A majority of British Columbians are opposed the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline, according to a new poll released Friday.
Abacus Data found that 56 per cent of respondents from B.C. either somewhat or strongly oppose the pipeline, which aims to connect Alberta's oilsands with Kitimat. The poll was commissioned by Sun News Network.
Only seven per cent of B.C. respondents came out strongly in favour of the plan, while another 17 per cent said they somewhat supported the pipeline. Meanwhile, 16 per cent said they were somewhat opposed and a whopping 40 per cent claimed to be strongly opposed.
The pipeline has become a divisive political issue between B.C. and Alberta.
B.C. Premier Christy Clark reiterated her government's position Friday in a video posted on the government's website. In it she said B.C. must get its fair share of the pipeline's benefits before she'd consider supporting it.
"I understand this is a big opportunity economically for Canada, but this heavy oil pipeline also represents a big risk for B.C.'s environment and it doesn't offer us the significant economic benefits or jobs that British Columbians expect," she said in her quarterly report.
The poll found 85 per cent of respondents in B.C. shared Clark's view that if the province assumed more of the risk of a possible leak or spill, it should also get more of the financial benefit. Only 34 per cent of those surveyed in Alberta agreed with the statement.
"We are a fair and reasonable province and we want to see our neighbours and our country thrive, but first and foremost it's my job to look out for B.C.'s interests," Clark said.
B.C. residents appear to be keeping a close eye on the story, with 25 per cent of respondents saying they're following the pipeline developments very closely and another 47 per cent somewhat closely.
Demographically in B.C., support for the pipeline in the province is stronger among men (31 per cent) than women (19 per cent) and among older residents -- it has the support of 35 per cent of those over 60, but only eight per cent of those aged 18-29.
In Alberta support for the pipeline is overwhelming, with 30 per cent strongly supporting the project and another 33 per cent somewhat supporting it.
Nationally, the country is split with 32 per cent of respondents opposing the pipeline and 31 per cent in support of it. Another 38 per cent either weren't sure or said they neither supported, nor opposed it.
The survey was conducted online between Aug. 10-12 and is considered accurate within 2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.