Internal polling conducted in June by Canada's federal government suggested that Canadians had little desire for an economic “green recovery” as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to an access to information request filed by Global News, the internal poll commissioned by the Privy Council Office found most respondents had little interest in seeing the country rapidly transform to a carbon-neutral economy.
Just 2.5 per cent of respondents to the PCO poll ranked “Environment/Climate change” as the issue that merited the most attention from the federal government.
Coronavirus (26 per cent), healthcare (15 per cent) and the economy (15 per cent) were the three issues ranked highest by Canadians according to the poll.
This result was in stark contrast to the year prior.
With the country's attention firmly affixed on the 2019 election, “Environment/Climate change” was the issue worthy of "the greatest attention" to voters, with slightly over 20 per cent of respondents making it their top concern.
Yet the internal poll result did not seem to deter Prime Minister Justin Trudeau or his Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland.
“This is our chance to build a more resilient Canada, a Canada that is healthier and safer, greener and more competitive, a Canada that is more welcoming and more fair,” Trudeau said, back in August.
“This is our moment to change our future for the better. We can't afford to miss it, because this window of opportunity won't be open for long.”
“To [the] question about decarbonization as part of our economic plan going forward: Of course, it has to be part of it,” Freeland stated, shortly after being sworn in as finance minister.
“I think all Canadians understand that the restart of our economy needs to be green. It also needs to be equitable. It needs to be inclusive. And we need to focus very much on jobs and growth.”
Freeland further doubled-down on the comment in September, saying “I also spoke about the absolute priority that we place on jobs and growth and green jobs are absolutely going to be a part of our recovery.”