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As Trudeau government mulls approval, Canadians divided on political, regional lines over Teck mine

As political and regional lines are drawn in the battle for hearts and minds over the proposed Teck Frontier oil sands mine, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney warned Prime Minister Justin Trudeau this week that rejecting the project may represent “a boiling point’ for western alienation.

Trudeau’s Liberal caucus, meanwhile, has reportedly been pressuring him to do just that, reject the project. As an end of February deadline to decide on the project approaches, a new study from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds Canadians divided over of the whether the project should indeed be approved. Overall, support narrowly outpaces opposition, 49 per cent to 40 per cent.

Many take a firm stance. One-quarter (24%) say they strongly support the construction of the $20 billion mine, primarily comprised of prairie residents and past Conservative voters. Meanwhile, the same number (25%) say they strongly oppose the project, led by left-leaning Quebecers and British Columbians, both groups that the Trudeau Liberals relied on heavily in the last federal election.

Opponents are also unlikely to be swayed by promises made by those in charge of the mining operations. Asked whether Teck’s intention to be carbon-neutral by 2050 would sway their support at all, one-in-five opponents (21%) say they may be a little more likely to consider the project, while 77 per cent say it makes no difference.

More Key Findings:

  • Awareness of the Teck Frontier mine is regionally disparate. In British Columbia and Alberta, news of the project has been followed closely, while fewer have been following elsewhere
  • Few Canadians are confident the project will ultimately be completed due to market conditions. Just 16 per cent say they feel it will ‘absolutely’ be finished if approved.

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