A gas pipeline project between the Abitibi and the Saguenay does not pass the test of public opinion

Photo: Alexander Shields Archive Of The Duty
The natural gas that will be transported up to the Saguenay region will be exported aboard the tankers that will travel through the marine park of Saguenay–Saint-Laurent.

An analysis-confidential commissioned by the company GNL Quebec reveals that the support of Quebecers for a gas pipeline project is low along the proposed route, and therefore that” there is work to be done ” to convince them to accept such a project to export natural gas in alberta. The document produced by the firm Navigator gives several tips on ways to direct the message to public in order to obtain the consent of the population.

Before the announcement of the gas pipeline project of its new subsidiary, Gazoduq, in mid-November, the company GNL Quebec has ordered a survey coupled with an analysis at the firm Navigator, which specializes in particular in ” campaigns of public affairs.” This document, whose conclusions have been widely implemented in the press release unveiling the project, was not to be circulated ” widely “, said the Duty of a spokesperson of Gazoduq, Tuesday.

The goal, listed in the document dated 15 October, was to” explore the knowledge and attitudes of the public with regard to natural gas, and this, “before the unveiling of the project” gas pipeline that must cross the province of Quebec, Abitibi to the Saguenay. We also wanted to identify any “concerns” about a project to transport gas from Western canada for export by ships called lng carriers.

According to the findings of a survey conducted at the beginning of the month of October by the consulting firm Navigator, it is absolutely not acquired a possible project benefits from the social acceptability in Quebec. “The support for a gas pipeline/transmission line right of way in the residents in the proposed corridor is limited. There is therefore work to do “, one can read in the report of 29 pages product for LNG Québec and written in English.

Un projet de gazoduc entre l'Abitibi et le Saguenay ne passe pas le test de l’opinion publique

Specifically, only 38% of respondents who remain in the corridor to be studied for constructing the gas pipeline are in favour of such a project, of which only 33 % in Quebec. The analysis shows, however, that the choice of words is important, since the support is “slightly higher” when one uses the term “pipeline national” or “line of transportation of natural gas, 42 %, rather than the terms” natural gas pipeline ” or “pipeline” to 34 %.

“Educate” the citizens

Moreover, only 43 % of the 800 respondents in Ontario and Quebec argue that the pipeline would be ” safe “. This suggests, according to the analysis of Navigator, that: “LNG has work to educate residents about this issue “.

Navigator, which specializes in ” crisis management “, also states that the results of the survey demonstrate that there is a “responsiveness” to a message that positions natural gas as an energy “transition” to get out of the oil. The stroke of the probe, however, found that barely 50 % of respondents see it as a clean source of energy, while 53 % believe that the export of this natural gas mined in Alberta will “reduce” emissions of greenhouse gases.

In order to better accept the pipeline project Navigator, therefore, suggests the focus of the message on the idea that this gas will reduce the use of coal elsewhere in the world, rather than to imply ” directly as this will reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases “.

The Arguments used

Navigator has also submitted certain information to the respondents in the survey in order to check if these would positively influence their opinion.

The “arguments” the most promising are :

— the pipeline route will avoid “ecological zones sensitive” ;

— the construction will result in the creation of jobs, “good paying in the region” ;

— and a possible “spill” in the pipeline ” will not pollute the earth or water “, as the gas will evaporate immediately.

At the time of announcing its proposed gas export pipeline, in mid-November, Gazoduq has taken literally these arguments in the press release issued to promote the project of $ 4.5 billion.

“Our wish is to put in place a project that will generate positive spin-offs for Québec, Ontario and Canada, in addition to contributing to the reduction of the use of coal and fuel oil in the world, reducing the global emissions of greenhouse gases “, had pointed out the president of Gazoduq, Louis Bergeron, by way of a press release. The latter had been hired by TransCanada in 2015 to defend Quebec to the pipeline project Energy East.

This document Navigator recalls, in certain respects, an analysis produced for the project Energy Is by the firm of Edelman, at the request of TransCanada. This report, which had been unveiled by the media in November 2014, described the ways to influence public opinion in favor of the pipeline project, up to the possibility of paying people to vote for the project on social networks.

Popularize

According to what was explained Tuesday to Having to the spokesman of Gazoduq, Marie-Christine Demers, this analysis has been commissioned ” in the wake of the preparation of the project, but we did not pose specific questions to the project “. The idea, she added, was ” to be able to answer the questions of the people “. In this context, “this type of document allows us to prepare to be able to disseminate knowledge adequately” to the project and its issues.

“People have a lot of questions. These are questions any normal in relation to any project, ” she continued, referring to the consultations already undertaken by the proponent.

Even before you specify the path of the pipeline or to conduct the environmental assessment of the project, the prime minister François Legault has already qualified the LNG project Quebec ” very interesting “.

According to the” notice of project “filed in November by Gazoduq, the future gas pipeline will start in Ontario, the” Canadian Mainline “, a conduit owned by TransCanada. In Quebec, the hose of a diameter of one meter will require a “hold permanent” thirty meters, from the ontario border to the Saguenay.

Its construction will involve many “water crossings” and the corridor to the study includes several eskers, 20 to 400 km of water courses, thousands of wetlands and dozens of wildlife habitats, some of which are crucial for endangered species.

The work “preliminary” on the ground, began this year and should continue next spring. The commissioning is planned for 2025.

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