Half of British Columbians Oppose Northern Gateway

In a purported province-wide referendum, almost half of the province’s residents would say “No” to the project.

Vancouver, BC – Public support for the Northern Gateway Pipeline has dropped in British Columbia but remains high in Alberta, a new Insights West poll has found.

In the online survey of representative provincial samples, four-in-five British Columbians (79%) and seven-in-ten Albertans (71%) are familiar with the project.

In British Columbia, 49% of residents (+2 since November 2013) are opposed to the Northern Gateway, while 38% (-4) are in favour of it. The numbers are drastically different in Alberta, where two thirds of residents (65%) support the project.

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“Even after the federal government granted conditional approval to the Northern Gateway Pipelines Project, subject to 209 conditions being met by Enbridge, the needle did not move in favour of the project,” says Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs, at Insights West. “British Columbians remain concerned about oil spills, increased tanker traffic and the environmental impact of construction.”

As has been the case consistently, Albertans tend to be more buoyant on the possible benefits of Northern Gateway than British Columbians, with large majorities agreeing with the notions that the project will support economic growth (89% in AB, 79% in BC), create new jobs (88% in AB, 80% in BC) and create new capital investment (85% in AB, 75% in BC).

British Columbians are more skeptical on three issues: increased tax revenue (69% in AB, 55% in BC), strengthening relationships with Asian countries (65% in AB, 50% in BC) and benefits to First Nations (55% in AB, 35% in BC).

When it comes to concerns, more than three-in-four British Columbians are worried about an expected increase in oil tanker traffic at Kitimat and through the passage (85% in BC, 73% in AB), the risk of an oil spill (83% in BC, 66% in AB) and the impact of pipeline construction on the environment (78% in BC, 67% in AB).

British Columbians are also more likely to regard the project as an infringement upon the rights of communities living along the pipeline path (71% in BC, 52% in AB), worry about its impact on First Nations communities (68% in BC, 57% in AB), and express a lack of trust with Enbridge (66% in BC, 39% in AB) as well as concerns over the company’s history of incidents (63% in BC, 44% in AB).

The notion of holding a holding a plebiscite where registered voters get to have a say on the issue is regarded as a good idea by 63% of British Columbians, including 54% of those who voted for the BC Liberals in 2013 and 73% of those who supported the BC New Democratic Party (NDP) in the last provincial election.

If a plebiscite took place, 48% of British Columbians would vote “No” on the question: “Do you think British Columbia should allow the construction of the Northern Gateway Pipelines?”, while 38% would vote “Yes.”

Voting intention for the plebiscite is split along age, gender and party lines. Men (52%), residents aged 55 and over (49%) and people who voted for the BC Liberals last year (59%) would be more likely to vote “Yes.” Conversely, most women (56%), residents aged 18-to-34 (55%) and BC NDP voters in 2013 (63%) are “No” voters at this point.

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 and has seventeen employees.

About this Release:

Results are based on an online study conducted from June 17 to June 21, 2014, among 647 British Columbians and 617 Albertans aged 18+ who are Your Insights panel members. YourInsights.ca is Insights West’s in-house access panel offering on-demand samples for both clients and research suppliers looking for Western Canadian populations. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for BC and Alberta for age, gender and region. Results have a margin of error of +/-4.3 percentage points for BC and +/- 4.1 percentage points for Alberta, 19 times out of 20. Click to view the detailed data tabulations for this study: British Columbia, Alberta.

For further information, please contact:

Mario Canseco
Vice President, Public Affairs, Insights West
778-929-0490
mariocanseco@insightswest.com

 

Photograph: Sam Beebe