Quebecers prefer oil from Western Canada, according to online survey

Majority of Quebecers prefer Canadian oil, but the survey did not ask respondents whether they support building a new pipeline to ship it.

Survey suggests majority want Canadian oil, but respondents weren't asked views on building new pipeline

Steel pipe to be used in the oil pipeline construction of Kinder Morgan Canada's Trans Mountain Expansion Project sit on rail cars at a stockpile site in Kamloops. (Dennis Owen/Reuters)

An online survey commissioned by a right-wing think tank in Quebec suggests people living in that province would prefer western Canadian oil over imports from other parts of the world. 

The results stem from two online surveys conducted by Leger on behalf of the Montreal Economic Institute. The first included 1,005 Quebecers over the age of 18 and the second included 1,006 Quebecers over the age of 18. 

Sixty-six per cent of respondents said they would prefer oil imported into Quebec originated in Western Canada. That was followed by seven per cent who favoured U.S. oil, three per cent who preferred oil from Algeria, one per cent from Nigeria and one per cent from the Middle East. 

The remaining 20 per cent didn't know or refused to answer. 

In addition to the origin of imports, 45 per cent of respondents said they thought pipelines were the safest way to transport oil compared with trucks, trains and ships. Fully 19 per cent of respondents didn't know or refused to answer. 

The CBC's poll analyst, Eric Grenier, said the questions in the survey miss the mark. 

"The poll didn't ask the pertinent question: whether or not Quebecers are willing to have a new pipeline built across the province in order to get that western Canadian oil," he said. 

"There's no reason why we should expect people in the province to prefer foreign oil to Canadian oil, and the history of the Lac-Mégantic disaster put the dangers of moving oil by rail into perspective for Quebecers. But these aren't the questions at the centre of the debate taking place in the province."

According to Leger, for comparison purposes, a probability sample of 1,005/1,006 respondents would have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.