Only two-in-five support protesters in natural gas project dispute

Split support on pipeline

A new study from Vancouver based Angus Reid shows a divided Canada when it comes to pipeline protests, specifically the $6.6 billion natural gas Coastal Gaslink pipeline.

The study points to disruptions, blockades and protests in cities across the country which may have amplified the message of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs opposed to the pipeline. Across Canada, railway access has been blocked and streets shut down affecting thousands of travellers and threatening to stop shipments of goods. 

More protests are anticipated Thursday and Friday in Vancouver as commuters are bracing for more disruptions as protesters supporting Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs promise further actions.

Two-in-five Canadians, 39 per cent say they support the Wet’suwet’en solidarity protesters. The study indicates these tend to be younger women, as well as those on the lower side of the income scale and those on the left of the political spectrum. Supporters of the protesters are also most likely to come from British Columbia and Quebec.

The study also indicates a slight majority, 51 per cent, say that they support the Coastal Gaslink project itself, which includes majority support in every region of the country outside of Quebec. In each case, whether it’s the protesters or the pipeline, Canadians are divided into two sizeable groups on each side of the issue.

Here in the Okanagan, those numbers are even higher. Castanet's unofficial poll shows more than 84 per cent are opposed to the current blockades while just over 11 per cent are in favour as of Thursday afternoon.

LNG Canada, the company that owns the pipeline, has agreements in place with all of the elected First Nation band councils, including Wet’suwet’en councils, along the pipeline route. Eight Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, however, have not consented to the use of their territory. 

The study concludes by indicating Canadians are largely supportive of more discussions between the company and the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs.

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