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Poll: Two-thirds worry about climate change in Quebec.

Poll: Two-thirds worry about climate change in Quebec.

La Presse Canadienne

“Everything that comes out in the media has an impact on peoples’ concerns.”

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More than two-thirds of Quebecers see climate change as a “big or very big risk,” according to a new poll — much more than the 50 per cent of Quebecers who thought that way in 2018.

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The data comes from the latest study on perception of riskThis was done by the Centre interuniversitaire des recherche en analyse des organismes (CIRANO).

“We see a significant and growing awareness of environmental issues,” said study co-author Ingrid Peignier in an interview. “Everything coming out in the media really has a direct impact on people’s concerns.”

The information was collected in August, when there was a great deal of talk about the environment — in large measure because the most recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had come out not long before. “People responded to the survey after the publication of the IPCC report, which showed that global warming was potentially worse than anticipated.”

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If interest was greater, it’s because the trust citizens have for their governments to manage the issue has not moved since 2016. Only 13 per cent of Quebecers said they were “completely” or “pretty” confident in the actions of state authorities, compared with 47 per cent who said they were “not at all” or “not really” confident.

The survey was done before the decision of Quebec Premier François Legault to walk away from oil and gas production, an industry unpopular with respondents.

Three quarters of respondents favored projects such as individual production of electricity or wind farms.

In the last five years, environmental and energy resources risks have been pushed to the side by collective concerns about Quebecers’ emergency-room overcrowding. Concerns about public health have risen significantly with the COVID-19 pandemic. If awareness of health risks have increased, Quebecers still have great confidence in their government “to address these challenges and they are greatly aware of the collective benefits of vaccination,” said Peignier.

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The biggest issue for them is the state of emergency departments — with or without COVID-19. Three out of four people are “rather” or “absolutely” concerned about it and have little or no confidence in state authorities to address the problem.

Peignier stated that, despite negative confidence levels in emergency departments, there is a rise in confidence in government when compared to 2018.

Another issue talked about more and more is immigration: A total of 75 per cent of Quebecers are in favour — up from 59 per cent in 2018. The survey showed that 31% of respondents see it as less of a threat than 48% in 2018.

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Peignier sees “a direct link with the shortage of manpower we are experiencing” and the fact that the birth rate is not sufficient for population renewal.

1000 Quebecers were included in the CIRANO survey. The data was collected between August 5th and 15th, 2021. A total of 54 issues were examined.

This story was made possible by the Canadian Press News Fellowship and Facebook.

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