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As Supreme Court ruling removes another hurdle for TMX pipeline, opposition against it increases

In the wake of a Supreme Court of Canada ruling regarding the TransMountain pipeline expansion (TMX), it would appear that another legal challenge against the project has come to an end. But in the court of public opinion, opposition to the twinning of the pipeline is heating up again.
The latest public opinion survey from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds opposition to the project has increased since June of last year.
Indeed, over the past three periods of data collection since June 2018, shortly after the Liberal government purchased the TMX from Kinder Morgan, opposition has risen 11 percentage points while support has dropped.
That said, a slight majority overall continue to support the project (55%). Still, it is not enough for the Trudeau government to overcome its ongoing political challenge on this file.

While Canadians agree by a two-to-one ratio (53% to 27%) that the SCOC made the right decision in dismissing an appeal from the British Columbia government challenging federal jurisdiction of cross-border pipeline contents (in this case, heavy oil and bitumen), opposition to the project has spiked in Quebec (+18), Ontario (+13) and B.C. (+13) over the last 18 months. Notably, this hardening of opposition has occurred in regions where the minority Liberal government must lean hardest for support.
More Key Findings:


  • While Albertans are near-unanimously in support of the expansion, they are joined increasingly by their fellow Prairie residents. Support is up 17 points in Saskatchewan and 22 points in Manitoba over the past 18 months.
  • Canadians are now close to equally divided about how the Liberal government has handled the pipeline file. 38 per cent say that the government has not done enough to increase pipeline capacity while 35 per cent disagree, and say it has been pushing too hard on this file
  • Asked to choose between priorities, 58 per cent of Canadians say protecting the environment should be paramount while 42 per cent say promoting economic growth comes first.  

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