OTTAWA — Focus groups conducted last November for the federal government suggest the Liberals' marquee carbon pricing policy is poorly understood and generates contradictory reactions.
The survey found a mistaken belief that some form of carbon taxation currently exists across all of Canada and found "low awareness" of what carbon pricing actually means.
Respondents also harboured conflicting views about putting a price on greenhouse gas emissions, with strong agreement the policy will encourage companies to innovate but also a general sense that it will make Canada less appealing to business and investment.
The focus groups, run by Halifax-based research firm Corporate Research Associates, also perceived taxing carbon as a form of penalty — rather than an incentive — and some respondents suggested it will allow companies to alleviate feelings of polluter guilt rather than actually reducing emissions.
The work was part of a wider survey commissioned by the Privy Council Office to assess "views on current issues," including innovation policy, the environment, and culture and heritage.
The public opinion research in nine cities from Prince George, B.C., to Halifax had a contract value of $112,509.
The Canadian Press