Canadians split 50/50 over pipeline debate: poll

There's no shortage of opinions on whether the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project should go ahead and the role provincial governments should play. Now there's statistical evidence that proves just how split opinions are.

Angus Reid Institute's opinion poll shows a 50/50 split on whether Canadians agree more with Alberta or B.C.

The pipeyard at the Trans Mountain facility in Kamloops, B.C. Canadians are split 50/50 when it comes to the B.C.-Alberta dispute over the pipeline's expansion. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

There's no shortage of opinions on whether the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project should go ahead and the role provincial governments should play.

Now there's statistical evidence that proves just how split opinions are.

The Angus Reid Institute surveyed Canadians on whether they side with the B.C government or the Alberta government on the pipeline debate. The numbers show each side has 50 per cent support of Canadians.

"This is a deeply divisive issue," said Angus Reid Institute's executive director, Shachi Kurl. "That sounds like a cliche but in this case its actually true, Canadians are evenly divided."

B.C. vs. Alberta

The Kinder Morgan project would nearly triple capacity of the current pipeline system to 890,000 barrels a day.

Earlier in February, the B.C. government said it was considering restricting any increase in diluted bitumen shipments from Alberta until it conducts more spill response studies.

In response, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley announced a ban on the import of B.C. wine to Alberta.

Quebec supports B.C.

The Angus Reid study shows a significant amount of support for the B.C. government comes from Quebec. Sixty-two per cent of people surveyed in Quebec believe provincial governments should have the power to stop pipelines from being built in their jurisdictions. In B.C. 48 per cent believe that, and in Alberta, 20 per cent.

"British Columbians are fairly split on this issue," explained Kurl. "There is a significant segment of British Columbians that is as likely to say they understand the Alberta government's point of view here as they are likely to say their own."

Kurl says the pressure will now be on the federal government to decide how to proceed on a project half the country disagrees with but already has its approval.

The margin of error in the poll is plus/minus 2.5 percentage points 19 times out of 20.

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