The public’s support for one of the federal government’s largest projects is diminishing, according to a new poll.
Over the past year, support for the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline has dropped seven per cent, says the poll by Vancouver-based polling firm, Research Co. Forty-five per cent of British Columbians said they agree with the federal government’s move to reapprove the project compared to last year when it was at 52 per cent.
The pipeline, built in the 1950s, was taken over by Texas-based Kinder Morgan in 2015, which then made plans to triple the exports of the existing operation, upping production to 890,000 barrels each day flowing from Alberta to the B.C. coast. The federal government purchased the pipeline in 2018 for $4.5 billion. The Trans Mountain expansion (TMX) is projected to cost $12.6 billion.
The interesting piece of the poll for Mario Canseco, president of Research Co., is that although support has gone down, opposition has remained almost the same as its poll results in 2020 and 2019. Thirty-four per cent of British Columbians say they oppose the project — the same as when Canseco and his team asked in 2019.
However, Canseco said TMX is not on the political stage like it used to be.
“It's almost as if people are saying, ‘Is this thing still around? We haven't really heard much about this.’ And the activism is moving to other fronts — Site C, LNG, old-growth logging,” he said.
“It's kind of like we went from people who were moderately supportive to people who thought, 'I haven't heard anything about this project in a year, so maybe I'm undecided.'”
Fifty-five per cent said they didn’t think the federal government has been handling TMX well since purchasing it, but the majority (almost two-thirds) still think the project will create hundreds of jobs for British Columbians.
However, the Tsleil-Waututh Nation Sacred Trust Initiative found “British Columbia does not rely on the jobs created through the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. (TMX) promises that the pipeline would create 50 permanent jobs in British Columbia, and 40 in Alberta.”
Forty-five per cent of British Columbians said they agree with the federal government’s move to reapprove the Trans Mountain Pipeline, compared to last year, when it was at 52 per cent. #TMX
Poll results are based on an online survey of 800 adults in British Columbia from Oct. 1 to Oct. 3. 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 plus-or-minus 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.