Terry Fox is the most admired British Columbian



Campbell and Clark tied as worst heads of government since 1986


AS British Columbians get ready to observe BC Day, a new Insights West poll has found that Terry Fox is the most revered figure from the province.

The online survey of a representative provincial sample also shows that most British Columbians feel more affinity towards their urban neighbours in Cascadia than to the residents of Canada’s two largest municipalities.



British Columbians were asked to think of people, living or dead, who are from or are associated with British Columbia, and then select the one person that they admire most.

Athlete and activist Terry Fox received the most mentions (171), followed by environmentalist David Suzuki (52), longest-serving provincial premier W.A.C. Bennett (40), Paralympian and philanthropist Rick Hansen (31) and businessman Jim Pattison (20).



When asked to name the best head of government the province has had since August 1986, two-in-five British Columbians (40%) cannot pick anyone. Only three of the recent premiers are in double-digits: Mike Harcourt (19%), Gordon Campbell (13%) and Bill Vander Zalm (11%).

When asked about the worst premier of the past three decades, Gordon Campbell and Christy Clark are tied for first place (both at 25%), followed by Glen Clark (18%) and Bill Vander Zalm (13%).

“British Columbians have an easier time selecting the recent heads of government they dislike,” says Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs, at Insights West. “The level of undecided respondents on the Best Premier question is 40%, but just 6% on the Worst Premier question.”


The People

In an open-ended question, the words used the most by British Columbians to describe what makes their province unique are beautiful, nature, diverse, scenery and geography.

Two thirds of British Columbians (68%) think they have more in common with the people of Seattle and Portland than with those in Toronto or Montreal, and 70% believe the views of British Columbians are different from the rest of Canada. Still, only 13% consider that British Columbia would be better off as its own country.

Nine-in-ten British Columbians (92%) say they are proud of the province they live in, but only 17% consider themselves “British Columbians first, and Canadians second.” In addition, 84% of residents believe they will stay in British Columbia for the rest of their lives, and 66% think their children will reside in the province.

Finally, when asked to describe neighbouring Alberta in one word, British Columbians relied the most on oil, flat, cold, cowboy and barren.


Results are based on an online study conducted from July 22 to July 25, 2014, among 815 British Columbians aged 18+ who are Your Insights panel members.