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Oil tanker expansion a ballot-box issue for many 2015 Liberal voters, poll finds.

Vancouver, BC – A new poll by Insights West shows strong opposition to increased oil tanker traffic on British Columbia’s south coast, including those voters who supported Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party in the 2015 federal election.

The province-wide online survey of a representative provincial sample, commissioned by Dogwood Initiative, found British Columbians remain opposed to oil tanker expansion by a factor of two to one. Almost two thirds of respondents who voted Liberal in 2015 (64%) agree, while just 27% support more oil tankers.

“Many British Columbians believe the approval of the Kinder Morgan project would go against the current prime minister’s campaign pledges on climate change and relations with First Nations,” said Mario Canseco, Vice President of Public Affairs at Insights West. “This includes a majority of those who chose to support the Liberal Party on last year’s federal ballot.”

Two-in-five residents in Metro Vancouver (40%), where the majority of Liberal seats in B.C. are located, said they would be less likely to vote Liberal next election if the federal government approves Kinder Morgan’s pipeline and tanker project. Three-in-ten Liberal voters (31%) say they would be less likely to support Trudeau’s party if the project goes ahead.

Dogwood campaigner Sophie Harrison says the damage to the Liberal brand in B.C. could last for years. “Justin Trudeau’s government was brought to power by a surge in youth voter turnout and a consolidation of the progressive electorate. If he approves Kinder Morgan’s Texas tanker proposal, a lot of that support is going to collapse.”

Harrison added: “In the coming days, we’ll be looking for more Liberal MPs in B.C. to follow Terry Beech and Ron McKinnon’s lead, speaking out on behalf of constituents who oppose this project.”

Details of the polling results are available here. Other highlights include:

  • 62% of British Columbians polled agree a Kinder Morgan approval would contradict Prime Minister Trudeau’s promises on climate leadership and a “new relationship” with First Nations. Among Liberal voters in B.C., 58% agree with this assessment.
  • 74% of British Columbians, and 78% of Liberal voters in B.C. say they are less likely to support oil tanker expansion when considering the impacts on the South Coast’s 80 resident orca whales.
  • Among young voters in B.C. (under 35), opposition to oil tanker expansion overwhelms support four to one (67% to 17%).

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.

About Dogwood:

Dogwood Initiative is B.C.’s largest citizen group, with 260,549 contactable supporters in the province. If the federal government approves the Kinder Morgan expansion, Dogwood organizers are committed to launching a province-wide initiative petition to block provincial permits for oil tanker projects.

About this release:

Results are based on an online study conducted from November 17 to November 21, 2016, among 805 adult British Columbians. 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 for each sample, nineteen times out of twenty.

Click here to view the detailed data tabulations and here to view the report.

For further information, please contact:

Mario Canseco
Vice President, Public Affairs, Insights West

Sophie Harrison
Campaign Coordinator, Dogwood Initiative


Photograph: Ruth Hartnup