Quebecers, Ontarians want cancelled Energy East reconsidered in wake of the cross-border pipeline dispute
July 27, 2021 – Canada’s energy independence is in the spotlight again, with a key energy artery in the crosshairs of a transborder dispute.
Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline, which supplies Ontario and Quebec, is under threat of closure from the governor of Michigan, where the pipeline runs through an environmentally sensitive waterway.
New data from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds half of respondents in Michigan (48%) and Ontario (49%) want the embattled pipeline to stay open, while a quarter in Michigan and nearly three-in-10 in Ontario want it shut down. In Quebec, the 72 per cent who have an opinion are split on what the pipeline’s fate should be.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued a shutdown order for the pipeline in May over concerns of a potential spill into the Straits of Mackinac, where the pipeline runs underwater. Nearly all of those who oppose the pipeline in Michigan (95%) are concerned about a potential leak from Line 5.
The potential economic impacts, both regionally and personally, are a key concern for those who want the pipeline to stay open. A majority of the pipeline’s supporters in Michigan (65%), Ontario (65%), and Quebec (55%) believe they will be personally impacted either “significantly” or “massively” if Line 5 shuts down.
The dispute over Line 5 also appears to have revived support for a west-to-east Canadian pipeline. Three quarters of Ontarians (76%), and three-in-five Quebecers (58%), believe TransCanada’s long-since-cancelled Energy East project should be reconsidered if Michigan turns off the tap on Line 5.
More Key Findings:
- At least four-in-five in all three regions believe a Line 5 shutdown will “significantly” or “massively” impact their respective state or provincial economy
- A slim majority of those in Michigan (52%), and about half of those in Ontario (47%), believe a Line 5 shutdown will massively or significantly impact them personally
- Michiganders approve of Whitmer (52%), but don’t agree with her campaign to shut down the pipeline. And even those who approve of her are split on whether they want the pipeline open (34%) or closed (38%)
- Two-thirds of those in Michigan are concerned about a leak from Line 5, but half believe a tunnel proposed by Enbridge will address the concerns
- Even if Whitmer’s campaign against Line 5 is unsuccessful, two-thirds in Ontario (65%) and half in Quebec think the cancelled Energy East pipeline should be reconsidered
The Angus Reid Institute (ARI) was founded in October 2014 by pollster and sociologist, Dr. Angus Reid. ARI is a national, not-for-profit, non-partisan public opinion research foundation established to advance education by commissioning, conducting and disseminating to the public accessible and impartial statistical data, research and policy analysis on economics, political science, philanthropy, public administration, domestic and international affairs and other socio-economic issues of importance to Canada and its world.