The online survey of a representative provincial sample asked residents to rate the five most important stories of 2014 out of a list of 15. The education dispute garnered the largest proportion of mentions in the top five (with an overall score of 382 points).
The ongoing public debates about the Northern Gateway and Kinder Morgan pipelines are ranked #2 and #3 by British Columbians (with 316 and 311 points respectively), followed by crime in Surrey (303 points), and the tailings pond breach at Mount Polley (300 points).
The other stories that made the Top Ten are the conclusion of the “Surrey Six” murder trial and the Translink / SkyTrain shutdown (each with 283 points), the apology to the Chinese community in British Columbia for “historical wrongs” (279 points), Trevor Linden joining the front office of the Vancouver Canucks (266 points) and discussions related to liquefied natural gas (LNG), including the tax regime (also 266 points).
“While most residents consider the education dispute as the top story of 2014, the amount of interest in pipeline discussions has not waned across the province,” says Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs, at Insights West. “In Metro Vancouver, residents were also gripped by crime in Surrey and the SkyTrain shutdown.”
When asked to select a “Newsmaker of 2014”, 42% of residents gave one of their three votes to Premier Christy Clark. Labour negotiator Vince Ready is second (26%), followed by Trevor Linden, who took over as President of Hockey Operations for the Vancouver Canucks (25%), BCTF President Jim Iker (22%), Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson (20%) and former Canucks head coach Pat Quinn (20%).