May 2, 2018 5:00 am
Updated: May 2, 2018 10:47 pm

Majority of Canadians support Trans Mountain pipeline expansion: Ipsos poll

WATCH ABOVE: According to a new poll, most Canadians think the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project should be built. As Tom Vernon reports, that support even extends west of Alberta.

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While the debate about whether or not to extended Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline rages on, an Ipsos poll commissioned by Global News found a majority of Canadians support the issue.

Fifty-six per cent of respondents say they support the expansion of the pipeline from Alberta to B.C.’s coast, while 24 per cent of respondents oppose it. Twenty per cent of Canadians aren’t sure whether or not they should support it.

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READ MORE: Alberta’s opposition party leaders blast Trudeau, Notley for lack of progress with Horgan on pipeline issue

While most of the opposition to the pipeline expansion has come from B.C., the poll found 55 per cent of British Columbian respondents support it, with 37 per cent of them opposing it.

“The people who are opposed, it doesn’t have to be a big group to flood a town hall,” Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos Public Affairs, said to Global News. “I think the volume of sound is much louder than the level of public opinion they represent.”

Unsurprisingly, Albertan respondents were the Trans Mountain’s strongest supporters, with 84 per cent of them supporting and only 7 per cent opposing.

Quebec was the province with the greatest share of opposition, with 36 per cent opposing, and 42 per cent of respondents supporting it.

Despite the widespread support, the poll found that Canadians are still worried about oil spills on the coast of B.C. About six in 10 (57 per cent) respondents said they were concerned about spills due to increased tanker traffic (that jumps to 63 per cent for British Columbians).

“The interesting thing about the pipelines is that the biggest issue isn’t with the pipelines itself, it’s with the tankers that pick up the bitumen … and what happens if something happens to those tankers,” Bricker said.

Canadians are also not sure if our government can deal with an oil spill if it does happen: 41 per cent of respondents say they have confidence in the government while 44 per cent say they don’t.

READ MORE: Report says marine oil tankers less likely to spill oil than pipelines or trains

Bricker explained that people who are proponents of the pipeline will have to address this issue and whatever methods they choose for addressing oil spills “will have to be clearly articulated to Canadians [so they can] have confidence in those solutions.”

Even so, the poll showed that 58 per cent of Canadians believed the pipeline expansion will help Canada’s economic future, while a quarter of respondents disagreed. And 40 per cent say the economic benefits outweigh the environmental costs.

“People do realize that we need to be able to export, for example, our oil and gas products to be a prosperous nation,” Bricker said.

This Ipsos poll on behalf of Global News was an online survey of 1,907 Canadians conducted between April 24 and 30, 2018. The results were weighted to better reflect the composition of the adult Canadian population, according to census data. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is considered accurate to within plus or minus 2.6 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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

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