Young B.C. adults more in favour of changing province’s name to add Indigenous heritage: poll

A view of Gibsons Landing from the top of Soames Hill, a short but steep hike on British Columbia's Sunshine Coast, is seen near the town of Granthams Landing, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lauren Krugel

A new poll has found some residents of B.C. would be supportive of a move to change the province’s name.

The poll by Research Co. found young adults are among the most to approve of a name change that acknowledges the province’s Indigenous heritage.

Overall, 53 per cent of British Columbians disagree with changing the name of the province, which is down seven points from a similar poll conducted in August 2021.

However, a third of British Columbians, 32 per cent, would like to go forward with a name change and this proportion rises to 50 per cent among those aged 18-to-34, the poll found.

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“More than a third of Vancouver Island residents (37 per cent) would welcome changing British Columbia’s name,” Mario Canseco, president of Research Co. said in a release.

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“Support is lower in Northern B.C. (32 per cent), Metro Vancouver (31 per cent), the Fraser Valley (30 per cent) and Southern B.C. (26 per cent).”

The poll found just over three in five British Columbians (62 per cent) are not bothered by any component of the province’s name.

About one in five are upset about the absence of an acknowledgment of Indigenous peoples (20 per cent) and the “British” part (19 per cent).

Only eight per cent stated they were bothered by the “Columbia” part of the name.

The poll did not provide any examples of what a name change could be but it did ask if residents thought the provincial flag should be amended to remove the Union Jack.

Thirty-one per cent agreed with this plan but 46 per cent disagreed.

Only 24 per cent of British Columbians aged 55 and over would consent to have a provincial flag that does not feature the Union Jack, the poll found. Support is higher among their counterparts aged 35-to-54 (30 per cent) and aged 18-to-34 (43 per cent).

When asked about the Queen Charlotte Islands name change in 2010, most British Columbians — 58 per cent) — believed it was the right decision.

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In 2010, the Queen Charlotte Islands were renamed as Haida Gwaii. Most British Columbians (58 per cent, +2) believe this was the right decision, while 20 per cent (=) disagree and 23 per cent (-1) are undecided.

Results are based on an online study conducted from Oct. 29 to Oct. 31, 2022, among 800 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 +/- 3.5 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

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