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Studies suggest public unsure of energy industry benefit

OTTAWA — Public opinion research contracted by Ottawa suggests the pro-resource-development Conservative government has not yet convinced Canadians of the national benefits of the energy industry.

Two different polling companies conducted cross-country focus groups last fall — in addition to one large national poll — and reported a common theme: Most Canadians just don’t see what’s in it for them.

Natural Resources Canada, which commissioned the two studies at a combined cost of almost $255,000, has spent more than $30 million on resource industry advertising over the last three years, with millions more budgeted this year.

As part of its Responsible Resource Development ad campaign, the government commissioned focus groups last summer and fall to test the response to the ads.

The Natural Resources department also commissioned a major poll and focus groups on general energy issues and both studies put extra weight on gauging public reaction in British Columbia.

According to the publicly posted reports, few participants saw Canada as a whole benefiting from pipelines being built, there was little awareness of a national strategy for managing natural resources and many people want more information on how governments hold the resource industry responsible for its activities.

 
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