Prime Minister Stephen Harper has rejected the Kyoto Protocol, an international pact to cut greenhouse emissions that cause global warming, and federal officials suggest their top priority is air and water quality, not climate.
McAllister's poll suggests that the great majority of Canadians don't agree with that stance. It found that 77 per cent believe Canada should meet or exceed its Kyoto targets for cutting emissions.
More than 90 per cent of Canadians said climate change will be a serious problem if not addressed, and 75 per cent believe that a "good amount" or a "great deal" can be done to fight the problem.
Global warming has become a key issue:
In the poll, the most frequently named environmental issues were air quality (35 per cent), global warming (20 per cent), water quality (12 per cent) and nature conservation (six per cent).
In July 2005, only seven per cent of those interviewed named global warming as the top environmental issue, putting it in fourth place after air quality (35 per cent), water quality (17 per cent) and nature conservation (13 per cent).
Given the natural link with air quality, and you have a sobering realization that we need immediate action. This poll shows an appetite for "radical" measures to tackle emissions, because afterall acceptance is half the battle. The "ambitious" proposals from the NDP, Green Party and various Liberal candidates find a receptive audience and makes the Conservatives stance the real fringe. Whatever Ambrose concocts, we all know it will lack real targets on emissions, ala Kyoto, which makes this issue the achilles heel of the government.
No longer an afterthought in the minds of Canadians:
He said environment is now at the top of the list in Quebec while in the rest of Canada it is third place after health and governance, but rapidly moving into second place.
Let's hope the momentum is real and this becomes the cornerstone issue next election. The politicians are moving in step with average Canadians, which makes for a positive landscape to actually do something effective. All we need to do is send the dinosaurs back to Alberta.