Just seven per cent of British Columbians want subsidies to fracking companies to increase

JUST seven per cent of British Columbians support increased taxpayer subsidies for oil and gas companies, according to an Insights West poll conducted for Dogwood released on Tuesday.

The Horgan government has more than doubled financial support for fracking and pipeline construction in B.C. since it came to power, including tax breaks, royalty credits and direct project funding.

Fewer than 1 in 4 British Columbians (18%) are aware of this escalation in subsidies, the poll found. In general, 27 per cent agree B.C. should offer financial support to oil and gas companies, while 58 per cent are opposed. The rest are unsure.

“Given the importance of climate change to British Columbians, it’s not a surprise that the majority of residents are opposed to providing financial support to oil and gas companies here in our province,” says Steve Mossop, President of Insights West. “It’s an issue that relatively few residents are aware of, and most would rather see eliminated once they’ve heard of it.”

In 2020 - 21, the government gave out $1.3 billion in fossil fuel subsidies, and analysis of the provincial budget shows this amount is projected to grow to $1.8 billion by 2023-2024.

Only seven per cent of British Columbians agree that the government should further increase oil and gas subsidies. 62 per cent would like to see subsidies reduced or eliminated altogether, according to the poll.

Dogwood said in a press statement that the Horgan government is expected to launch a review of oil and gas royalties in the coming weeks. As MLAs returned for the fall session of the Legislature beginning in Victoria on Tuesday, they were greeted by a “Stop Funding Fracking” banner hanging between two mock gas rigs on the lawn of the Legislature.

The rally brought together experts and advocates from across the province to outline the impacts of the fracking and LNG industry on human health, Indigenous communities, climate change and the B.C. economy.

“B.C.’s taxpayer-funded fracked gas industry is a ticking carbon bomb,” said Alexandra Woodsworth, campaigns manager at Dogwood. “The vast majority of British Columbians are not on board with the government’s plan to pump more and more public money into the industry fuelling the climate crisis, and would rather see their tax dollars spent on priorities like affordable housing and clean energy instead. John Horgan needs to scrap handouts to oil and gas companies as a basic first step towards taking the climate emergency seriously.”

Poll results are based on an online study conducted by Insights West for Dogwood from September 22 to 26 among a sample of 826 residents across B.C. The margin of error with the total sample is +/- 3.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.