The ever controversial Trans-Mountain Pipeline project passed another legal hurdle at the Supreme Court of Canada, but faces another in the seemingly growing opposition in the court of public opinion according the latest public opinion survey.
When stiff public opposition caused the original company, Kinder-Morgan to abandon the idea of twinning their current pipeline to increase capacity, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spent billions of dollars of public money to buy the Canadian pipeline, and the half built twinning project. Trudeau said shipping Canadian oil to Asian markets was in the national interest and has been pushing the project.
Since then the already years-long controversy and opposition continues.
Legal hurdle overcome
The additional pipeline would cross British Columbia, where public opposition and the provincial government has opposed it due to environmental concerns.
Earlier this month the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed an appeal against the project from the provincial government of British Columbia.
The SCC judges ruled B.C. proposed legislation putting restrictions on pipeline transport of bitumen crossed into federal jurisdiction and was not valid.
There is however still another court challenge to come in the Federal Court of Appeals on indigenous concerns.
Even as legal cases drag on, a new survey shows public opposition growing. The non-profit polling firm Angus Reid Institute for three year has asked Canadians for their opinion on the pipeline project
The latest survey shows over that time opposition has increased by 11 per cent and support has dropped.
While roughly two to one support the Supreme Court ruling, now only a slight majority actually supports the pipeline project (55%) overall with opposition greatly increased in Quebec (+18%), Ontario (+13%) and B.C. (+13%)
Support remains extremely high in Alberta, with support increasing in neighbouring Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
As to how well the Trudeau government has been handling the issue, those who say the government hasn’t been doing enough to build pipeline, and those saying he’s pushing too hard are about equal (38%- 35% respectively)
The concern over the environment is also increasing. When asked about priorities, the environment trumps promoting economic growth (58% vs 42%)
With relatively slim national support, and an ongoing divide in the country, Prime Minister Trudeau will have a difficult time overcoming the ongoing challenge to the project.