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Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
July 5, 2015
Canadian Excellence


Simon Kiss

The Red-Green Divide in Canada

Class Differences in Environmental Attitudes in Canada and their Consequences for the Party System
Simon J. Kiss

published: 2012 | Research publication | Social Class

This paper uses data from the 2004-2011 Canada Election Studies to assess the extent to which social classes differ in their views on environmental protection. It reflects long-standing findings from other countries that support for environmental measures are concentrated in “social and cultural specialists”, a particular subset of the new middle class. However, it also finds that divisions across class only manifest themselves when environmental issues are salient and high on the political agenda. Moreover, evidence is produced to suggest that class differences manifest themselves among Liberal, Green and NDP supporters. Bloc Québécois supporters tend to support environmental measures without much difference by class, while Conservative supporters oppose them, regardless of social class. The paper concludes arguing these patterns help explain why the Conservatives have been so eager to promote economic development projects with serious environmental consequences arguing that their opponents are “opposed to jobs”. 

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revised Dec 4/12

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