November 23, 2016

Oil tanker expansion a ballot-box issue for many 2015 Liberal voters, poll finds


VANCOUVER — A new poll by Insights West shows strong opposition to increased oil tanker traffic on British Columbia’s south coast, especially among voters who supported Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party in the 2015 federal election.

The province-wide online poll of a representative provincial sample, commissioned by Dogwood Initiative, found British Columbians remain opposed to oil tanker expansion by a factor of two to one. 64 per cent of respondents who voted Liberal in 2015 agree, while just 27 per cent support more oil tankers.

“Many British Columbians believe the approval of the Kinder Morgan project would go against the current prime minister’s campaign pledges on climate change and relations with First Nations,” said Mario Canseco, Vice President of Public Affairs at Insights West. “This includes a majority of those who chose to support the Liberal Party in last year’s federal ballot.”

Two-in-five voters in Metro Vancouver, where the majority of Liberal seats in B.C. are located, said they would be less likely to vote Liberal next election if the federal government approves Kinder Morgan’s pipeline and tanker project. Fully 31 per cent of Liberal voters say they would be less likely to support Trudeau’s party if the project goes ahead.

Dogwood campaigner Sophie Harrison says the damage to the Liberal brand in B.C. could last for years. “Justin Trudeau’s government was brought to power by a surge in youth voter turnout and a consolidation of the progressive electorate. If he approves Kinder Morgan’s Texas tanker proposal, a lot of that support is going to collapse.”

Harrison added: “In the coming days, we’ll be looking for more Liberal MPs in B.C. to follow Terry Beech and Ron McKinnon’s lead, speaking out on behalf of constituents who oppose this project.”

Details of the polling results are available here. Other highlights include:

  • 62 per cent of British Columbians polled agree a Kinder Morgan approval would contradict Prime Minister Trudeau’s promises on climate leadership and a “new relationship” with First Nations. Among Liberal voters in B.C., 58 per cent agree with this assessment.
  • 74 per cent of British Columbians and 78 per cent of Liberal voters in B.C. say they are less likely to support oil tanker expansion when considering the impacts on the South Coast’s 80 resident orca whales.
  • Among young voters in B.C. (under 35), opposition to oil tanker expansion overwhelms support four to one.


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.

About Dogwood:

Dogwood Initiative is B.C.’s largest citizen group, with 260,549 contactable supporters in the province. If the federal government approves the Kinder Morgan expansion, Dogwood organizers are committed to launching a province-wide initiative petition to block provincial permits for oil tanker projects.

About this release:

The polling was conducted online from November 17 to November 21, 2016 among 805 adult British Columbians, and has been statistically weighted according to Census figures for B.C. The margin of error is +/-3.5%, 19 times out of 20.

Click here to view the detailed data tabulations and here to view the report.

For further information, please contact:

Mario Canseco
Vice President, Public Affairs, Insights West

Sophie Harrison
Campaign Coordinator, Dogwood Initiative