New research commissioned by Canada Powered by Women shows women who are engaged on issues are largely supportive of developing Canada’s oil and gas industry and aren’t willing to make tradeoffs that jeopardize their standard of living.
The poll, conducted by Leger, surveyed more than 1,200 Canadian women who identified as being informed on current events and politics, and found not only was there was strong support for the oil and gas sector, but their priorities align despite regional differences.
“What surprised me about the polling results was that common ground and unity prevail. We had very consistent responses from engaged women across the country,” said Tracey Bodnarchuk, founder and CEO of Canada Powered by Women.
“While we do have some regional nuances to the research, fundamentally everyone’s very aligned with their top three priorities and those top three are economic prosperity, energy security, and climate in that exact order.”
Despite pressures on affordability, engaged women believe that all three of those priorities can be balanced, the survey found.
Nearly four out of five women surveyed are willing to support the production and growth of Canadian oil and gas, while 77 per cent support developing Canadian LNG as a lower emitting alternative to coal. ‘Engaged’ women are also very supportive for the use of carbon capture and storage (CCS) to reduce emissions.
“They would like to have it all, they don’t see it as an either/or. Either you get prosperity, and you don’t get environment, or you get all environment, and you don’t get energy security. They think all three of those things are possible,” Bodnarchuk said.
“[Engaged women] are not saying they support energy at the cost of environment but recognize the technology and innovation that’s coming through from industry like CCS and they are willing to support that because they do want to see lower emissions.”
Canada Powered by Women’s core audience is “engaged women.” This group has a high level of literacy regarding how the energy industry and economy works. They read the news, and want to learn and support dialogues about the issues facing everyday Canadians. ‘Engaged women’ represent about a quarter of the population of the female demographic in Canada.“Our mandate is to create space for conversation and also for sound energy policy; that’s what engaged women want to advocate,” Bodnarchuk said.
Energy issues and affordability have been at the top of mind for everyone across the country as prices increase, and the polling suggests that a majority of engaged women are not willing to jeopardize their standard of living.
They do, however, support the ability of oil and gas production to help reduce emissions and to provide a reliable and secure energy supply, Bodnarchuk said.
“One of the major things coming through in our research is affordability and those trade-offs women are willing to make or not willing to make. The women in our survey have said that 52 per cent of them don’t think the carbon tax is working because it’s pushing them financially and it’s not actually motivating their behaviour to change,” she said.
“This affordability piece is really important and having sound energy policy that women understand and can manage in terms of financial capacity is a really major point that has come out of our research.”
Bodnarchuk said the survey’s findings highlight the balance that informed women are looking for when it comes to energy policy and affordability in Canada.
“Women are financially pushed to their capacity right now, so they recognize and connect the dots between a thriving energy sector, prosperous economy and energy security for their families.”
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