A new poll released Dec. 11 indicates opposition to the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway project in the province is quite significant.
The poll, commissioned by the Gitga’at Nation of Hartley Bay and conducted by Forum Research, asked 1,051 British Columbians not only their thoughts on the project but on the impact of advertising campaigns being carried out by the company. The results show that 60 per cent of those polled on Dec. 10 were opposed to the project, 31 per cent were in favour and nine per cent didn’t have an opinion on the subject. That opposition is up eight per cent from a similar poll in April and up 14 per cent from a poll in January.
In terms of advertising being done in support of the twin pipelines to Kitimat, 86 per cent of respondents said they had seen or heard some kind of advertising. But it may not be having the desired effect as 46 per cent said it had no effect on their opinion and 37 per cent said it worsened their opinion and only 14 per cent said it improved their thoughts on the pipeline.
Hartley Bay councillor Cam Hill said this survey was the band’s way of stressing the level of opposition to tankers in their traditional territory.
“We don’t have the resources to fight Enbridge’s multi-million dollar advertising campaigns. 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… Why would we put that at risk? We don’t want dead water,” he said.
Todd Nogier, manager of corporate and western access communications, said the company is currently focussed on the Joint Review Panel process but sees the advertising as money well spent.
“We see tremendous value in speaking directly to British Columbians and providing them with links for more information or to engage us on the project,” he said.
But the survey took an even closer look at the ad that is being criticized for removing islands from the Douglas Channel. 40 per cent of people polled knew of the ad and of those 64 per cent thought it was misleading compared to 25 per cent who thought it wasn’t misleading. 58 per cent of those who knew of the ad said it worsened their opinion compared to nine per cent who said the map improved their opinion and 32 per cent whose opinion wasn’t impacted by the ad.
Nogier said he takes issue with singling out that one visual of the Douglas Channel.
“The reality is that it is not an ad, it is anything but an ad, and I think this is spreading incorrect information and distracting people from getting more information on the project… This is confusing two different things. It is not an ad, it is an animated video showing the pipeline route, not the marine route but the pipeline route,” he said, adding that the company has more detailed marine mapping on its website.
“The campaign against this visual is a campaign of misinformation.”
The survey involved people 18 years of age or older and has a margin of error plus or minus three per cent 19 times out of 20.