Climate Policy Cost Scheer, And Could Cost Premier Ford

Voters who turned away from the federal Conservatives on Monday were overwhelmingly concerned about climate change, according to new poll conducted by the University of Toronto’s Policy, Elections and Representation Lab on behalf of Clean Prosperity.

In a survey of voters who did not vote for Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives, 20% said that they would consider voting Conservative — but 77% also said that climate change was among their top issues. Those same voters were unimpressed with the Conservative plan for climate change, giving it an average rating of D. In short: Conservatives missed out on thousands of potential votes across the country thanks to a weak climate plan.

“Andrew Scheer lost ground with people who might have supported him — so if Conservatives are going to win an election anytime soon, they will need to develop a more credible climate plan and need to embrace the carbon tax and rebate,” said Michael Bernstein, Executive Director of Clean Prosperity.

Indeed, non-Conservative voters also expressed strong support for carbon pricing, a policy that the Liberals, NDP, Greens and Bloc all endorsed. 59% of Canadians said they support a carbon tax, compared to only 16% opposed. And the same number – 59% of Canadians – said that a carbon tax was one of their top election issues. In Ontario, 61% support the carbon tax and rebate, with only 15% who oppose.

“The debate on the carbon tax was settled by this election. It’s not only good policy, it’s now good politics,” Bernstein said.

While New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs said he would reverse course in opposing the carbon tax given the election results, Premier Ford in Ontario is taking the opposite approach. Despite saying in August that he’d let “the people decide” in the next election, Premier Ford announced today that he is moving ahead with the Supreme court challenge.

“Premier Ford needs to learn from Andrew Scheer’s mistake. He’s fighting against the only climate change policy that puts money back in people’s pockets — a policy Ontarians support — and he is wasting taxpayer dollars in the process,” said Bernstein.

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Note: The online poll of 1,100 respondents across Canada was conducted Oct 22-23, 2019. The margin of error is 3%.

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