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B.C. gives Horgan poor marks on handling of pipeline dispute, according to poll

Premier John Horgan speaking to reporters on Wednesday, February 12, 2020.
Premier John Horgan speaking to reporters on Wednesday, February 12, 2020. Richard Zussman/Global News

A large majority of British Columbians polled said B.C. Premier John Horgan is doing a bad job at dealing with the protests and blockades supporting Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs.

The Angus Reid Institute poll surveyed 201 British Columbians, with 65 per cent saying Horgan is doing a bad job and 18 per cent saying he is doing a good job.

“Most Canadians feel that the way this ordeal has been handled has hindered the process of reconciliation,” reads a media release from the pollster.

“Four-in-five say that overall, the relationship between Indigenous peoples and Canada has come out worse after the events of the last several weeks, while just 12 per cent see this positively.

READ MORE: B.C. premier says cancelling Coastal GasLink pipeline is ‘not an option for me’

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Horgan says he hasn’t seen the poll numbers.

Protests, demonstrations and blockades have grown in the province and across the country since five Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs prepared an eviction notice for Coastal GasLink workers in early January.

The blockades have increased in numbers including highways being blocked, ports entrances being occupied by protesters and the legislature doors being blocked.

“There are always a lot of polls,” said Horgan.

PM discusses meaningful and lasting solution to blockades with premiers
PM discusses meaningful and lasting solution to blockades with premiers

“This is a very divisive issue for all British Columbians and all Canadians and I am doing my level best to find a balance.”

The poll results are unweighted for the regional sample sizes. All other sample sizes, including column totals, are weighted to census data.

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The results come out on the same day B.C. Indigenous Relations Minister Scott Fraser and federal Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett sat down to meet with the hereditary chiefs opposed to the project.

Horgan was invited to the meeting and has left the door open for a meeting down the road.

“I have met with the hereditary leaders not once, but twice,” Horgan said.

“I am absolutely prepared to sit down and dialogue with the hereditary leaders, but it’s important there are conditions for constructive dialogue.”