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While 12% in British Columbia think global warming “is a hoax”, the proportion climbs to 26% in Alberta.

Vancouver, BC – When asked to discuss several popular conspiracy theories, British Columbians and Albertans are more likely to believe in the prevalence of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) than in the existence of Bigfoot or Ogopogo, a new Insights West poll has found.

The online survey of representative provincial samples shows that 46% of British Columbians and 47% of Albertans believe that UFOs exist. About one third of residents (35% in BC, 32% in AB) also think that the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963 amounted to a conspiracy.

Two-in-five Albertans (40%) and a third of British Columbians (32%) think that scientists have found a cure for cancer, but that the government or pharmaceutical companies are withholding it, while smaller proportions (27% in BC, 31% in AB) believe that a human being has already been cloned.

On two issues, there are some wide gaps between the two provinces. Pondering the 1997 death of Princess Diana in a car crash, more than a third of Albertans (37%) consider the event an assassination—a view shared by 27% of British Columbians.

One-in-four Albertans (26%) believe global warming is a hoax, compared with just 12% of British Columbians.

“Many Western Canadians continue to look at certain issues related to medical research as fodder for conspiracy theories,” says Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs, at Insights West. “On climate change, however, the differences between British Columbia and Alberta are more pronounced.”

One-in-five residents (20% in BC, 21% in AB) believe in Bigfoot (or Sasquatch). Similar proportions (19% in BC, 18% in AB) think 9/11 was a U.S. Government conspiracy, while slightly fewer believe that Ogopogo exists (16% in BC, 15% in AB) and that lottery outcomes are rigged (14% in BC, 13% in AB).

Considerably fewer Western Canadians believe that the lunar landings are a hoax (7% in BC, 10% in AB), that Osama bin Laden is still alive (5% in BC, 6% in AB), that dinosaurs never existed (3% in BC, 4% in AB) and that Elvis is still alive (1% in both BC and AB).


Insights West first asked this question in 2013 in British Columbia and Alberta. The biggest fluctuations since then are a six-point decrease in the number of British Columbians who think 9/11 was a conspiracy, and a seven-point increase in the proportion of Albertans who believe Princess Diana was assassinated.

April Fools’ Day

The survey also took a look at the behaviour of Western Canadians on April Fools’ Day. Three-in-ten residents (31% in BC and 29% in AB) say they consider themselves as “somewhat of a fan” or a “big fan” of April Fools’ Day.

Three-in-four (75% in BC and 74% in AB) acknowledge that they have been fooled by someone on April Fools’ Day, with pranks coming mostly from friends (58% in BC, 54% in AB), co-workers (36% in BC, 41% in AB) and siblings (28% in BC, 25% in AB).

Fewer Western Canadians (58% in BC and 51% in AB) admit that they have fooled someone else on April Fools’ Day. Once again, the largest proportion of practical jokes come at the expense of friends (64% in BC, 59% in AB) and co-workers (42% in BC, 53% in AB).

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 fifteen full-time employees.

About this Release:

Results are based on an online study conducted from March 24 to March 29, 2015, among 801 British Columbians and 508 Albertans 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, gender and region. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.5 percentage points for British Columbia and +/- 4.3 percentage points for Alberta, nineteen times out of twenty. Click to view the detailed data tabulations for British Columbia and Alberta.

For further information, please contact:

Mario Canseco
Vice President, Public Affairs, Insights West


Photograph: Richard