Ottawa’s Pipeline Actions Affect Views in British Columbia

Three-in-four residents are uncomfortable with using taxpayer money to subsidize a foreign company, half say they are now “less likely” to vote for the Liberal Party at the federal level, and a majority believes the provincial government has made the right decisions.

Vancouver, BC [May 31, 2018] – Many British Columbians appear disappointed about the way Ottawa has handled Kinder Morgan’s oil-tanker-pipeline proposal, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative sample of British Columbians, three-in-four residents (76%) say they are uncomfortable with the idea of the federal government using taxpayer money to subsidize a foreign company.

The survey was conducted from May 25 to May 28, 2018, after the federal government expressed its willingness to “indemnify the Trans Mountain expansion against unnecessary delays”, but before Ottawa announced on May 29 that it was purchasing the existing pipeline and its expansion project for $4.5 billion.

Across the province, 57% of residents think the federal government made the wrong decision in announcing it would use taxpayer money to indemnify Kinder Morgan’s backers for any financial loss, and 49% say they are “less likely” to vote for the governing party in the next federal election—a proportion that includes 36% of residents who cast a ballot for Liberal candidates in 2015.

“British Columbians are evidently concerned about specific aspects of the pipeline proposal, but there are no conflictive views when it comes to the performance of the federal government,” says Mario Canseco, President at Research Co. “The federal Liberals, who had one of their best performances in the province in 2015, now stand to lose more than a third of their support base.”

Across the province, 52% of residents say they agree with Kinder Morgan’s proposal to build new oil tanker-pipeline structure, while 44% disagree with it. However, 54% agree with the B.C government’s stance that Kinder Morgan’s oil-tanker-pipeline proposal threatens the health and safety of residents.

In addition, 50% of British Columbians believe the provincial government has made the right decision by filing a case in the B.C. Court of Appeal asking if the province has jurisdiction to regulate the transport of oil through its territory, and 51% disagree with the notion that the federal government should do “anything necessary to get the pipeline built”.

Results are based on an online study conducted from May 25 to May 28, 2018, among 1,255 adults in British Columbia. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in British Columbia. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 2.8 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

Find our full data set here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:
Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.


Photo Credit: Peter Graham.