Majority in every province but 1 back Liberals’ Trans Mountain decision, and it’s not B.C.: Poll

Click to play video: 'Growing debate over federal government’s approval of Trans Mountain pipeline expansion'
Growing debate over federal government’s approval of Trans Mountain pipeline expansion
ABOVE: Growing debate over federal government's approval of Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. – Jun 19, 2019

A new poll has found that nearly six in 10 Canadians back the federal government’s decision to approve the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion (TMX).

Ottawa re-approved the pipeline on Tuesday, following a court-mandated deeper round of consultations with Indigenous groups and a new National Energy Board review of its marine impacts.

“We asked Canadians, just based on what they know about this, and the announcement which included the new caveat that they would actually be investing all of the profits from the pipeline into a clean energy transition,” said Angus Reid Institute research associate Dave Korzinski.

We asked them whether or not they thought that the government made the right choice or the wrong choice in going forward with this and nationally, the numbers actually look pretty good for the Liberals.

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In fact, the Angus Reid Institute poll found that Canadians who side with the government on the issue (56 per cent) outnumber those who oppose it (24 per cent) two-to-one.

Angus Reid Institute. Angus Reid Institute

Six in 10 said they believe the pipeline will actually get built, including a majority in all provinces except Saskatchewan.

The survey also found majority support for the project in every province except for one — though the odd one out wasn’t British Columbia.

WATCH: Project Reconciliation group in Calgary outlining plan to buy Trans Mountain

Click to play video: 'Project Reconciliation group in Calgary outlining plan to buy Trans Mountain'
Project Reconciliation group in Calgary outlining plan to buy Trans Mountain

Instead, Quebec is the dissident province, with just 31 per cent backing Ottawa’s decision, with 40 per cent opposed.

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Support for the Ottawa’s green light was highest in Alberta (85 per cent) and Saskatchewan (71 per cent), with support just over 60 per cent in Ontario and the Atlantic, and just under it in Manitoba.

A majority of British Columbians support the TMX project itself, though opposition in the province is the second strongest in the country, behind Quebec. Angus Reid Institute

In B.C., more than half of residents polled supported the decision (52 per cent), though opposition was the strongest outside of Quebec, at 30 per cent.

The poll also found major divisions in support for the project linked to political affiliation.

“Whether or not this is going to be a good decision or a poor one as it relates to the election is sort of up in the air at this point,” said Korzinski.

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“You’ve got quite strong support overall but a lot of that support for this project and the decision itself comes from those who are more considering the Conservative Party in the coming election — they’re not necessarily even giving the Liberals a look at this point.

A full 85 per cent of Conservative voters say they support TMX, while 56 per cent of Liberal backers and 33 per cent of NDP or Green backers approve of it.

WATCH: Federal government gives green light to pipeline

Click to play video: 'Federal government gives green light to pipeline'
Federal government gives green light to pipeline

Respondents’ biggest concerns about the project were the risk of a tanker spill (68 per cent), the climate impact of burning more fossil fuels (66 per cent) and the risk of a spill from the pipeline itself (60 per cent.)

But despite approval for the project, the poll found voters gave Liberals a poor grade on their handling of the oil and gas file.

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Just 27 per cent say they support the Liberals’ pipeline strategy — which includes scrapping the Northern Gateway pipeline and approving TMX and the Line 3 replacement.

Opponents were split, with 37 per cent saying they had done too little on the pipeline file, while 35 per cent said they were pushing too hard.

The Angus Reid Institute analyzed the results of an online survey between June 18 – June 20, 2019, among a representative randomized sample of 1,842 adult Canadian residents who are members of the Angus Reid Forum. Angus Reid says a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/- 2 per cent. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

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