63% of Albertans oppose NDP carbon tax, poll suggests

A majority of Albertans disapprove of the NDP's climate plan and even more don't support the looming carbon tax, despite Premier Rachel Notley's suggestions to the contrary, a new poll suggests.

53 per cent disapprove of Climate Leadership Plan, according to ThinkHQ poll

A ThinkHQ poll found only 37% support the climate plan, although Premier Rachel Notley has said she believes there is more support. (Codie McLachlan/The Canadian Press)

A majority of Albertans disapprove of the NDP's climate plan and even more don't support the looming carbon tax, despite Premier Rachel Notley's suggestions to the contrary, a new poll suggests.

Sixty-three per cent either somewhat or strongly disapprove of the carbon tax, which is to come into effect on Jan. 1, 2017, according to the poll by ThinkHQ released Thursday.

Only 32 per cent of Albertans somewhat or strongly support the carbon tax, the poll suggests.

And 53 per cent of respondents disapprove of the government's overall Climate Leadership Plan, which also includes a cap on oilsands emissions and the phase-out of coal.

Click on this interactive graph to see approval rates of the climate plan in general and carbon tax in particular: 

Only 37 per cent support the climate plan, according to the poll. 

That's a drop in support of seven per cent since December 2015, the poll suggests.

Just two days earlier, Notley told reporters that she believes most Albertans support the government's carbon tax.

Respondents were asked, "Based on what you've seen heard or read, or your general impressions, would you say you personally approve or disapprove of the federal government's new climate change plan?"

On the carbon tax, participants were asked to respond to the following statement: 

"The new provincial climate change plan includes an expanded carbon tax or levy on all carbon emissions — industrial and consumer — that will be phased in over the next two years. This will result in additional charges on gasoline, diesel, natural gas and propane which are expected to cost the average family somewhere between $350 - $500 more per year. Over the first five years, the new carbon levy is expected to generate $9.6 Billion, with the proceeds spent on renewable energy projects, public transit, refunds to low-to-middle income Albertans, reducing small business taxes, and a new energy efficiency agency."

Mount Royal policy studies professor Duane Bratt said despite the unpopularity, in his mind, "there will be no reversal" on either the plan or the carbon tax.

"They've already made their bed on this," he said.

"This is the crowning achievement, whether you like it or dislike it, of the Notley government and they are going full bore forward on it."

Calgary residents CBC talked to in the downtown core have a variety of opinions on the carbon tax. 

"I think it's likely a fairly good idea over time. By putting a small tax on the use of carbon fuels, it allows the free market to begin to factor in the externalities," said Stephen Genuth.

Mike Low said he'd like to see how the money collected is going to directly help the environment.

"I think they're just going to use it to try to pay down their debt. I don't think they're going to use it for any real purpose."

For Barb Bruce, it's too soon to know if the tax will hurt the economy or do good: "Positive versus negative impact, that's the question, and I guess it remains to be seen."

The Alberta government has previously estimated the phased-in carbon tax will amount to roughly $470 in increased heating, electricity and transportation costs for an average household in 2018, assuming that household consumes the same amount of fossil fuels as it did in 2015.

Six of 10 Alberta households will receive a rebate that covers the average cost of the carbon levy they pay, the government says.

The online poll, conducted between Sept. 14 and 19, queried a sample of 1,331 people. The survey respondents were from a Voice of Alberta research panel and an Angus Reid Forum.

A probabilistic sample of this size would yield a margin of error of +/- 2.7 per cent, 19 times out of 20.


  • An earlier version of this story said only 32 per cent of Albertans support the climate plan, according to the poll by ThinkHQ. In fact, 37 per cent support the plan.
    Sep 29, 2016 2:37 PM MT


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