This is the second report from the Digital Democracy Project, a partnership between the Public Policy Forum and the Max Bell School of Public Policy at McGill University. The project uses data from both public opinion polling and online media analysis to examine users policy knowledge and opinions on climate change. It also explores the frequency of media coverage of environmental issues. 

Key Findings: Issues and Policies

  • The environment remains a top-three political issue for most Canadians, along with the economy and healthcare, with ethics ranking further down the list for supporters of all three major parties.
  • Climate change is the most important component of the environmental discussion for politicians, journalists and members of the public alike.
  • Public support for reducing greenhouse gas emissions is high, but support for an increase in the carbon tax is low. In general, public opposition to a carbon tax rises as the proposed cost of the tax increases.

Key Findings: Media and Information

  • Media coverage about the environment is also more likely to involve climate change than other environmental issues such as single-use plastics or conservation. But while news organizations might be covering the environment, and journalists we monitored on Twitter frequently shared that coverage, there was far more disproportionate sharing of ethics-related stories, especially around the SNC-Lavalin story.
  • It is possible to make Canadians better informed about the facts that underpin policy issues, regardless of their political leanings. However, even if they are provided with correct information, it is unlikely to influence their beliefs about the policies needed to address those facts.
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