Views of British Columbians Shifting on Northern Gateway

Northern Gateway - by Dogwood Initiative

Across the province, 42% of residents support the project—a seven-point jump since February.

Vancouver, BC – Opposition to the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines has subsided over the past 10 months in British Columbia, with the province’s residents now being staunchly divided on the project, a new survey from Insights West has found.

In the online survey of a representative sample of British Columbians, support for the proposed Northern Gateway Pipelines stands at 42%, a seven-point increase since an Insights West poll conducted in February. Conversely, opposition to the project has dropped by 14 points, from 61% at the start of 2013 to 47% today.

It is important to note that the level of “strong opposition” to the project has fallen to 29% (down 9 points since February), while “strong support” increased to 16% (+5).


“At the start of the year, strong opposition to the Northern Gateway outranked strong support by an almost 4-to-1 margin—now it’s less than 2-to-1,” says Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs at Insights West. “While a large proportion of British Columbians continue to have reservations about the project, the numbers are very different from what we observed at the start of the year.”

Support for the Northern Gateway is particularly high among men (50%) and residents aged 55 and over (49%). Opposition is strongest with women (55%) and residents aged 18-to-34 (57%).

Some of the proposed benefits of the Northern Gateway Pipeline resonate highly with the population, particularly on job creation (86%), economic growth (86%), and new capital investment (82%). There is also a noticeable increase in the idea that the pipeline will benefit First Nations communities, from 40% in February to 53% today.


Still, at least four-in-five British Columbians are worried about increases in oil tanker traffic (88%), the risk of an oil spill (85%) and the impact of construction on the environment (also 85%).


“British Columbians continue to be of two minds on the Northern Gateway,” continues Canseco. “There is a large proportion of the population that remains concerned with the possibility of oil spills and environmental problems, but the argument about economic benefits has gained traction over the past few months.”

About Insights West:

Insights West is a progressive, Western-based, full-service marketing research company. It exists to serve the market with insights-driven research solutions and interpretive analysis through leading-edge tools, normative databases, and senior-level expertise across a broad range of public and private sector organizations. Insights West is based in Vancouver and Calgary and has ten full-time and five part-time employees.


About this Release:

Results are based on an online study conducted November 12 – 15, 2013, among 749 British Columbians who are aged 18+ and are Your Insights panel members. is Insights West’s in-house access panel offering on-demand samples for both clients and research suppliers looking for Western Canadian populations. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age and gender. While statistical margins of error are arguably not applicable to online panels/online studies of this nature, we have assumed that the same margins of error apply as if it were a true unweighted random probability sample with a margin of error of +/- 3.7 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty. To view the detailed data tabulations, click here.


For further information, please contact:

Mario Canseco
Vice President, Public Affairs, Insights West

Photograph: Dogwood Initiative