Carbon tax gaining support across Canada: poll
When told that the government of British Columbia had recently introduced "a carbon tax on fossil fuels to reduce greenhouse gas emissions," 72 per cent of those surveyed in the poll said that this was a positive step versus 23 per cent who thought that it was a negative step. The poll surveyed 1,009 Canadian adults across the country between April 29 and May 9, 2008 and is considered accurate within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
"The support for B.C.'s carbon tax is fairly uniform across Canada," he said. "Six out of 10 people definitely support it when you look at the numbers."
The strongest support for a carbon tax appears to come from Quebec and the Atlantic provinces where 81 per cent and 77 per cent of respondents respectively said that the B.C. tax was a positive step.
Pretty remarkable, to get widespread support on any question that includes the word "tax", which makes the results intriguing. These results should provide more comfort for uneasy Liberals, although support for the income tax cut is surprising low:
However, when asked how revenues from a proposed federal carbon tax should be spent, most Canadians told the polling firm that they would prefer to see more green spending, rather than income tax cuts.
For example, 47 per cent said that the new potential revenues should be spent on "renewable energy like wind and solar power" and 16 per cent said they wanted to see more spending on "energy efficiency technologies." Only 11 per cent of respondents said carbon tax revenues should be used to cut income taxes, while eight per cent said it should be spent on public transit.
"I certainly think overall that (a carbon tax in a federal political platform) would bode well and at the very least Canadians are certainly receptive to the idea," said Doud. "What Canadians are going to want to see, is they're going to want to know that this tax is invested in the environment in some way."
The above supports part of the NDP argument, but it should be pointed out that the Liberals aren't exactly balking at the idea of new investment in green technologies, although the money isn't directly tied to their carbon scheme.
"A carbon tax and a cap-and-trade program both put a price on pollution - they're much more similar than Mr. Layton suggests," said Clare Demerse, a senior climate change policy analyst at the Pembina Institute. "Our poll does support Mr. Layton's call for investments in energy efficiency programs like home retrofits, but it also shows that Canadians want those investments to be in addition to carbon tax programs like BC's. Canadians understand the urgency of global warming and they see that we need both approaches."
Something for everyone to crow about, except Conservatives of course.