VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA — (Marketwire) — 12/11/12 — A new Forum Research poll shows a decisive and growing majority of British Columbians oppose the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline project. 60% opposed, 31% in favour, 9% don’t know.
Conducted Dec. 10, 2012, the poll shows that opposition is up 8% since April and 14% since January when the last two Forum Research polls were conducted in the province.
Public opposition to the project appears to have grown, despite a multi-million dollar ad campaign by Enbridge. The poll, commissioned by the Gitga’at First Nation, shows that 83% of respondents who had seen advertising said it had no effect (46%), or had actually worsened their opinion of the project (37%).
“We did this poll because we find the Enbridge ads misleading,” said Arnold Clifton, Chief Councillor of the Gitga’at First Nation. “The proposed tanker route is in our territorial waters, so we know how treacherous they can be, and how risky this project is. We wanted to see if British Columbians felt the same way.”
86% of British Columbians said they had seen some kind of advertising for Enbridge in the past six months (both positive and negative). Of these respondents, 46% said the advertising had no effect on their opinion of the project, 37% said it had worsened their opinion and 14% said it had improved their opinion.
“Disappearing Islands” Story
40% of British Columbians were aware that Enbridge has displayed a map of Douglas Channel, the oil tanker route, which removes many islands which critics say makes the channel appear safer to navigate than it is.
Of these respondents, 64% thought the map was misleading, 25% thought it wasn’t misleading and 11% don’t know.
58% said the map has made their opinion of the project worse, 9% said the map improved their opinion, and 32% said the map had no effect on their opinion.
“We don’t have the resources to fight Enbridge’s multi-million dollar advertising campaigns,” said Cam Hill, Gitga’at Councillor. “What we do have is the truth, and the truth is that a single oil spill in BC’s coastal waters could wipeout the traditional foods that feed our people. We live in one of the most beautiful and pristine places on earth, sharing our home with Spirit Bears, humpback whales and wild salmon. Why would we put that at risk? We don’t want dead water.”
To counteract Enbridge’s ad campaign, the Gitga’at are releasing video footage and photos from their traditional territory in the Great Bear Rainforest.
The Gitga’at, who are best known for rescuing passengers from the BC Queen of the North ferry after it ran aground six years ago, rely on the ocean for more than 40% of their traditional diet, including halibut, crab, salmon, prawns, mussels, clams, seaweed, oysters and herring.
The nation is also developing an eco-tourism industry based on the health and diversity of local wildlife including the famous Spirit Bear.
This poll was conducted December 10 among a randomly selected sample of 1051 British Columbians 18 years of age and older. The poll was conducted by Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and has a margin of error of about plus or minus 3%, 19 times out of 20.
Download Poll Results: