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British Columbians down on Trans Mountain, but open to reconsidering Northern Gateway: poll

Only 45 per cent of British Columbians support TMX while 41 per cent open to Northern Gateway
Demonstrators line the Dallas Road walkway in Victoria B.C. on March 28 to protest the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)

Public support for the expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline has been fraught since the beginning, but a new poll shows that even fewer British Columbians support the project now compared to a year ago.

Polling company Research Co. found that 45 per cent of British Columbians support the project, down seven points from a similar poll the company conducted in October 2020. Meanwhile, opposition to the project has risen to 34 per cent, up five points from last year.

RELATED: B.C. river crossing tunnels part of Trans Mountain pipeline plan

Mario Canseco, president of Research Co. said support varies by region. Residents of Northern B.C. and southern B.C. have the highest levels of support at 60 per cent and 54 per cent respectively. Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island have lower levels of support hovering around 42 per cent.

Although 65 per cent of British Columbians believe the Trans Mountain expansion will bring jobs, 55 per cent are disappointed with how the federal government has managed the pipeline and 47 per cent believe the pipeline threatens the health and safety of residents.

Forty-one per cent of those polled want the provincial government to use every tool available to stop the project.

But Trans Mountain isn’t the only pipeline that respondents were asked about.

RELATED: Trudeau green lights Kinder Morgan pipeline, rejects Northern Gateway

In 2016, the federal government rejected a proposal for Enbridge’s Northern Gateway, a pipeline that would have transported oil from Alberta to B.C.’s north coast where it would be shipped on tankers to Asia.

The survey found 41 per cent of British Columbians want the government to reconsider the proposal while 34 per cent disagree and 25 per cent are undecided.

Those who support reconsidering Northern Gateway were overwhelmingly B.C. Liberal voters at 57 per cent. NDP and Green votes had tepid support for the project at 38 and 36 per cent respectively.

The federal government purchased the Trans Mountain pipeline for $4.5 billion in 2018. Marred by protests, construction delays and court challenges, estimates put the total cost of the project at $12.6 billion.

RELATED: Trans Mountain pipeline expansion cost jumps 70% to $12.6 billion


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