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TransMountain: Economic implications, protesters, and ‘social licence’

Six-in-ten say Kinder Morgan could have done a better job earning the public’s trust on this project

Protests against Kinder Morgan’s TransMountain Pipeline have followed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for months, from Vancouver to Ottawa to London.

Not London, Ontario. London, England.

The protests from the United Kingdom’s branch of Greenpeace during Trudeau’s recent visit for the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting serve as an indication of the scale of interest this pipeline debate has garnered. But, while Canadian protesters may find unity in the demonstration by their international counterparts, the broader Canadian public is less enthusiastic about resistance to this project.

The second report in a two-part Angus Reid Institute study of the TransMountain conflict finds Canadians are three times more likely to say the protesters (the Canadian ones) do not represent the mainstream view of their compatriots.

This opinion may be driven by the perceived benefits of approval or consequent harms of rejection on this project. Six-in-ten Canadians (59%) say the pipeline expansion would help the Canadian economy overall, while one-in-five (17%) say it would have negative consequences.

More Key Findings:

  • Six-in-ten Canadians (60%) say that they view the protests against TransMountain as not representative of the mainstream view, but fewer (46%) say they would like to see B.C. Premier John Horgan should condemn them
  • By a ratio of three-to-one (58% vs 20%) Canadians say Kinder Morgan could have done a better job of earning public support, and brought much of this conflict upon itself. This opinion is held by supporters (56%) and opponents (70%) alike.
  • The debate over the TransMountain project has captured the nation’s attention. More than half of Canadians say they’re paying close attention to this issue – including majorities in every region other than Quebec

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