Wet’suwet’en supporter Leah Melville chants with protesters on the steps of legislature before the throne speech in Victoria, B.C., on Tuesday, February 11, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Wet’suwet’en supporter Leah Melville chants with protesters on the steps of legislature before the throne speech in Victoria, B.C., on Tuesday, February 11, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Canadians split over support of northern B.C. pipeline, Wet’suwet’en protesters

51 per cent of Canadians support the 670-kilometre natural gas pipeline

Canadians are undecided about whether they should support the Coastal GasLink pipeline in northern B.C. or the Indigenous protesters and their allies, a poll from the Angus Reid Institute suggests.

The poll, released Thursday, found that 51 per cent of Canadians support the 670-kilometre natural gas pipeline being built, while 39 per cent support the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and 63 per cent believe there needs to be more consultation. The hereditary chiefs have said Coastal GasLink does not have their permission to build the pipeline, which crosses through their traditional territories. The builders of the pipeline have signed benefit agreements with the 20 elected band council along the route.

The poll found 36 per cent of Canadians oppose the pipeline being built, while 48 per cent are against the Wet’suwet’en solidarity protesters. The Wet’suwet’en have held protests in northern B.C., but large swathes of supporters, both Indigenous and not, have joined in all across Canada.

On Wednesday, a protest at the B.C. Legislature delayed the Throne Speech, while blockades all around the country have stopped both freight and passenger rail travel. Protests have gone on all week on the streets of downtown Vancouver and across many cities in Canada.

VIDEO: John Horgan denounces B.C. legislature anti-pipeline siege

The poll found the strongest opposition to the pipeline in B.C. and Quebec, with 26 per cent and 30 per cent, respectively, against the $6.6-billion project. By far the strongest support of Coastal GasLink was found in Alberta at 51 per cent, with Saskatchewan coming in at 36 per cent and B.C. at 31 per cent.

The strongest backing of the Wet’suwet’en and their supporters was found in B.C. and Quebec at 24 per cent each, while the strongest opposition was found in Alberta at 59 per cent.

The poll also found that women of all ages and lower-income Canadians were more likely to be supporters of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs’ stance.

The Angus Reid Institute polled 1,508 Canadians from Feb. 10-12, 2020.

READ MORE: AFN, Opposition demand Trudeau Liberals act on B.C. pipeline dispute

READ MORE: Rail services continue to feel brunt of anti-pipeline protests across Canada

READ MORE: Two Wet’suwet’en houses head to court to challenge Canada’s environmental assessment system


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katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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