For Budget 2011: Canadians Want an End to Tax Breaks to Oil and Gas Companies

For Budget 2011: Canadians Want an End to Tax Breaks to Oil and Gas Companies

Climate Action Network Canada

News Release

February 17, 2011

Canadians want an end to tax breaks to oil and gas companies

(Ottawa) A new poll shows that 7 out of 10 Canadians, including half of Albertans, want to see an end to the billions of dollars of tax breaks that the government gives to the oil and gas sector in Canada each year. This Leger Marketing poll, commissioned by Equiterre, is being released today alongside an open letter from over 100 organizations from across the country calling on the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance to end these subsidies.

“Canadians have been clear: they want to see an end to these tax giveaways. The federal budget is coming up soon, so we’ll find out soon whether this government is listening,” says Steven Guilbeault of Equiterre. “Many of these companies are making massive profits, and their actions are driving up Canada’s greenhouse gas pollution. They do not need any more special treatment from the government.”

Analysis shows a total of $1.4 billion per year in federal subsidies to the oil sector. A disproportionate share of these subsidies goes to Canada’s fastest growing greenhouse gas polluter – the Alberta tar sands. The result is higher greenhouse gas pollution, lower government revenues, and fewer jobs created than would be the case if these subsidies were phased out.

“A sizable majority of Canadians from across the country have stated clearly that they want to see an end to special tax breaks to oil and gas companies in Canada,” says Christian Bourque, vice-president of research from Leger Marketing, who did the polling. “It is relatively rare to see such a diverse cross section of demographics share an opinion like this.”

An open letter calling on Prime Minister Harper and Minister Flaherty states that these ongoing subsidies are taking Canada in the wrong direction. To date, a diverse group of over 100 organizations — ranging from major environmental and development organizations to the Asthma Society of Canada and to the Canadian Federation of Students — have signed on to the open letter. Additional support for the phase out of these subsidies has come from the department of Finance (in an internal memo leaked last year), the former Minister of the Environment Jim Prentice (as revealed in the same memo), and the majority of voters from all parties across Canada.

“Just look at who has signed this letter, the list goes way beyond environmental groups. We all believe that 1.4 billion dollars shouldn’t be going to oil companies that don’t need it, we should be using it to address the climate crisis,” says John Bennett of Sierra Club Canada.

Signatory organizations and Canadians alike will be watching the budget closely to see if the government puts an end to these reckless subsidies.

For further information on the Federal Governments subsidies to oil and gas companies see Climate Action Network Canada’s report: Fuelling the Problem – why it is time to end tax breaks to oil, coal and gas companies in Canada.

To see the open letter please visit: http://www.climateactionnetwork.ca/e/issues/ocg-2010/

Leger Marketing Poll

Methodology

Leger Marketing was mandated by Équiterre to conduct a survey among Canadians to obtain their perception regarding tax breaks to oil and gas producers.

The study was conducted using a web survey administered from January 31st to February 2nd 2011 to a sample of 1522 Canadians aged 18 years old or older, able to communicate in English or French.

Using data from Statistics Canada, the results were weighted according to gender, age, region, language, education and number of minor children in the household, in order to ensure a sample representative of the entire Canadian population.

Climate Action Network Canada–Réseau action climat Canada is a nation-wide coalition of more than 50 environmental, faith, development, labour, aboriginal, health, and youth organizations committed to making action on climate change by Canada a reality.

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