respondents who participated in Vote Compass from March 7 to March 11, 2016. Unlike online opinion polls, respondents to Vote Compass are not pre-selected. 

Similar to opinion polls, however, the data are a non-random sample from the population and have been weighted in order to approximate a representative sample. 

Vote Compass data have been weighted by geography, gender, age, educational attainment, occupation and religion to ensure the sample's composition reflects that of the actual population of Saskatchewan according to census data and other population estimates.