Since the federal election was officially called a week ago, my email inbox has been inundated with anti-Trans Mountain letters.
Many of them have virtually the same subject line, which isn’t a coincidence as they are part of an organized effort to blanket media outlets with letters to the editor. That’s not a criticism, just an observation. Nothing wrong with an organized campaign.
I’m writing about one specific point that so many anti-TMX letters make. It basically says “B.C. has made it clear it’s against the Trans Mountain project.” These project opponents state as fact that B.C. residents are overwhelmingly against the expansion of the pipeline.
Well, is that actually true? Sure, there are a lot of really vocal people protesting against the project, but a recent poll by the Angus Reid Forum says otherwise.
According to the poll, 55 per cent of B.C. residents want the next federal government to “build the expansion” while just 31 per cent want whoever is elected to “stop the expansion.” Fourteen per cent had no strong opinion.
That's a big gap between people who support TMX and those who are against it.
“Unyielding support for the project in Alberta is likely unsurprising for many; 85 per cent of respondents in that province say the project should be built. That said, support is considerable in the battleground provinces of B.C. (55% support, 31% oppose) and Ontario (52% support, 20% oppose),” read a report on the poll. “The only region that voices more opposition to TransMountain than support is Quebec, where the population is close to evenly divided (36% support, 39% oppose).”
So, if you believe the poll, that is a lot of support in B.C. and counters what Trans Mountain opponents say is fact.
I’m not saying this as a commentary on whether or not people should be for or against this project, but there is this assumption that B.C. residents are united in their opposition to TMX and that’s not even close to being true. If anything, the majority of people in B.C. seem to be in favour of the project. That doesn’t make the cause of opponents any less valid, but perhaps they should pump the breaks on this particular claim.
The online survey was conducted Aug. 21-26 among a representative randomized sample of 1,534 Canadian adults who are members of Angus Reid Forum. A probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The Angus Reid Institute self-commissioned and paid for the survey.
Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.