Friday, November 22, 2013

Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline proposal makes some headway in British Columbia

With the Northern Gateway Joint Review panel findings soon to be delivered, the backlash against the idea of pipelines in the province, and the Northern Gateway in particular seems to be diminishing.

And while a number of British Columbians  including a group in Prince Rupert, may have gathered last week to protest the prospect of oil or bitumen pipelines crossing the province.

The latest in opinion surveys is suggesting, that the message from pipeline companies such as Enbridge, may be starting to make some headway in the province.

At least, those are the results interpreted from an Insights West study which was released on Thursday, November 21st.

The initial readings highlight the main takeaway that, opposition to the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway project has dropped by 14 percent.

Thursday's numbers suggest that for the Insights West survey panel opposition to the project has dropped below the 50 per cent level, with 47 percent of those surveyed expressing their opposition, down significantly from the 61 percent recorded in February.

When it comes to support for the project, the numbers show a further increase of 7 percent to 42 per cent, while those that identified their impressions as to be strongly opposed declined to 29 percent a 9 per cent drop from the February survey.

The largest segment of support for the project comes from men at 50 per cent and residents aged 55 and over at 49 percent. The most strident opposition recorded in the survey came from women at 55 percent and residents between the ages of 18-34 at 57 percent.

Job creation, economic growth, new capital investment and benefits for First Nations communities were some of the reasons that those in support of the project listed as key to their support.

Overall the impressions received from the latest survey of opinion highlighted for Insights West that opposition to the project which at one time registered at almost a 4 to 1 margin, now is at less than 2-1, a dramatic shift of public opinion for a controversial issue.

Still concerns do exist, particularly when it comes to the prospect of oil tanker traffic on the coast of the province, as 4 in 5 of those surveyed expressed worries over oil tanker traffic, the risk of an oil spill and the impact of construction on the environment.

Observers of the pipeline debate in the province suggest that the ebb and flow of support or opposition could change with just one high profile incident, with any number of factors possibly changing the dynamic of how the pipeline project is perceived by British Columbians.

The Insight West survey was conducted on line from November 12 to 15 with 749 participants of the Your Insights panel providing for the data review, the sample of error from the survey was listed as plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.

Background on Insight West survey can be examined here, you can review more of the tabulations here.

The Insight West survey is one of two polls this week that highlight the impression that the energy sector is key to the Canadian economy and a topic that is of key importance to Canadians.

A Harris-Decima poll was released this week,  one that took a larger overview of the energy sector and it's importance to Canadians, with it's findings on pipelines providing a similar overview as those of Insight West.

Further background on the release of the polling data and the impressions of Canadians on the energy sector can he found from some of the media reviews below.

Global News-- British Columbians warming up to Enbridge Northern Gateway
Business in Vancouver-- Opposition to Northern Gateway on the decline
24 Hours Vancouver-- Poll shows less pipeline opposition
Vancouver Sun-- Increase in pipeline support could be short-lived, UBC profs say
Vancouver Sun-- Increase in Northern Gateway pipeline support, but that could change, UBC prof says
Prince George Citizen-- Pipeline support increasing: new poll

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