Menu

From Angus Reid Institute

Turbine Troubles: Should Ottawa have sent pipeline parts back to Russia?

This nation divided evenly between support, opposition, and uncertainty over controversial decision

July 22, 2022 – record-breaking summer heat wave has drawn attention away from what could be a grim and cold winter as Europe faces an ongoing energy crisis amid a reduction in natural gas supply from Russia.

Canada’s role in the turmoil recently drew international notice, and condemnation from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, after the Trudeau government granted a German request to return Nord Stream 1 turbines – recently repaired in Montreal – to a state-owned Russian oil company.

Returning the turbines means the flow of natural gas from that country can be increased. On one hand, Russia remains embroiled in a war it started with Ukraine. On the other, European nations dependent on Russian energy worry about the consequences of persistent diminished supply.

As Germany and Europe grapple with gripping this double-edged sword, a new study from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds no consensus among Canadians over whether their country’s decision was correct.

Overall, an equal number of Canadians say its federal government either made the right or wrong call. A further three-in-ten (29%) say they aren’t sure.

Just over one-third (36%) say the government decision is the right one, assisting NATO allies by returning the turbines, which had been held due to ongoing sanctions. Others (35%) say this only emboldens Russia in the war against Ukraine, as it sells its fuel to fund its efforts. For his part, Vladimir Putin has cast doubt as to the quality of Canadian repairs and continues to suggest that the natural gas supply to Europe could be reduced further.

Even past Liberal Party voters are split over the decision. While two-in-five (43%) agree with it, fully three-in-ten (31%) disagree. Past Conservative voters are most critical, with half (47%) in opposition, though half are either in support (32%) or are uncertain (21%).

The turbines grabbed headlines, but Canadians’ attention to the war an ocean and continent away is waning. While more than half (56%) say they are tracking updates in the conflict, attention has dropped 10 points since May.

Which is closest to your view (all respondents, n=1606)

More Key Findings

Regional Differences

Regionally, those who believe it was the right move to return the turbines tops out at two-in-five in Ontario (39%). Those in Alberta (46%) and Saskatchewan (47%) are the most likely to believe sending the turbines back was the wrong move.

Consistent Sentiments

Sentiment regarding Canada’s role in the war has not changed since May. One-in-three (36%) still say that Canada should do more to help Ukraine, while one-in-three (35%) say the government has struck the right balance.

Survey Methodology

The Angus Reid Institute conducted an online survey from July 18 – 20, 2022 among a representative randomized sample of 1,606 Canadian adults who are members of Angus Reid Forum. For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/- 2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding. The survey was self-commissioned and paid for by ARI.

For detailed results by age, gender, region, education, and other demographics, click here.

To read the full report, including detailed tables and methodology, click here

To read the questionnaire in English and French, click here

Angus Reid Institute logo

From the Angus Reid Institute, Canada’s non-profit foundation committed to independent research.

For detailed breakdown of the results, visit angusreid.org

Our community is where opinion leads to action. No bots allowed.

Join Panel

Questions that matter.
Answers that count.