Trans Mountain Expansion pipeline enjoys support of just under half of British Columbians
Kinder Morgan has begun preliminary work on the Trans Mountain Expansion and, on cue, First Nations and environmental groups have begun protesting the project. West Coast opposition has been noisy, well organized and funded, and is particularly strong in Metro Vancouver, where the pipeline will terminate. Will opponents force Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to back down, rescind federal approval, and stop construction?
In this podcast, I interview Keith Brownsey about that question. He is a professor of political science at Mount Royal University in Calgary who specializes in energy politics.
While the Trans Mountain Expansion foes garner all the media attention, essentially sucking the oxygen from the public debate, a persistent theme gets ignored: public opinion polling consistently shows about half of British Columbians support the project.
In past columns I’ve written about Abacus Data surveys that make this point. Earlier this week, Angus Reid released a poll about BC political issues that included feelings about Trans Mountain Expansion.
TransMountain Pipeline: To twin or not to twin? Age, gender, and income drive opinion
The new government has joined a lawsuit against Kinder Morgan’s plan to “twin” the existing TransMountain pipeline that runs from Alberta to Burnaby, B.C.
The fate of the suit will be determined at hearings in Vancouver in early October, but the issue is likely to cause trouble for the NDP and the Greens no matter what the outcome.
If the court rules against it, the new government will have to decide whether to continue refusing to allow construction on public land in the province – and invite further legal battles – or give up the fight that both parties made central to their electoral campaigns.
If the court rules in favour of the groups opposed to the pipeline project, the new government will have scored a victory, but one that British Columbians – including significant numbers who voted for the NDP and the Greens in May – aren’t necessarily longing for:
This finding continues a pattern seen in previous Angus Reid Institute polls, which have found more support in B.C. for the Kinder Morgan project than opposition.
In addition to political differences, clear age and gender divisions can be seen in responses to this question.
While men say TransMountain should go ahead as planned by more than two-to-one, women are divided almost evenly.
Likewise, Respondents under age 35 – who formed a key part of the NDP base during the May election – are one-and-a-half times as likely to oppose the project as to support it:
There are also significant economic divisions on this question.
Those who live in households earning less than $50,000 per year are more likely to say the project should be canceled than to say it should go ahead, while majorities in the higher income brackets support the pipeline:
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