British Columbians Remain Split on Kinder Morgan Pipeline Expansion

Most residents agree with the federal government’s decision to reject the Enbridge Northern Gateway project.

Vancouver, BC – The proposed expansion of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline remains contentious in British Columbia after the federal government formally approved the project, a new Insights West poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative provincial sample, 45% of residents support the proposed expansion, while 45% oppose it. The level of strong opposition (28%) continues to be significantly higher than the level of strong support (18%).


“The federal government’s verdict has boosted support for the Trans Mountain project in British Columbia, but not to a point where a clear majority of residents side with one of the options,” says Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs, at Insights West. “British Columbians who already were opposed to this project remain in the same column.”

Men (52%), residents aged 55 and over (58%), and those who voted for the BC Liberals in the 2013 election (64%) are more likely to support the expansion, while women (48%), residents aged 18-34 (56%), and those who voted for the BC New Democratic Party (NDP) on the last provincial ballot (64%) are more likely to oppose it.

While most British Columbians expect the project to create jobs (77%), support economic growth (71%), lead to increased tax revenue (63%), and lead to strong relationships with Asian countries (49%), only two-in-five (39%) expect it to benefit First Nations communities along the pipeline.

Conversely, sizeable majorities of residents are concerned about the expected increase in oil tanker traffic near Vancouver (83%), the risk of an oil spill (76%), the impact of construction on the environment (72%), and the project’s impact on both First Nations communities (64%) and climate change (60%).

Half of British Columbians (50%) believe it is a good idea to hold a province-wide plebiscite where registered voters get to have a say on the Kinder Morgan expansion. If such a plebiscite took place, 43% of British Columbians would vote “Yes” on allowing the expansion, while 44% would vote “No”.

Three-in-five British Columbians (59%) agree with the federal government’s decision to reject the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines project, while 29% disagree with Ottawa’s course of action.

About Insights West:

Insights West is a progressive, Western-based, full-service marketing research company. It exists to serve the market with insights-driven research solutions and interpretive analysis through leading-edge tools, normative databases, and senior-level expertise across a broad range of public and private sector organizations. Insights West is based in Vancouver and Calgary.

About this Release:

Results are based on an online study conducted from December 12 to December 15, 2016, among a representative sample of 803 adults in British Columbia. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.5 percentage points. Click to view the detailed data tabulations.

For further information, please contact:

Mario Canseco
Vice President, Public Affairs, Insights West


Photograph: Kent Lins