British Columbians call on new provincial government to deliver electoral reform, energy projects

John Horgan

BRITISH Columbia’s first New Democratic Party government in 16 years debuted in the legislature this month with a bill that promised to make good on a commitment to ban corporate and union donations to political parties, but also drew howls of criticism for either not going far enough, or going too far, notes the Angus Reid Institute.

Now, a new analysis of quarterly polling data from the Institute suggests that the road for the new government only gets rockier from here.

Nearly half (48%) of British Columbians approve of Premier John Horgan’s job performance as leader so far – making him the second-most-approved-of provincial leader in Canada.

But against this backdrop, British Columbians are more likely to support than oppose two major energy projects the NDP and Greens have promised to fight against: Kinder Morgan’s TransMountain pipeline expansion, and the Site C hydroelectric dam. If the government manages to cancel either one, the decision seems likely to anger more B.C. residents than it pleases.

More support is found for the government’s pledge to reform the electoral system, with British Columbians favouring a move to proportional representation by almost a two-to-one margin over the current first-past-the-post system. That said, past Angus Reid Institute polling suggests that this degree of consensus may not hold once a specific alternative voting system is on the table.


More key findings:


* Some two-in-three British Columbians (65%) say they would prefer a provincial electoral system that assigns seats proportionally, rather than the current first-past-the-post system (35%)
* Nearly half of respondents say TransMountain (47%) and Site C (45%) “should go ahead as planned,” while approximately three-in-ten say each one “should be canceled” (33% and 27%, respectively). The rest are unsure.
* Significant differences emerge along age, gender, and income lines on the two resource projects. Women, younger respondents, and those with lower household incomes are more likely to say each one should be canceled.


  1. Now that we have competent leadership providing the info surrounding any advancement in electoral reform, I expect support for PR won’t drop as much as Angus Reid suggests once there is a specific alternative on the table. Education for the issues is the key to winning this huge improvement in our democracy.

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