A new survey of likely voters in Newfoundland and Labrador’s upcoming election say the province should reduce its dependence on oil and gas.
The Vote Compass survey for CBC also found that more voters would prefer the provincial government to provide less support for the oil and gas industry, as well as a desire to cut greenhouse gas emissions within the province.
However, a separate question showed a possible contradiction or at least an underlying tension of transitioning an economy that has reaped billions of dollars from the offshore oil industry over the last quarter-century.
When asked, “How much should the provincial government do to promote the development of new offshore oil fields?” 40 per cent said “somewhat” (24 per cent) or “much more” (16 per cent). Another 30 per cent answered “about the same as now.”
That last question aside, the other questions show the extent to which a green ethic is taking root in Newfoundland and Labrador politics.
For instance, almost two-thirds of respondents to Vote Compass — which has been tracking voter engagement on the issues in the campaign leading up to N.L’s Feb. 13 election — support an economy that is less dependent on oil and gas.
Broken down a little more, 34 per cent said they “strongly agree” with that statement, while 32 per cent said they “somewhat” agree. Among party lines, Liberals and New Democrats are significantly more likely to support this than voters who support the Progressive Conservatives.
That one question itself is not a firm indicator on overall support for the offshore oil industry. After all, even politicians who support the industry have emphasized economic diversification, particular after oil prices began dropping in 2014.
However, Vote Compass also found results that show a greener shade to the Newfoundland and Labrador electorate.
For example, when asked if the province should do more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, more than 60 per cent agreed, 36 per cent said the province should do somewhat more, and 25 per cent said much more.
Another indicator: most potential voters are not keen on using more tax dollars to help the oil and gas industry.
Only 19 per cent supported giving the industry more help from the province. In contrast, 22 per cent favoured much less, 24 per cent selected somewhat less, and 31 per cent picked the status quo.
Vote Compass is an interactive tool developed by Vox Pop Labs, and is offered exclusively on CBC.
The questions listed above are among a set of 30 public policy questions connected to the N.L. election campaign.
The results are based on the responses of 4,096 people who took part in Vote Compass from Jan. 28 through Feb. 7.
While it is not a public opinion poll, Vote Compass says the results are a non-random sample and have been weighted by gender, age, region, education and partisanship to ensure the sample reflects the N.L. public at large.
We will report more findings from Vote Compass in the days ahead. Stay tuned.
Looking for alternatives
Speaking of energy … our colleague Chris O’Neill-Yates filed a piece on the search for alternative energy sources in Newfoundland and Labrador CBC Radio’s weekly political affairs show The House.
If you missed the item this Saturday, fret not. You can hear it online by clicking the player below.
The segment starts around 39 minutes into the program.
CBC News: The House47:04Shots in the dark
Meanwhile, you may also be interested in this interview from On The Go last week, on how energy companies are under market pressure to diversify their interests.
On The Go16:53Credit rating agency S&P issues warning to oil giants
C.B.S. voters searching for support of growing community
As part of a series The St. John’s Morning Show is doing on districts in its listening area, voters in the district of Conception Bay South say they are looking for support from the next government to help one of the fastest growing regions in the province.
The district has been predominantly Conservative since its creation in 1975, but has voted Liberal as recently as 2014. PC incumbent Barry Petten won the seat in 2015, and is being challenged in 2021 by three candidates: Liberal candidate Shelley Moores, NDP candidate Andrew Lovell and NL Alliance candidate Warrick Butler.
The district covers 85 square kilometres on the Northern Avalon, with a population of over 15,000 as of 2016.
Sarah Eddie, a mother in the community and co-ordinator of the Conception Bay South Community Garden, said the growth of the community is extremely important to residents, and hopes the next government will support development while maintaining a small-town feel.
“I think C.B.S. is at a crossroads right now,” Eddie said Monday. “We’re growing into a big town. I think it’s a great opportunity now to get the community involved and see a supportive, connected community.”
CBS Minor Softball Association president Jill Warren said she is looking for a candidate who is seen in the community, is oriented toward families, looks to make the community a better place and addresses needs like supports for new businesses, public transit and recreation.
“We need more support for our younger generation, more for them to come into,” Warren said. “We’ve got a great recreation complex up the road and some great facilities, but it would be nice to expand on that and get more in here for the younger generation.”
One candidate running in the district, Andrew Lovell, recently came under fire for a number of tweets he posted in 2012 and 2013, which used anti-gay slurs in conversations with friends. In an interview with The St. John’s Morning Show, Lovell said the tweets do not represent the person he is today.
“That is the worst of me. That was a young Andrew Lovell who was being edgy with hs friends, who was chirping them before fantasy football,” he said. “I hate my former self for that.
“Right now I’m proud to say that I am completely different than that person was. I stand with the LGBTQ+ community. There is no community more oppressed than them. I will stand and fight with them at any opportunity.”
What’s coming up
Liberal Leader Andrew Furey will be Ramona Dearing’s guest on CBC’s CrossTalk on Tuesday, starting at noon NT. Furey is the third party leader to appear on the call-in show. You can listen to prior episodes with NDP Leader Alison Coffin and PC Leader Ches Crosbie by clicking the hyperlinks on their respective names.
Furey will also be available to the media virtually as part of an event with with Liberal Labrador West candidate Wayne Button.
Crosbie has no public events scheduled for Tuesday, with the PC Party aying public campaign announcements will be suspended in favour of media releases until further notice due to the province’s COVID-19 cases announced Monday.
The NDP had not released Coffin’s Tuesday itinerary as of 6:30 p.m. NT.