Alberta and B.C. opinions shift as feds reapprove Trans Mountain project

As the Trans Mountain (TMX) pipeline expansion project is reapproved by the federal government, opinions on the project are starting to shift.

Fewer Albertans are in favour of the project compared to British Columbians, who are showing more support than before.

New statistics from Research Co. show that a majority of Albertans still support TMX, however specifically, fewer Calgarians are still giving the project a thumbs up.

While support for TMX remains high in the province, one-in-four Albertans say the project should be stopped.

RELATED STORIES: Survey finds more B.C. residents favour Trans Mountain pipeline expansion

TMX has seen several delays over the years, including in B.C. where Environment and Climate Change Canada ordered a halt to construction through a forest in Burnaby, B.C., in April, 2021.

“That’s the kind of thing that people in Canada are generally getting a bit tired of, a project that’s going to cost way more than we thought, [and] it’s going to take much longer than we thought… and, when you’re having trouble paying your own bills, you’re not as sympathetic when governments can’t pay their bills either,” said Kristen van de Biezenbos, associate professor of law at the University of Calgary

Meanwhile, the pipeline is seeing more support for the project from B.C. than ever before.

Over 51 per cent of those surveyed in the West-coast province say they approve of TMX. Comparing those results to similar polls last year, the project’s approval has gone up by six points.

van de Biezenbos says it’s because the “Alberta vs. B.C.” war over the project has started to die down, and now people aren’t quick to offer support or opposition to it solely based on where they live.

“For a minute there, it was very much about province-versus-province, and I think at the time when polling was done about how people in British Columbia and Alberta felt about the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion, I think that at least some of it was actually a little bit about tribalism,” she said to CityNews.

“Since that’s no longer true, you’re seeing more people in British Columbia saying, ‘well, actually I think I may be in favour of it,’ and then you see the opposite in Alberta where you no longer have to say that you’re in favour of it because that’s Alberta’s position. Now you can say, ‘well, maybe I’m not that crazy about another pipeline.'”

Other statistics shared by Research Co. show three-in-five Albertans disapprove of the federal government’s handling of the project.

People in both provinces believe the project will create hundreds of new jobs and help decrease fuel cost at the pump.

The project is about halfway through construction and is expected to be fully completed by the end of 2023.

-With files from Phil Wood

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