Poll puzzle

Northern Gateway pipeline future may need to be decided by referendum

IF OPINION polls were the only tool used to make decisions, the Vancouver Canucks (at least in B.C.) would have won the Stanley Cup last year and the HST would have been just a glimmer in the eye of former Premier Gordon Campbell.

But the Canucks lost on the ice and it took a mail-in referendum to decide if the HST should survive or not.

A referendum may be the tool needed concerning the future of Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline given the results of an opinion poll commissioned by Skeena – Bulkley Valley NDP MP Nathan Cullen.

In broad terms, it shows support for the pipeline project slipping compared to the results of an Enbridge-commissioned poll in late 2011.

The Enbridge poll listed 48 per cent support and 31 opposing while the Cullen poll has 46 per cent opposed and 36 supporting.

For the anti-pipeline crowd, that’s good news and a clear reflection of the unrelenting and efficiently coordinated campaign conducted against the oil export project.

(Curiously, Cullen’s followup questions were framed around the economic value of the project as opposed to environmental considerations.)

But it would be wrong to consider any opinion poll as the last word, particularly with a project such as Northern Gateway, which has a long way to go before any scientific or technical evaluation is complete.