A new study says more than half of Canadians are closely following the TransMountain project - but what do Canadians really think about the protesters and Kinder Morgan? And what is the actual economic impact of the pipeline expansion anyway?
This week, a new report from the Angus Reid Institute released their poll results surveying Canadians on the TransMountain debate. The Trans Mountain pipeline is a $7.4 billion dollar project that carries crude and refined oil from Alberta to the west coast of British Columbia.
Here are five key takeaways from the report:
- Canadians are following the issue very closely
- The majority of Canadians can see the economic benefit
- The protests are having the opposite effect on the public
- But that doesn't mean Canadians agree with Kinder Morgan either...
- Canada considers indigenous concerns as important
(Graphs below from the Angus Reid Institute.)
Canadians are following the issue very closely
During the 2014 TransMountain protests, only one-in-five Canadians (23%) were following the issue closely. After Alberta cut off B.C. wine purchases earlier in the year, almost half of Canadians (47%) were following the issue closely.
As of April 2018, more than half of Canadians (56%) are following the TransMountain debate very closely. Unsurprisingly, engagement is highest in B.C., Alberta, and Saskatchewan - but remains high across the country with the exception of Quebec.
The majority of Canadians can see the economic benefit
As previously reported by OMX, the total economic opportunity represented by the pipeline expansion is $85.8 billion over the next twenty years.
Six-in-ten Canadians say that the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion would help the Canadian economy overall, while only one-in-five say it would have negative consequences.
However, on a provincial level, Canadians outside of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and B.C. are more muted on the benefits to the local economy.
Over three-quarters of Canadians (77%) think it is important to maintain Canada and B.C.'s reputation as a place to invest. An equal number (75%) think that the positive economic impact of having more Canadian oil on the international market as very important.
The protests are having the opposite effect on the public
Six-in-ten Canadians say protesters represent a fringe view while only two-in-ten Canadians think the protesters represent the mainstream.
In fact, the protests seem to be having the opposite effect on the public - increasing support for the pipeline, particularly in Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Only in Manitoba and Quebec did the protests marginally increase opposition to the pipeline expansion over support.
But that doesn't mean Canadians agree with Kinder Morgan either...
Six in ten Canadians also say that Kinder Morgan must share some of the blame for not earning public support. Even among the pipeline supporters, more than half (56%) think Kinder Morgan could have done a better job.
Canada considers indigenous concerns as important
More than two-thirds of Canadians (68%) agree that a positive relationship between the government and First Nations opposing the pipeline should be a priority during the process. There is a clear majority in this view across Canada - except for in Alberta, where the public is divided almost in half:
About The Angus Reid Institute
The Angus Reid Institute (ARI) was founded in October 2014 by pollster and sociologist, Dr. Angus Reid. ARI is a national, not-for-profit, non-partisan public opinion research foundation established to advance education by commissioning, conducting and disseminating to the public accessible and impartial statistical data, research and policy analysis on economics, political science, philanthropy, public administration, domestic and international affairs and other socio-economic issues of importance to Canada and its world.