14 October 2015

Americans support Keystone, Canadians not so much

A recent survey by the Pew Research Center regarding the Keystone XL Pipeline revealed some intriguing, and perhaps counterintuitive, results. According to the survey a majority of Americans solidly support Keystone, with almost twice as many supporting as opposing, while a majority of Canadians are against it. Only 42 per cent of Canadians are in favour of building the pipeline while almost half (48 per cent) are not. Keystone is, of course, intended to carry tar sands oil south to American refineries.

Our federal government has claimed Canadians want this pipeline, practically suggesting at times that opposing Keystone is tantamount to a lack of patriotism, if not outright treason. Mind you, according to the Pew survey, some Canadians do want it, specifically three-quarters of Conservatives and two-thirds of Albertans, but for most of us, it's no thanks.

The government, in other words, hasn't been accurately representing Canadians. But then it hasn't represented most of us much of the time—a governing party that has never been able to obtain the electoral support of even 40 per cent of the people isn't exactly the voice of the people. Some governments have been representative even though they only obtained minority electoral support simply by listening to a broad range voices, but this government has not been a listener.

In any case, if the Americans fail to approve Keystone, despite the Prime Minister insisting it's inevitable, they will simply be doing what most Canadians want. Odd, though, that we would have to rely on the U.S. government rather than our own to reflect our wishes.

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