A new poll suggests most B.C. residents are in favour of continuing construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline.
According to an online survey of 800 adults in B.C., conducted between March 4 and March 7 by Research Co., 61 per cent of respondents agreed with building the 670-kilometre natural gas pipeline in northern B.C.
Support for the contentious pipeline was highest among men (68 per cent), people aged 55 and over (69 per cent) and residents of Vancouver Island (67 per cent).
“More than half of British Columbians who voted for the BC New Democratic Party in the last provincial election (56 per cent) want to build the Coastal GasLink pipeline,” Research Co. President Mario Canseco said in a release. “A similar proportion of BC Green Party voters agree (53 per cent), but support is highest among those who cast ballots for the BC Liberals in 2017 (75 per cent).”
The poll also found almost half of respondents (48 per cent) agreed with the actions taken by Wet’suwet’en elected band councils in connection with the Coastal GasLink pipeline.
Twenty elected band councils whose jurisdiction is limited to reserve lands along the route have signed deals and reached benefit agreements with the project. However, the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs oppose the pipeline crossing their traditional territory and argue the elected band councils, established under the Indian Act, do not have authority under traditional law to make decisions on the Nation’s or the land’s behalf.
Protests have been ongoing nationwide since early February, including weeks of rail blockades across Canada.
Fewer than two-in-five respondents to the survey agreed with the actions of people who have participated in protests (38 per cent), the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs (37 per cent) and the people who have participated in road blockades (33 per cent).
Half of respondents (50 per cent) disagreed with the notion of the Coastal GasLink pipeline threatening the health and safety of residents, and 70 per cent believed the project will create hundreds of jobs.
Correction: This story has been updated. The jurisdiction of the 20 elected band councils, not the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, is limited to reserve lands.
— With files from Katya Slepian