April 18, 2018 3:01 am
Updated: April 18, 2018 2:49 pm

Support for the Trans Mountain expansion grows amidst pipeline dispute

More than 2,000 Canadians were polled by Angus Reid recently and results found 54 per cent are in favour of the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline. Jordan Armstrong has the details.

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A majority of British Columbians are now in favour of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion according to a new poll released on Wednesday from The Angus Reid Institute.

The new poll found 54 per cent of those asked in B.C. are in favour of the project, while 38 per cent are opposed to it. Compare this to February when 48 per cent were in favour and 40 per cent were opposed.

LISTEN: Support for Kinder Morgan on the rise?

But when asked about potential risks of the pipeline, British Columbians are more cautious. Of those polled, 74 per cent they are very or moderately concerned of the risk of an oil spill or accident from a tanker carrying oil through the water of Metro Vancouver.

When asked which potential risk of the project is most concerning, 52 per cent of those polled said it was an oil spill or accident.

READ MORE: ‘We shouldn’t be held to ransom’: B.C. resident frustrated with Alberta pipeline battle

“From a British Columbia perspective, this is less about twinning a pipeline than it is about tanker traffic – and a need for a visible and effective emergency response protocol people can see, believe, and have confidence in,” reads the Angus Reid poll.

British Columbians are divided on the overall risks and benefits of the pipeline. The poll found 34 per cent say the environmental risk outweighs the economic benefit, 35 per cent say the opposition, with 30 per cent assessing the risks and benefits are about equal.

WATCH HERE: Canadian opinion poll on pipeline expansion


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B.C. premier John Horgan was in Ottawa on the weekend to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Alberta premier Rachel Notley. The $7.4 billion pipeline expansion is under threat of being stopped by Kinder Morgan if Ottawa can’t show a clear path towards getting B.C. on board with support for the twinning.

The Texas based company has set a May 31 deadline for the federal government to show the project can be completed.

The federal approved expansion would see a seven fold tanker increase along B.C.’s coast and nearly three times as much bitumen shipped through the pipeline from north or Edmonton to Burnaby every day.

WATCH: Legislative bureau chief Keith Baldrey joins us to break down some of the numbers from the poll:

READ THE POLL HERE

On the national level, support for the pipeline is also growing. Almost two thirds of those polls say the B.C. government is wrong to try and block the pipeline, up to 64 per cent from 55 per cent two months ago.

The Angus Reid Institute conducted the online survey on April 16 and 17 among a representative randomized sample of 2,125 Canadian adults who are members of the Angus Reid Forum. For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size with this sample plan would carry a margin of error of +/- 3.0 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

READ MORE: B.C. Attorney General calls new Alberta pipeline legislation a ‘bluff’

As for the personalities behind the dispute, the poll found Canadians are looking most favourably at the job Alberta premier Rachel Notley is doing. Notley has 42 per cent of respondents thinking she has done a good job, compared to 31 per cent feeling Horgan has done a good job.

LISTEN: B.C. Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver on the latest pipeline developments


“For their parts, both Horgan and Notley receive lukewarm ratings from the citizens of their own provinces. Horgan has done a good job on this file in the eyes of 45 per cent of British Columbians, while 44 per cent say he has done a bad one,” reads the poll.

“Albertans are slightly more approving of Notley. A majority, with 54 per cent, say she has done a good job, while 39 per cent say she has done a bad one. This is considerably more division than Albertans express on other questions in this survey – such as support for the pipeline itself.”

As for the Prime Minister, 36 per cent across the country say he has done a good job. That goes down in Alberta, where just 30 per cent of those polled believe Justin Trudeau has done a good job.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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