Opinions are split nearly right down the middle when it comes to the federally-approved Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
According to an Angus Reid poll released Thursday, Canadians overall are split 50/50 on the issue.
But while Albertans themselves are near unanimous in their backing of the project, British Columbians are split with 58 per cent supporting the B.C. NDP’s anti-pipeline stance and 42 per cent agreeing with Alberta’s Premier Rachel Notley’s support for the expansion.
Meanwhile, the strongest opposition to the pipeline’s expansion is found not in B.C., but Quebec.
Despite the federal government’s multiple approvals of the expansion – once in 2017, and again in February under the new approval process, debate has taken a tense turn in the political arena in recent weeks, pitting the once cordial neighbouring provinces against each other.
The poll also points to the looming question for many: what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the federal government plan to do amid the pipeline feud that’s led to trade disputes and Notley’s nixing of imports of B.C. wines into Alberta.
The division among Trudeau’s own voters suggests that the prime minister’s backing of the pipeline might have a political cost.
The Liberals claimed 17 B.C. seats in 2015 – nearly all of them in the Metro Vancouver region, which has been the seat of some of the most vociferous opposition to the Trans Mountain project.
Trudeau’s position on this issue puts him in conflict with the nearly two-thirds of Metro Vancouver residents who find their provincial government’s argument more persuasive than the 42 per cent who oppose the pipeline.